Thursday, September 28, 2006

Quip Pro Quo: A Fast Retort

I firmly believe that any memo, letter, or piece of written information that is sent by an administrator, should contain no idiocy or errors.

I also believe that any memo, letter, or piece of written information that is sent by an administrator that DOES contain idiocy or errors should be posted publicly and that the general public should be allowed to mock it.

I suppose that my belief that administrators should be required to be intelligent and able to proofread would be thrown out by the PC police.

This is the letter a principal gave me several years ago, demanding requesting that I take down my bulletin board about Banned Books Week. I had used that same bulletin board for over ten years, and in those earlier years, he had actually praised it for being timely and creative. That was, of course, before he saw Waldo on there.

This is, of course, the same school system that didn't want me to bring in speakers from the outside to talk about careers because it might give the students 'ideas.' These people would have volunteered their time, and it would have been of enormous benefit to the students, but no. Ideas are scary.

A few years later, the same man who denied permission for me to bring in speakers for free, spent nearly a million dollars of taxpayer money to take all the middle school students to town and have paid speakers talk to them about the same thing I could have done for free. By this time, you see, the Trend Wheel had spun back around, and it was now permissable to give the students 'ideas.'

One of those speakers represented General Motors, and her speech was excellent, although it didn't sit well with administration. She spoke about high school 'graduates' for whom a diploma was nothing but a piece of paper that connoted untruths. She spoke about how an employer should have the right to assume that a diploma pretty much guaranteed literacy and general competence. She spoke about all the money big corporations were having to shell into remedial programs for employees who had diplomas, pieces of paper that represented four years of showing up and not much else. She spoke about how businesses would really appreciate a diploma that told the truth: that if a student had been graduated out of respect for really trying, the diploma should say so, discretely of course, but in terms that the business world would be able to interpret. If the student was just going through the motions of graduation for self-esteem's sake, the diploma should say so. And if the diploma was rightfully earned because the student had become fully literate and generally competent and had genuinely and individually and truthfully learned how to care for himself/herself in the world in general, the business world should be able to see that kind of diploma and interpret it for what it was: a real diploma.

Oohh, the remarks that were scattered throughout the auditorium. And when we returned to the individual buildings, there was much talk of blueberries and self-esteem.

My friends are mostly lawyers and businesspeople and other educators. Before the edict went out, I often had one of them come to my classroom and talk about what they did all day, and then the students would ask questions. Silly me, I really thought it was helplful.

Sure, they asked my lawyer friends about their individual rights and stuff, but. . . . .

Oh. I get it.

We certainly can't have our students understanding their basic civil rights and those of their fellow citizens of any age, now can we.

What a narrow escape.

Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 3:19 PM | |


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