Monday, August 17, 2009

Wheat and Chaff


Todd-o and I separated the wheat from the chaff last night. Before you go casting me as a crunchy wheat berry hippie, also know that I just polished off a package of Zingers with Suzy Q's set aside for tomorrow. Diabetes update to follow.

Threshing wheat works nicely, whether by hand or machine. Threshing schools is not such a lovely task. (Winnowing sounds more poetic and does involve a gentle breeze, but it's not expedient for this transition.) Guess what about charter schools in Arizona! Yeah, that's what. Needs threshing. Unfortunately, where politicians talk about "government schools" one would expect to see various programs like open enrollment, magnet schools*, and vouchers pop up. In effect, these options overwhelm parents leaving us second-guessing every decision we make with regard to our children's education. At the same time, these programs suck resources from neighborhood schools and skim the perceived cream. Icky chaff!

How do we find top-notch students to segregate whisk away to bastions of learning? We could always test them, but when the best indicator of test performance is zip code (Google "Volvo effect"), then why bother with the tests at all? Just check out the vehicles in the pick-up lane. Put those kids with their parents' money in one preci$ely located school easily identified by realtors and watch them soar. Of course those left in the time/talent/treasure void may not perform as well as a group and therefore we should punish those kids by closing down their schools and refusing to educate the former enrollees unless their parents manage to secure digs where property taxes are higher, swing their own college education, and give up on any service sector/civil servant jobs in favor of something tastefully white collar. Of course, a few children will slip past our ivy gated communities and we will laud them as an example of why the rest are truly undeserving.

* I'm not a hypocrite as my kids are special. They attend magnet schools where everything is perfect in accordance with the needs of my gifted and talented (and gorgeous) children. Magnet status, btw, didn't prevent 1/3 of the faculty getting riffed and the total absence of a librarian at the 9 YO's school. On the other hand, they have a part time attendance clerk because someone should watch after Adequate Yearly Progress.

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