Saturday, December 29, 2007

Another Rant--but this one a bit more serious

I was reading an article on a 17 year old girl who got the bright idea to start something online and is now a millionaire. Her business is taking up so much of her time that she had to quit school and hire friends to help her with it. One of the comments on the site was directed at her dropping out of school, saying that it wasn't a good idea and that they hoped she went back and got her GED or something.

You know, I'm wondering if this girl has the right idea.

Now granted, I'm not in favor of dropping out of high school. I have teenagers of my own and I'd like to see that they get at the very least a diploma, however with the way the government has completely fucked up the education system, I can seriously understand how this girl would take running a business over finishing school. I mean seriously, I bet she's learning a hell of a lot more useful stuff running that business than she would sitting in a classroom, stressing over advanced algebra and literature classes.

My two kids are not natural students. Both have ADD/ADHD (and yes, they are on medication so don't even start with me) one is dyslexic and the other has test anxieties. They have to work their assess off in school to get mediocre grades. And the government, despite their claims of "No Child Left Behind" has created such a mess my kids, as well as thousands of others, will be lucky to get out of it with their sanity intact. Thanks to our wonderful government, they've managed to take the "kid" out of being a kid and thrown today's students into a situation where our educational system is as much, if not more stressful than the working community.

They've created a system based on test scores of "book knowledge" and completely forgot that kids need "life knowledge" as well. They complain that the kids today are obese from staying inside and playing those bad, bad video games....helloooooo, did you ever think they're getting obese because they sit in school all day then have to come home and do five more hours of homework to keep up their grades?????? This girl had the glorious ability to think outside the standard academic box and create an answer to a problem thus starting up a successful business and that she pulled it off showed she's not lacking in the brains area.

But did she pass the standardized testing?

You know, I barely squeaked by in school but I don't consider myself dumb. And you remember those stupid occupation tests we had to take? Well they told me I'd be either a domestic servant or a park ranger. Okay, so maybe to my 16 year old, I am a domestic servant ("I'm hungry", "I need laundry done") but it seems I've done pretty darned good for myself. I can string enough, somewhat grammatically correct sentences together to write a novel and I have enough smarts to hold down a job where the information I analyze and report to the state drives the funding for a pretty good sized school district program. I can even calculate change without using a cash register (now ask any teenager today to do that and see what it gets you besides a blank stare!)

Not to shabby for an academic loser, eh?

So, uh, tell me, Mr. President, if the mean weight of three team members on a bobsled team is 161 lbs and the added (fourth) driver brings the mean weight up to 165.5 lbs, exactly what is the weight of fourth person? Oh, and don't forget to show your work. Remember, you don't graduate if you can't answer it correctly--no pressure or anything.

1 comment:

Cathy in AK said...

Thanks for the rant, Amy. I have to admit I've gotten caught up in the "keep those grades high" insanity. But since my oldest is only in 5th grade I think your post will help me loosen up. Good grades are great, but there's more to my children than As, Bs or Cs.

Understanding and being able to function in the real world isn't taught in school, and that's going to hurt the next generation as much as sorry scores in math and science. If a kid shows promise on a non-academic path, I say let them explore it. We need savvy business leaders and innovators as much as we need scientists and mathematicians. And artists and writers ;)