I love reading my local newspaper and making fun of some of the stories I read. Before I get to the meat and potatoes of my gripe (Buffalo school system), let me first say this:
David Hasselhoff was hospitalized in a shaving accident.
That's right - a shaving accident. That's shaving as in razor, face, get rid of the beard shaving. He apparently hit a chandelier and fell, severing a tendon that then required surgery. I am trying to get my head around this one. He was shaving (his bathroom is much fanicer than mine if he has chandeliers - unless he was shaving in the dining room?), slipped I can presume, and whacked his head on a light fixture. At which point he must have flailed his arm so wildly as to take the razor in his hand and sever a tendon.
Now I have done some shaving in my day. I have even slipped in the tub while doing it. I don't have a chandelier in my tub so perhaps that's the missing piece of this equation, but I have shaved. I have also knicked myself. It bled but not bad enough to say I severed anything.
I had a boyfriend once who shaved off half his eyebrow in a shaving accident. Maybe it's just guys because no women I have known have ever shaved anything that didn't require shaving. No severed tendons, missing eyebrows, etc. And we usually do it while multitasking. Oh well.
On to the Buffalo school system. There is a huge controversy now over whether or not kids should be socially promoted in school. For those of you who don't know what that means (and I was one of them), it means that your child will pass to the next grade (social promotion) whether or not he or she is ready for that grade. So your child fails all year, and passes anyway so as not to hold them back socially.
If you can believe it, there are people in the Buffalo School System who think that these kids should be held back until they are academically ready to continue to the next grade. That is bullshit! I say, pass the bastards and let them struggle! Why worry about their educations? Aren't they all going to drop out anyway?
This is quite disturbing to me. I have a couple of good friends who work in the Buffalo School System. I don't know how they can because it sounds as though I would rather get paper cuts all over my body and be dipped in a vat of vinegar, but I digress. They tell me so many of the problems facing the system. Now, no system is perfect, but the school system my kids would be in (should I ever have any) is Utopia compared to this hell-hole.
The kids in danger of failing and being held back are required to take summer classes to try to pass and prepare them for the next grade. Parents are apparently finding every excuse in the book to prevent kids from taking summer classes but still want their kids passed.
I even read a commentary from one retired teacher stating that she thinks kids shouldn't be held back. She stated her thoughts so matter-of-factly I got the impression she thought everyone must feel this way. Almost like, well, duh, of course we have to pass everyone. We can't have a 12 year old in the first grade. In fact, one of her comments was (to paraphrase): What do we do with kids who are entering kindergarten without skills like recognizing primary colors, knowing how to say the alphabet and count to 10? Do we tell them they have to stay home until they can?
Parents need to take ownership of their children's education. Any kid going into kindergarten should recognize the color red and be able to point that out. He or she should also know the letter 'A' from the letter 'Z' (perhaps the child should watch more Sesame Street and less Sponge Bob or whatever other crap is on for the poor little bastards) and should be able to count to 10. I don't think that's unreasonable. I also don't think it's unreasonable to expect kids to meet certain criteria in order to pass to the next grade level. As a parent, I would be outraged if my child was passed just to improve school numbers or to prevent him or her from feeling bad being the oldest kid in class. From the sounds of it, so many kids would be the oldest kid, the issue would be moot.
And this from a retired teacher. Jesus, why are the Buffalo schools so bad?
But - another editorial from a retired teacher (this one apparently not a dumbass) stated that parents do need to take ownership and that kids shouldn't pass blindly.
Ah, with every dumbass, there is a ray of light. A glimmer of hope.