On a major project, that was something like 5-10% of their grade, they could get every question wrong, but if they hit all the right bullet points they could still get a 80%. They could get a B without knowing any of the content….and many still failed. While it can be hard to tell socioeconomic status by looking at someone, you can often tell by interacting with someone, and those kids felt just like being back at my old high school. They were poor.
The advanced classes though, night and day difference. Parents sought involvement with the teacher. Students did the work. It was boring because there was virtually nothing for me to do. Most students got A’s on their work, not because of lax grading, but because they did their homework. And when I interacted with those kids it was clear that they many of them were middle class-ish. Not poor at least. Most of the day they had classes together, so they weren’t really interacting with the rest of the school. I mean, they walked past each other, maybe had PE together, but that’s about it.
That whole idea was a failure, that extra money, the extra attention from the middle class on up, it didn’t make the school better. There are enough high performers that it’s essentially two schools in one.
This is some fascinating commentary on the school problem, and it’s input like this that’s lead me to my latest beliefs on parenting and schooling.
I’ll go into them more later, but essentially I blame bad schools on bad parents, and bad parents on a cycle of ignorance and, basically, abuse. If parents don’t teach their children how to succeed in the world after they graduate, they’ve done them a disservice. And if this lack of nurturing is extreme enough, then it’s just plain abuse.
But if they too are victims of such abuse, then how do you blame the parent that doesn’t know any better? It’s a simple answer: you don’t. So who do you look to for blame? Who do you look to for solutions?
Again, easy: the people who watch from the outside as this happens, and then do nothing in the name of political correctness. “Don’t presume to tell the poor how to raise their kids.” “There are many different ways to raise children; don’t be so pompous as to believe you have the best way.” These are all social jujitsu moves designed to make the recipients of good upbringings feel better who sit idly by while poor people basically abuse their children right in front of our eyes.
Don’t blame the people who can’t pull out of their tailspin. Blame the people who have the answer and are afraid to tell them because it’d make them uncomfortable.