An upcoming change in the Riverside-Brookfield High School English curriculum for seniors approved by the board last month could not be more welcome — if not necessarily by the students themselves.

In 2014-15, the school is set to clear the decks of semester-long electives and replace them with year-long courses that emphasize reading and, just as crucial, writing.

While schools generally like to emphasize math and sciences, for whatever reason, reading and writing get shorter shrift, so to speak. The result is a dearth of people who know how to write clearly and concisely, present arguments and defend them and do research.

These are critical skills, not just for writers, but for citizens of a free society. The importance of those skills can’t be overstressed, and a lack of focus on those areas is detrimental.

The change is the result, in part, of the coming Common Core standards, which will increase the rigor of school curriculum across the board. But whatever the reason, this is a clear move in the right direction.

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