CS Lewis (Was: Favourite books)

Margaret Ball margaret at onr.com
Tue Dec 14 20:32:06 EST 2004

Melissa wrote

>The gist of it was that there had been some planning at the state or
>district level before school began, and when the reality failed to match the
>plan, they changed reality.
Now *there* is a dwj plot in the making!

>I think the *idea* of tracking--meaning educating kids at the level they're
>capable of--is a good one, but it never seems to work out. 

What really worries me is the kind of sneaky, 
we-don't-admit-we're-doing-it tracking that is happening in the public 
schools around here. There's a lot of blather about how the ONLY thing 
that really MATTERS in education is the parents' involvement, and maybe 
this sounds pretty good until you get a child in the school system and 
find out the translation.

The translation is: "We're not even going to try to teach anything. 
We're just going to hand out assignments that the kid can't possibly do 
without a parent guiding them every step of the way. Those kids who are 
unlucky enough not to have a full-time dedicated parent/tutor/chauffeur 
behind them will know they are failures by the end of second grade, and 
they'll believe it's all their fault and that they deserve to have 
shitty lives and shitty jobs."

And this system works to the satisfaction of a great many people. The 
teachers, unless they happen to have a quixotic inclination to do the 
job they were hired for (I've met some like that, but they get driven 
out quickly), don't have to teach anything. The well-off families with 
mommy-chauffeurs see their kids advancing neatly up the track in a 
pretty school that gets all kinds of awards for being High Achieving. 
And the poor stay in their place.

It's not about ability, it's about class. Which, of course, is another 
thing we pretend not to have in America.

Ok, ok, I'll stop ranting now.

Margaret Ball

Mathematicians are like Frenchmen; whatever you say to them they translate into their own language and forthwith it is something entirely different.


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