Tuesday, April 21, 2009



*sigh*. I refer to my 'steps' in the 'first familial' tense. I don't have a 'step brother', I have a 'brother'. Same same with nieces and nephews.

This has always been a 'community' house, where the friends of family can come in and relax as much as possible. So my nephew's friends sometimes have been refered to as 'nephews' as well. Today's entry is about my actual nephew, as I have been typing up 'stuff' for him.

I know he wants to go to college. He is a junior at 'Whatchamacallit High' in Detroit. It is a 'new' school to me, as it didn't exist when I was part of the DPS. Anywho, I have helped his friends with their reports and what not, and the consensus was that my nephew is actually smarter than his companions.

Sitting here with these various reports of his to type, I am wondering like 'how'? Thinking about when me and lil' Mook would collaberate on homework, I am like WTF?!? How did my nephew get to the 11th grade, with these skills? I have seen his report card ... and trust me Alaina, my heart does bleed for the teachers, but WHO THE HELL GAVE HIM THESE FREAKIN' GRADES!!!

Okay ... maybe it is worse nowadays. I am mad, because THIS CRAP DOESN'T MAKE ANY FREAKING SENSE THAT I AM READING!! It has been hard getting it done, because I have to fight the urge to tear this mess up, and do the freakin' work myself!

Because I do think that the public education environment is very dysfunctional, and the one here in Detroit is near collapse, I don't 'blame' the teachers, not directly. Yet, I have seen where teachers have demanded the MINIMUM from there students, and gotten themselves in trouble. I also have seen where they suffer from the stresses, but this crap that I am reading from my nephew is NOT what a 'B' student is supposed to be creating.

We have had conversations about the ACT/SAT and all that. Talked to him about colleges, where to go and getting a handle on finacial aid ... staying local as opposed to going out of town, out of state even.

But if THIS is any indication of what he is capable of ... I am wondering why did he get the grades that I SAW on his last report card?? This is SO NOT the work of that student, the one indicated by those grades.

Lil Mook as a seventh grader, did better work than this. KT as a eigth grader did too. I know, because I help the former, and saw it with the latter. The graduation rate here is running low, one report I heard on NPR had it at 25% of incoming freshemen will graduate from school here. Again, WTF!!

Then ... THEN, let's take a look at what is being produced. What are the actual GRADUATES able to do, when they get out of school? What kind of I would be leery to actually help my nephew much more, because for all this time, he has been intellectually coddled. I would not be surprised to type this stuff up, and have him get a 'B' on these papers.

I would scratch red ink on every page, right in the middle. Then I would grade it sa 'Inc.', and hand this mess back to him. I would tell him I will give him the rest of the week to go over this, and get something that he actually worked and made sense back to me.

Oh, and BTW, you better keep up with what we are doing NOW. This is real life, and because you are found slack, doesn't mean life is going to hold your spot.

See y'all when I see you.


a corgi said...

it does make you wonder, doesn't it, Mark? but yet, I remember my mom telling a story from her high school days about her English teacher (mind you she graduated in 1940). My mom was a "B" student and really tried to do her best in school. She would write what the English teacher assigned, but her work always came back "C" with an occasional "D". She could never figure it out; spelling was good; punctuation correct; good grammar and sentence structure, etc. Finally she asked one of her friends, who got A's on what she did to get the good grade. The friend said "it doesn't matter what you write, she doesn't read it. She just looks to see how much of the page you filled up. The more you fill up, the higher grade you get". My mom tried it and guess what? She got an "A".

I'm not saying that's what is happening here with your nephew, but I do think the education system needs an overhaul. There are so many good teachers out there and conversely, some that shouldn't be teaching. And I'm sure standards in grading would help too. I'm just glad my kids have graduated already.

maybe this new administration will be able to get a better handle on the education system since it is mentioned and stressed so very much so often by our esteemed leader

but I totally know what you mean about wanting to redo it yourself; I had to contain myself when typing up my son's reports to not edit too much. Thankfully for some, spell check is a great option to have

enjoy the day :)


Beth said...

Mark, I understand your frustration. Something is broken and is in dire need of fixing. I don't think the answer is necessarily throwing more money at the school systems, although there are some districts that are woefully lacking in supplies and decent facilities, not to mention a lack of teachers!

I think we need to set the bar higher. To say that mediocrity or "just getting by" isn't good enough. To stress the importance of education from the very start, and to EXPECT that every kid will go to college if they show that ability. None of this "working in the factory was good enough for me, so it should be good enough for you!" mentality.

I'm not sure how we change that, though. [sigh]

Love, Beth

Indigo said...

I'm so with you on this hon! My daughter can't spell worth a damn, nor come up with a complete sentence for anything. Yet somehow you graduated with an A-B average...wait for it...with accelerated classes. I'm dumbfounded as to how.

I know my grammar is atrocious at times. However I am able to write with at least some intelligence.

Recently there was talk about the latest books being released and the complete fluff they were. I didn't have a problem understanding how they made the top publishing list. This generation sincerely would buy it and not think twice. Well written authors are taking a step back and wondering what the hell.

Sigh...I didn't mean to go on and on here. Just know I get it! (Hugs)Indigo

miss alaineus said...

mark i feel you here....when i taught public school i was condemned by my admins and some of the other teachers for trying to demand that the students do AB work to receive AB grades. my bff from my first year teaching for the outfit now is a principal at a public institution where a 13 was the average ACT score....and that is PROGESS from the last year's scores.

two things have happened, staff and admins who tried to care are either deadened to that feeling of concern or gotten rid of by a system that celebrates the mediocre and gives kids a's for showing up and not sagging their pants and the majority of families have also stopped demanding better of their local schools by not participating to their full capacity as partners in education.

sorry for the rant. i try to keep those contained over at the alemanac... also this young man and his friends are lucky to have someone who is willing to invest the time to show them the way to try to correct these things. bless you and mad props for that.


Celeste said...

It is scary. When my daughter was in school(middle school and high school)the teachers were not allowed to give a grade below 50. I thought it was outrageous and horrifying. So if they turned in a blank page, they would get a grade of 50. Some students would do that for a whole semester. The next semester they would make just enough so that they made enough to pass when the 2 semester grades were averaged together.

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

It is disturbing how education has changed so much over the years. They take more advanced classes in math and science than we did, but their basic english skills have gone to the cellar. Perhaps the whole texting and e-mail craze has dumbed us down in that regard.