Saturday, October 31, 2009

"What sphinx of cement and aluminum bashed open their skulls and ate up their brains and imagination?" -OR- Howlllllllllllllll

It is fitting somehow that the Illinois School Report Cards be released on All Hallows Eve. The annual ritual which, if stood on its head, would be cause for celebration, but as read, just re-confirms what people here have known FOR... EVER.

-My- child is brilliant, but our high schools suck.

"I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving.
hysterical. naked."

There will be much crowing, preening, apologizing, equivocating and back-peddling in the annual unveiling of the boxscores. The bottom-liners will queue up to peck at the data, extracting that which supports their supposition suppository.

It's all so fleeting. Trends identified, theories dashed, lives measured and found lacking. The stacks of diesel steam-rollers will rumble and quake in anticipatory glee. The annual stoning of the faculties will be masked by a blizzard of frantic silver-lining memos. "We held our ground", "We taught the test!" "Our children IS learning!!!"

Meanwhile, around the kitchen tables, in hardware stores and at grocer meat counters, the post-mortem conversations will run and communities will rally.

The gruesome snapshot above is quickly understood and evaluated. Piss poor. But there is still joy. For what is not reflected in the results are the children who escaped. Those spared the humiliation through sacrifice, relocation and checkbook diplomacy.

Prayers, but little else, will be offered for the unfortunate souls trapped within.
Fighting vainly, with no hope of a surge, toward the light at the end of the tunnel.

How can such abysmal scores be accepted with such a collective shrug? It's simple. These are not OUR children (with rare exceptions). Whatever reindeer games are being played under the guise of high school education will not touch MY child or their friends. The numbers posted by the district do not reflect reality in any of this school district's ten communities. If you are a parent who cares, you know you cannot save them all, but you will, for damn sure, save your own. Whatever that takes.

This four-year tear in the community continuum can be reinforced internally. The wound can be numbed to the point that it's barely discernible when poked. With 40 years of experience, there are few nerves remaining. It's not fatal... yet.

The challenge I would issue to the ISBE and the perennial over-achieving schools in this annual ritual is to remove the middle and see what happens. The challenge I have consistently issued to District 209 is to RESTORE the middle. Without them, all the AP Honors classes and remedial programs will only result in the NOT MEETING STANDARDS broadbrush.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!