The Herald Bulletin

Afternoon Update

Opinion

November 14, 2013

Primus Mootry: Observations on various topics

(Continued)

Grading our schools — what kind of crackpot idea is that anyway? I’ve studiously avoided trying to learn too much about it. I’m against grading children up to about the third grade, let alone a school full of them.

Let’s say, for example, you have three young children. Every year you give each one a grade. The slow one gets an “F.” The not-so-slow one gets a “C.” The quick one gets an “A.” Do that, and you will soon start treating each child with the expectation you labeled them with — slow, not-so-slow and the quick-study one.

Of course, that is preposterous. We love our children all the same. We recognize that each delights in certain things, learns a different way and takes life at a different pace. That “slow one” who spends most of his or her time looking out the window may, in fact, be the artistic genius in the bunch.

Similarly, when it comes to grading schools, it seems to me the bureaucrat graders would have to factor in the full range of things that collectively determine what grade a school receives. To the point, the most important factor determining student outcomes is the level of education and income of the parents.

The bureaucrats don’t get it. In poor or low-income communities, the whole family must be brought into the educational process, not as teachers, but as supporters of teaching and learning processes. Otherwise, at the rate we’re going, we will continue to have “F” schools, and the thing sociologists call a “permanent underclass” will remain just that — permanent.

Climate change — they say anyone who doesn’t like the weather should spend a week in Indiana. A few days ago, I was out on the golf course hitting little white balls hither and yon, and enjoying the sunshine. Today I’m looking for my long johns.

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