How Do You Spell “Embarrassing”?

Who can blame poor Sara Beckman and her parents of Washoe County, Nevada for being f-u-r-i-o-u-s? From the Reno Gazette-Journal:

Parents of an O’Brien Middle School eighth-grader are demanding an instant replay of the Washoe County Spelling Bee after their daughter was eliminated despite spelling a word correctly.

“I’m a momma bear with her bear claws out,” Cindy Beckman said. “Spellers and academic children don’t get all the accolades that the sports kids do. This is one of their few chances to shine, to get attention and look what happens.”

It now appears that, under threat of a lawsuit, the parties have reached a compromise. The larger question, though, is this: What good are spelling bees, anyway? If kids are going to put all that energy and effort into rote memorization, why not have them memorize something truly useful–like Latin words? (Just imagine how much better those kids would do on their SATs!)

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