08 December 2008

You Can't Always Get What You Want

awwww - the poor pitiful private school parents are gonna' have to slum.

The upshot is - with those white (let's be honest now) students back in the system, standardized test score averages for the respective schools will rise dramatically. The b/w ratio will be more in balance and the security issues will lessen. But that's more class related than anything else, really. The idea that the public schools are struggling to meet standards is related to race is asinine. It's completely linked to flight of middle class families from the system(s), of all races. Economically disadvantaged families (aka "poor") generally do not have the means or wherewithal to support their children with homework and projects, much less the greater school community.

Along that line, I've really been frustrated with Snowden recently - My gripe is this - how is a child whose parents work the 3rd shift at Kellogg's or FedEx for $8/hr supposed to compete with the children of architects and professors? I'm not talking innate intellectual ability, I'm talking stuff wise. Not everyone has a computer at home with on demand Internet access. We have the means to do research at home on say, the Aztecs. (Seriously, Liz had a project on the Aztecs. It was so unfair to the rest of the 4th grade - her partner, yeah, well, her mother is an artist. Who do you think had the most well-researched, historically accurate, aesthetically pleasing triorama?) Anywhoo, back to the middle class guilt - We also can go to the craft store at will and pick up tubes of native American figures, fast-drying clay and glitter. We have color copier/printers at home. The students were supposed to "work on the project at school" in an effort to even this out, but seriously - that's unrealistic as well. So the kids of middle class parents bring their superior supplies to school. How does that make it more equitable?

Now I know some will say nothing will ever be completely equal; inequality is built into nature. There are some that are smarter, stronger, faster. True. (One of my favorite short stories is Harrison Bergeron by Vonnegut.) But that doesn't mean the system should be stacked to favor those already gifted/privileged. And that's what I think many of these projects do - favor those who already have the tools to succeed and further penalize those who do not. I go to awards ceremonies and hear the same names called time after time* and look at the faces of those kids that work their butts off, making do with piecemeal supplies and government cheese, and my heart shatters into a million Catholic, middle-class guilt ridden pieces. Those kids' names will never be called, not because they haven't tried, not because they aren't good enough, but because they're poor.

So, I'm really having trouble finding any sympathy for the whiney-ass SUV-driving, bleach blonde entitled soccer moms and their spawn. Let me try again . . . . nope. Nothin'

*Yes yes, the names are those my children and their friends and I'm proud of their accomplishments but still . . .

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