Education: Trouble with Trouble

Trend spotters have long been convinced that U.S. spelling is going to the dogs. Last week a professor proved it, with figures.

Fred Ayer of the University of Texas tested high-school students in 82 cities, then reached back to 1915 for comparison. Sample findings: in 1915, high-school students had no trouble with trouble, but nowadays, 9% manage to spell it wrong; almost everybody used to get loose right, but 23% muff it now. Misspellers of business have jumped from 6% in 1915 to 24% today; of independent from 12% to 25%; of stomach, from 6% to 22%.

Why? Partly, says Ayer, because high...

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