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HIGH LIFE : Americans Can't Go to the Head of the Class in Spelling

September 22, 1989|ANN CONNORS | Los Angeles Times

Americans, whose science skills are reportedly dismal and who have failed miserably in recent geography surveys, are proving deficient in yet one more area--spelling. In a spelling survey conducted by Gallup International and involving contestants from the United States, Great Britain, Canada and Australia, Americans came in fourth.

The survey was mastered handily by the Australians, who spelled seven of 10 words correctly, followed by the Canadians with six and the British with five. The Americans were able to spell four words correctly.

The best American spellers tended to be those between the ages of 34 and 44; the worst were 18 to 24. The results "confirm the existence of the education deficit, perhaps the United States' most destructive deficit," said Education Secretary Lauro F. Cavazos.

The words used were: magazine, sandwich, deceive, kerosene, calamity, accelerator, cauliflower, penitentiary, picnicking and parallel.

"When in doubt, duck."

--Malcolm Forbes

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