Thursday, May 8, 2008

Old School

I miss "old school" school.

I miss kids being able to go home during lunch and have some hot soup and a sandwich. They can't anymore, because no one is home, or perhaps they might stumble upon some drugs and do them instead of eating lunch, or maybe get pregnant, or HIV, or get abducted by the sexual predator who lives five hundred and one yards from the school.

I miss towns being in charge of the schools, instead of counties. People used to know their school board members, and could actually speak to them if they had a problem. Principals were concerned about their teachers and their kids, not working a huge system for money so they can keep their jobs.

I miss recess with real balls and hoops and games, and swing sets and slides and see-saws, even though I know see-saws are responsible for more facial stitches and head and crotch injuries than bar fights. See saws were cool. Toys were cool too. Now, in our school district, kids can't play ball games, because they exclude "differently-abled" children and could hurt someone.

There was bullying, but not as much. Kids who got picked on were instructed to "hit back" by their fathers, and often their teachers! They could defend themselves without worrying about going to jail.

I miss teachers being able to knick knack paddywhack a nasty kid. When the kid got home he'd get knick knacked all over again by his parents, because the teacher would be certain to call, if not visit the child's parents that same day. Now a teacher can't even do a magic trick without being fired, so discipline, even righteous discipline can cost a teacher his job. The climate of fear is elevated so high, that no one is free of it. Kids, teacher, administration all function with an unhealtly level of near-paranoia.

I miss old school text books. When text books were made of text, and kids could read them at home to back up what the teacher talked about it class. These days textbooks are printed in two languages and filled with plethora of color-filled graphics (and yes, that is plethora used the correct way, which is an obscene overabundance) that only serves to confuse young eyes and minds. Kids have to hunt for the actual text amidst pie charts, and graphs, and cartoons and photos and other largely unnecessary graphic art.

Of course, I didn't have all of these old school things. I was educated with "new math," which means I still count on my fingers, and whole language. Luckily my mother taught me to read with phonics before I started school, or else I might have been another whole language casualty. And luckily, my parents were educated old school- style. The trickle down of their education made it to me, and to some extent, my own children, who are growing up just fine despite their spotty school education. I knew not to misbehave in school. I knew if my teacher wouldn't be able to come down on me, my parents sure would. As far as they were concerned, I was lucky enough to not get knick-knacked twice, like they would have been. As it stood, the fear was enough and I never got knick-knacked due to a school related event.
I was a good kid, and guess what? So was everyone else, because my classmates would all have gotten knick-knacked too. The time we spent in class was used for learning because everyone behaved.
I miss old school school.

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