So earlier today, mom was browsing the online newspaper--we stopped getting the regular delivery years ago, because it would simply pile up and just make more waste. There was an article she found, she read it and passed it on to me.
To our non-surprise, it was an article about NCLB and how our state's schools are faring. Needless to say, the results aren't good.
The story goes that there's expected numbers to meet each year: 78% proficiency in reading, 66% in math--for high school juniors. Our numbers? Well, they're not that close. Apparently only 30% of our state's schools (in total, mind you) managed to make that goal. There was at least one person quoted in the article claiming that those expected figures are too high! For high school juniors!
On a whim, I decided to read the comment threads. Some of the people in there...well, let's just say that they may need some remedial teaching themselves, because there were many errors (at least one poster...oh dear, let's not say more).
Mom and I had our discussion about it--in two parts, really, because we talked once before dinner and once just a few minutes ago. We did quite a bit of walking down memory lane, since there's three of us and she had to go through the local school system with all of us--not an easy trip, with how many troubles there were, and not from us kids. The schools wanted to fight her every step of the way, and luckily, mom was able to fight back. I admire her quite a bit, for everything she taught us and the fact we can still learn from her even today. ♥
The fact that there's so many people my age....no, people my age and older, even up to mom's age and older than that, they don't know how to spell basic words or construct simple phrases, how to do basic math or even do simple problems...this frightens me. If the current generations have these sorts of issues, how will the generations to come fare in the long run?
I remember back when I was in high school, and the classes I took. Both my starting year and senior year, I took a reading class--rather basic, or so it seemed--it was actually very exciting. We had our choice of books to read, and each one had a ranking system based on grade level (numbers, really, and the numbers represented which grade level the book matched in reading skill). After completing the book, we'd take a computer-based test on what we had read, and based on the results, that would give us our overall reading grade level.
The book reading was mostly for outside class, though. During class, we'd have lessons on various things--I remember my senior year, we actually did lessons on making budgets and doing check-writing and such--and we had spelling books. There were three levels, I remember--one was a very basic one (aimed at catching up, I think), the next was a middle of the road one, and then the advanced book. Yours truly was in the advanced book, alone, both years. At the end of both years, I was marked as reading at a post-high-school level.
I remember feeling rather like Matilda in that class, sitting there with my own special book and special level, above the rest of the class. It was an odd feeling, but I did feel rather proud as well. I do love my reading, after all--anyone who's seen my personal library will agree! :)
(Yes, I do have a copy of Matilda--both the book and the behind-the-scenes movie book. A very good read, and a favorite treasure of mine.)
Where I managed to get through my years and graduate (and thus, escape the school system's shortcomings and give mom one of her best birthday gifts ever), some of my friends weren't as lucky and encountered many struggles along the way. One of them...let's call him "Aquarius" (he'll probably see this and recognize his LJ name), had quite a time and almost didn't get there. The school basically let him go along and dangle from threads before the end of his senior year, when they finally told him he was one credit short from being able to graduate. It was mom who stood up for him, and he was able to take an adult ed course to fill in that missing credit. Sure, he didn't get to march with the 05 class, but he did get to march with 06, and he was my partner for both prom and the senior banquet so he got to be part of the 05 activities. We even gave him one of my graduation tickets so he could watch, and he and I both went to the senior party overnight at the field house. We were lucky he was able to come back from being lost in the shuffle.
Sometimes, the lost ones aren't as lucky. I hope that things get resolved so there won't be any lost ones in the times to come.
It's times like these where I want to take up my red pen and favorite hardcover dictionary, pull out my book collection, and try to help teach some people. I admit, though, I'm not sure how I'd do--the most I could be good at would probably be sharing a love of reading and writing.
At least I still have my journal, and the journals I'm a part of...though I admit I haven't been a very good moderator for the few communities I actually own. Any RPW members want to help me revive the place? I haven't been able to work very well on original stuff lately, so I may need a little assistance in getting something going.
As for FDD, maybe we could do a pony week or something, excuse to be major nerdy nerds or something. Taking requests there as well.
For other ideas lately, it seems to be coming up fandom things. Group projects with the tribemates and such, and I discussed a new idea as a co-op with Raine (if it works out). I really need to get myself back into writing again.
Also, since I've noticed that several of the posters on my friendslist have been going through rough times lately, I'm hoping that things get better and wishing a big, beautiful rainbow for you all. Rainbows can bring good results, right?