Friday, January 05, 2007

A Litany of Whines

I was once the most ardent defender of our public school that you could find. I still think that if we removed most of the administrators, and hired people who know how to do the job properly, and insist on doing the job properly even in the face of people who expect exceptions to everything, the public schools would be the saving of us all. As things stand, we are giving diplomas to the illiterate, and they are laughing up their sleeves at us. Is anybody being fooled? Just administrators, and people who keep guv'ment statistics. Oh, and the absolute morons who make up the ISTEP. And some of the parents of the illiterates.

Seriously, how could anybody flunk that test? It's NOT HARD.

Test anxiety? Try a little harder. If nobody enables your distress, maybe you'll buck up and do your job, which, as a student, is to take tests and prove you know something. No proof, no A. In a dream world, huh.

Our schools are full of inconsistencies. This is news to nobody, but although some of those inconsistencies are funny/stupid/moronic/laughable, others are inexcusable.

I read somewhere that the Bible is harder on fools and idiots than on deliberate evil-doers. I totally agree. Isn't that as it should be? The world is far too full of people who are only able to 'wise up' the hard way. (That would be most of us in many areas of life, but most of us do finally wise up.) (At least, we try not to make the same mistakes twice.) Deliberate evil-doers are often redeemable. Real fools? Not so much.

Students who bring cornstarch in a baggie, to use in a science project, are expelled for drug violation, via Zero Tolerance. "The appearance of evil" thing.

Students who wear bullet belts containing a dozen or more 22 bullets? "That's just how we do around these parts."

Student offers Swiss Army knife screwdriver to teacher who is trying to tighten a wall-mounted pencil sharpener: expelled for bringing dangerous weapon to school. Zero Tolerance again.

Student comes to school with six-inch knife in a leg sheath, concealed under jeans but clearly outlined: "That's just how we do around these parts."

Chapstick? Drug. Midol? Drug. Cough drops? Drug. Orthodontic wax? Drug. Penalty? Two weeks suspension, and if it ever happens again, expulsion. Just to see them; the student didn't even have to be seen USING them.

Red Man? "That's just how we do around here." We were told, one year, to "let the boys go spit when they need to, so they don't spot the rug." Classy, huh.

Chewing gum? Suspended.

Skateboard in a locker for after school? Confiscated.

Crossbow in a locker for after school? "That's just how we do around here."
I once took a butterfly knife away from a student in class. They gave it back to him after school.

Cell phone? "Your parent will have to call for it in person."

Varsity athletes burn down grandstand for a lark. Two days out, daddies paid for a new one, all is forgiven, offense erased.

School janitor sees empty beer can on rear floor of student's car, parked in student parking lot. Student expelled. Zero tolerance.

Male teacher asks new teacher how things were going. Harrassment.

Married female teacher seduces and becomes pregnant by male teacher: Tells husband the child is his. Five years later, gets angry and tells husband the truth. He divorces her, and she feels entitled to sympathy, and gets it. She's still teaching there. Nice role model.

Our janitor "didn't do vomit." Our counselor "wouldn't listen to anything to do with sex." In middle school. Our buses unloaded in the handicapped parking slot, and if somebody was parked there, they were asked to move.

Narcoleptic teacher sleeps day away.

Students were put in detention for bringing their portable cd players on the bus for field trips, but athletes were encouraged to bring theirs "so they wouldn't get bored on the bus ride." Superintendent saw no irony in this. Superintendent couldn't spell 'irony' on the best day of his life.

Winning coach fired so big-name coach could be hired.

Note found in hall, mentioning hidden bomb in school. Turned in to office. Teachers all told not to talk about it. Nothing was done. Principal: I didn't think it was anything anyway.

Principal takes two-hour nap every afternoon in boiler room.

Principal cruises Ebay all day, and doesn't show up for duties.

School puts all computers 'on hold' for years, because older secretary refuses to touch one.

I could go on and on but if I don't stop now, I'll have an aneurism, just sitting here remembering.
Just in time, I remember that I don't have to worry about these particular fools any more. I sigh with relief, and I smile.

Americans are smart people. Why have we let our schools deteriorate like this? So a few varsity athletes don't graduate; isn't that their own fault? When someone doesn't graduate, who else's fault is it? We are all in charge of our own destiny.

People who just plain don't have the ability to meet graduation requirements? They should not 'graduate.' Let them have a certificate of completion, or a 'way to show up' paper, but DO NOT GIVE THEM A DIPLOMA. Trying is important, and good, but trying alone does not merit a diploma.

Diplomas should represent honor, and completed work, and demonstrations and proof of knowledge. A prospective employer should be able to see a diploma and assume that the applicant is literate and knowledgeable.

Anything else is dishonest, and a big joke. Not the funny kind, either.

On a side note: I really believe that more teens would do better in school if it started later in the day. Most teens need more sleep than toddlers do. Many of my college students have confessed that they probably would have done better in high school if they'd been able to go in the afternoon or evening, instead of the crack of dawn.

As to that, I totally agree. Sunrises are beautiful, and more so if you can go to bed immediately after watching one.
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Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 6:25 PM | |


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