In the olden days people used to write letters to each other all the time, so spelling was important and people made sure they got it right. But then entire generations started doing nearly all of their communicating verbally thanks to the phone, and so spelling stopped being a life skill. Except for those who had to write reports for their profession, no one had to know how to spell anymore, and any spelling they learned in school faded away just as surely as calculus.
Now we’re transitioning back to written forms of communication like email and facebook and texting, and we suddenly realize that it’s been generations since most people knew how to spell. So we see these horrific phonetic misspellings of words that people have long used but never known how to spell. So our generation is lost in that regard.
I suspect that the next generation will know how to spell, because the correct spellings they learn in school will stay with them as they transition into an adult life where they’re typing these words all the time. But because spelling isn’t a part of the standardized testing schemes, the next generation may never be taught how to spell in the first place. We’ll see.