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"What's The Deal With Education?"

Here in Florida they think over 18 students in a class 
is unacceptable crowding. 
At PS 64 in Buffalo we always had well over 30 in a class, 
and we got the equivalent of some of today's college education. 

We either wanted to learn 
or we thought we'd better to avoid getting into trouble. 
We cared, even worried, 
about what our parents and teachers thought of us. 
The world was different. 

As long as it's not cool to be a good student 
kids won't want to look nerdy to their peers. 
The baggy, low slung pants, tattoos, etc. 
are styles taken from prison inmates and gangsters. 
(Convicts aren't allowed belts.) 
Nice role models. 

I've seen a few teachers 
and even TV news readers 
who mutilate the English language, 
our main means of communicating with each other. 
Limited vocabulary limits thought. 
Many teens intentionally avoid anything that sounds correct, 
and emulate gangster lingo to be hip. 

I think one of the main problems 
is the change our society has undergone. 
Students have a different attitude about school and teachers. 
It's the old "rebel" syndrome in a new form. 
It's hard to understand 
for those of us who were raised with a stronger learning ethic. 

Many young people speak terrible English on purpose, 
because it gives them group identity, 
and it annoys their elders. 
I think they are amused at the geezers who are trying to help. 

We can't actually blame the teachers. 
You can't teach anything to a fence post. 
I am personally acquainted with young people 
who are glaring exceptions to everything I've said here. 

Maybe if we could make being smart cool again 
it would start a trend. 
This might begin with advertisers, 
who direct their output to the lowest common denominator, 
and design it to teach the audience to act in certain ways. 

It may be primarily an American problem. 
I'm not sure throwing money at schools will fix this. 

These are just generalities and personal observations. 
I hope I haven't spoiled your day. 

Anyway, 
my opinions are always subject to change without notice. 

 October 22, 2003 Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. 

 

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