June 11th, 2004

little review

Poem for Friday

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Last night was my son's elementary school graduation, which was fun and moving and also overcrowded and a bazillion degrees in what was once my junior high school gym, which is now the gym of the middle school to which he would be going had he not gotten in to the magnet school. He spent the hour beforehand crying and telling us he does not want to go to the magnet school, and at the ceremony it occurred to me that while it is a great honor to have been selected, the school does not go out of its way to emphasize that it is a great honor; the school goes out of its way to emphasize the "No child left behind" bullshit of the current administration, which means that after all the kids who have achieved certificates for academic excellence (which usually means working their butts off to some extent) have picked up their rewards, they give every single other kid who is graduating a certificate for having tried their hardest. This is in addition to the diplomas, so everyone's name was read off twice. The principal went on about how wonderful each and every student had been and how lucky the middle school would be to have all of them, and what a wonderful place it was. I cannot say I blame the four kids selected to go to the magnet program for feeling a bit like they're being packed off to Siberia rather than being given an honor.

I went through the same public school system as my son is going through now. And I had the same gifted label, but when I was in school there were no special classes, no weighted grades; I graduated 151st out of a class of nearly 600 at my high school because none of my AP or honors or gifted courses got any special weight in the rankings. Fortunately most colleges paid attention to what courses you took, not just what grades you got, though at a couple of state schools I was told that the fact that I didn't have a 3.6 GPA would get me flatly rejected. The irony of course is that I'd worked hard in high school, took hard classes, and had a much higher GPA in college. The new attitude in education here seems to be not to push the very bright kids to achieve their utmost, but to try to hold them at a level with not-the-very-bright-kids until those kids catch up, because otherwise those kids apparently don't catch up, statistically; but yesterday I really found myself wondering how this is in any way fair to the brightest and most hard-working kids, that they are not being rewarded for their achievements and in fact their achievements are being ignored so no one else looks bad. I am all in favor of not making any kid feel stupid, but what good does it do not to make any kid feel smart?

Wow, that was a lot of griping for what turned out to be a generally pleasant evening, and I meant to wax nostalgic about being in a building I probably have not set foot in since my sister was in high school (I might have gone back at some point in college to visit my home ec teacher, whom I adored, which is a story in itself, but the school was closed for several years due to low enrollment and none of the original teachers were back when it reopened). Last night I saw the parents of a lot of the kids he's gone all the way through with, and saw a slide show of all the kids from childhood and various school events, and they sang "Lean On Me" to which my son objected as he really doesn't like the song, and my parents and in-laws were all there which had to have been really nice for my son (I can't remember an event in my childhood focused on me that all my grandparents came to before my Bat Mitzvah).

And I am going to post a graduation photo in which you cannot see my son's face, but you can see his teacher (in pink), the principal (shaking his hand), and right behind the principal on the left, seated, another fifth grade teacher who looks so much like movie!Remus that I was giggling all evening. Collapse ) And speaking of Remus Lupin, this morning's Death By David Thewlis was pointed out to me by ashinae. Warning: nudity! SHRIEK! And there are caps in russell_daily courtesy boxer_ferret of Russell Crowe at the NHL Awards ceremony -- thanks agentirish for reminding me to pimp!

Picture meme gacked from jenwrites that I was compelled to do, and cracked myself up well in the process: Collapse ) And gacked from ashinae with a great big howl: Collapse )