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October 22, 2000

Skills Based Promotion

i just came back from taking my kids to a birthday party. the host is a high school teacher and i listened to him at length. he related some stories about how he began some classes with open-ended questions that kids had to dig deep to answer. he told me that he went home and cried when he heard from a 14 year old girl who had 2 abortions and was distraught wondering what they might have looked like. another high school kid held his brother while he bled to death. so i posed the question to him about skills based promotion vs social promotion, knowing that he understood that some kids need real family from school. he juggles both.

what surprised my friend was that the kids believed that the world was like high school. those who had felt love, hate, danger, thrills, and even life and death felt that highschool was a microcosm. he tries to explain to them that only in highschool are people trying to help them, whereas in the real world it's 'what can you do for me'. he explained the real world in a way that was compelling to me - that all you get from the real world is money. that's how the game is played and money is how we keep score. a bleak way of communicating, but he says it's reasonably effective.

i'm not convinced that teaching kids to learn from this materialist perspective is proper. but perhaps i need to accept that there will always be people at that level of society who can't or won't appreciate anything better. i don't have the experience of going to a regular highschool, much less a second-rate highschool. so maybe i just can't relate to education sold by teachers for anything other than it's own sake...

Posted by mbowen at October 22, 2000 10:03 AM

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