let's all go to a maoist middle school

2004-01-30 - 10:06 a.m.

Okay, I'm feeling slightly more in control. I've got Maddy's application for the school she doesn't particularly want to go to in. She's visiting both the one she does want to go to and the one she doesn't, and I'm visiting the one she doesn't, too.

I'm sure it would be fine, this wrong school. I'd prefer that she go to Middle School B. It's time for her to get into a bigger setting and to have grades and regular classes. But if for some terrible reason they don't take her, she'll probably be all right at Middle School C.

Also, I think what tends to happen in places like where she is now, and like Middle School C, where grading is more subjective and touchy-feely, is that people get typed. Nora's doing really well this year -- and I think if she were still in elementary school, she would be stuck with the almost-bright kids. When you have 8 math groups, there's little mobility -- if you're in the 6th group, you'll never catch up to the 8th group, and you'll be typed as an almost-bright. If there are two math groups, there's no reason for you not to become the best in the class. In Maddy's

current class, A. is the poet, Z. is the softball jock, MT is the artist, K. is the really bright one -- never mind that A. is also a softball jock, Maddy writes poetry, too, and draws all the time. A. is actually much better at math than they're letting her be and probably at least two others are as bright as K.

It's a setup that sort of works, but I think we've all outgrown it. Which is good -- it's time to outgrow it, so that they'll be ready to move on to something else.

Anyhow -- these are all reasons I don't particularly want her to go to Middle School C., but if she doesn't get in to B, better there than the local public school. Ours is unthinkable, but even the one she might be able to transfer to -- well, that might be okay, but still much larger than I think would be good for her.

Anyway -- hopefully it won't come to that.

Anyway, I was filling out the application for C last night, and there's a question about "how would your child and your family fit in to our philosophy," so I look at their philosophy -- and -- it was 1. Diversity (in many kinds of ways) But not just diversity -- which I am all for -- but that was sort of the be-all and end-all of the school, and not just race, but sexual orientation and class and ... other things I have forgotten. 2 was something else and 3 was something like -- well, it sounded like those Maoist self-criticism groups. The kids are going to look at themselves and see what kind of negative influences are causing them to be less than the whole person they could be, or something.

I have heard that it's actually a decent school, but really -- this is middle school. How about learning some math (do you do algebra?) and science and what do you read and do you learn how to write an essay?

It always bugs me when people somehow think it's the responsibility of children to make the world a better place. How about actually teaching them some skills, and maybe we, as adults, can address the mess we've made of the world? Of course we want a diverse school environment (this is Berkeley, for crying out loud). I'm expecting that as a matter of course. I'm also expecting algebra, and essaywriting.

I think it's the selfrighteous smugness that really gets me.

Also, they're in middle school, for crying out loud. Don't you think it would be enough to encourage them to be nice people and good people and good citizens. Don't you think it's enough to take on the project of making yourself be a decent person at that age?

Oh, god, please don't make us have to go there --

There -- I've said it.

In other news, I'm planning to finish this blasted baby blanket tonight, and then start on another baby project, and I think I've got Maddy's sweater just about worked out. She does not want a fancy Norwegian sweater, which is really just as well, since it would take me about 80 years to make one. So I'll make a simple striped cardigan with bell sleeves (come on, it will be nice!). I can start Nora's, too, when the yarn comes in, and Maddy's poncho, and then I think I'll make a cardigan for me. By which point it will be July -- oh well.




out of print - new releases

find me! - 2008-02-12
where I've gone - 2008-02-07
Where I've gone - 2008-02-05
where I've gone - 2008-02-01
New - 2008-02-01


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