Editor’s Scratchpad

Monday, August 20, 2001

‘Edspeak’ impedes

Blessings on the Los Angeles Times for running an article on "edspeak," which is the jargon used by academics to block communication with parents and everyone else outside the school building. Some call it turf language, a code only for the initiated.

Take, for instance, turgid expressions such as "comprehensive school reform demonstration" or the "immediate intervention underperforming schools program." Then there's "normal curve equivalent" and "normed modality processing." Acronyms, which may do more to complicate communication than any other element in the language, include FAPE, SLAPAT and FEP, which means, of all things, "fluent English proficient."

Of course we in the newspaper game never resort to jargon. The hed on the cover was not so brite as the lede but the yarn slugged BANANAS got the dingbats in before the jump while the inside art was too much for a piece only six bits long.

Bret Harte wrote about a hundred years ago: "Wait for the day that maketh all things clear." Evidently, we are still waiting.

--Richard Halloran

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