Somewhere in my records I have the letter of apology a local judge sent me. I had just written a letter to the editor criticizing the School Board for adding more academic coursework to the loads of students making it just that much harder for them to graduate. I don’t know how well I made my points but the good judge who dealt with juvenile offenders wrote a reply taking me to task. Without the letter I can’t recall what his line of thought was but as someone who was still trying to get elected to the school board I was chagrinned that a man of such distinction had dissed me.
I wrote him a reply to which he sent another letter acknowledging that maybe he’d been too hard on me.
To elicit this response I probably argued along these lines: The additional requirements were almost certainly prompted by school board members who felt that all our graduates should be prepared to go to college whether they eventually did or not. Whether that was their thinking or not as a teacher I knew full well that a great many students wanted to get out of school. Not long before kids could easily drop out at age 16. They would be young but they go to work and they were much more driven to be independent. Saddling such kids, many of them kids our schools had failed to give good academic skills made it more likely they could become dropouts than if they were allowed to take a lesser course load. That would deprive them of the credentials and satisfaction of a high school diploma.
I have always taken umbrage to people who look down on others with less prestigious credentials. I went to a pretty ordinary State College. I have met few peers more keenly interested in the world even those few I’ve run across with Ivy League educations. Despite the haste of my twenty years of blog posts I think they are as insightful and well written as they work of a great many people with superior academic credentials. Although in all my years on the School Board I have never found myself in a position to champion educating students to become their own self directed teachers. I did, I think, have one success. My Son. He absolutely hated school especially with me on the School Board as a very public character who often put other people’s noses out of joint. I swear he refused to graduate on time to avoid my handing him his diploma. He graduated half a year later after giving up on the idea of getting a GED. But I know few people who reads technical work with the mania that he does. He’s got a PHD from an eminent University in some fancy combination of Chemistry, Physics and other Scientific stuff.
I can’t remember if the first time I heard the word auto didact was applied to Abe Lincoln but its appealed to me ever since. Its a self taught person. Abraham Lincoln had but a few years of what we would call grade school. He was forever embarassed at his lack of credentials. But he more than made up for this by becoming a surveyor, lawyer, legislator and finally one of the shrewdest Presidents the United States ever had. Indeed I can’t imagine anyone else succeeding to patch the nation back together than Abe Lincoln. So much for a Harvard degree.
George Bush had the right idea disastrously implemented in No Child Left Behind. As a Republican he had to abide by the platform of letting children pull themselves up by their own bootstraps by avoiding proper care for families in an America that didn’t want to pay to help people from falling behind.
Now Bush’s party is led by Donald Trump. Trump only wants to help people who vote for him. His party is delighted for this refreshing change of priorities.
I just hope the suburban housewives, despite being today’s bourgeoise can see beyond NAFTA’s cheep goods to the fairer world that socialists envisioned a hundred years ago. All America’s allies are socialist nations and most of them are far less divided by wealth and poverty than the United States. As I wrote a year ago. I have never met a Republican who isn’t a Socialist.