Karyn Joyner: Shut-eyed teachers

January 25, 2014 

In the mess involving UNC athletes’ reading ability, what part does the admissions office play?

How are nonreaders accepted into the university in the first place? Does the fault lie partly with teachers and administrators in elementary and secondary schools who pass these athletes on from grade to grade, whether they can do the work or not? And how do they get high enough scores on the tests they have to take to gain entrance to a university? Does everyone involved just close their eyes and allow these poor guys to go in way over their heads and play instead of learn?

I taught high school seniors in college prep classes and was once forced to refuse a boy entrance to my class when he was placed there by the athletic department and couldn’t read. I wondered how he had gotten to be a senior. It had to be with the compliance of a lot of teachers.

There has to be help for these athletes from the beginning of their schooling, but teachers of senior English classes and college professors can’t give them what they need. And it is a shame to muddy the reputation of a great university when eyes are shut to the truth.

Karyn Joyner


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