January 06, 2004

Latest Metaphor: Dumb as the Guatemalan School System

The following post could not be submitted last night due to Blogger deciding that it had been under a few hours of routine maintenance as of November 12th. *sigh* Anyway, without further ado:

No pressure. None at all. I just wanted you all to know that. I am not currently under any pressure or stress whatsoever. I mean, it's not like I have less than a week to teach five mathematically illiterate middle schoolers everything I know about Algebra and Algebra II, right? And it's not like if they fail the test that's coming on Monday, they'll be missing the next entire year of school (effectively putting them two years farther behind than they already are), right? Wrong. That's exactly what's going on. And it sucks. Last year 50 kids failed math (not all from the orphanage, obviously) and had to take "summer school" math, whatever they call it. When the test rolled around to see if they were back on track or not, we had a 12% pass rate.

Oh, yeah . . . and the two 7th graders are both 16 years old. And two of the 8th graders are 17, one is 18. If the 18 year old fails this test, she'll be 21 by the time she gets out of the 9th grade, provided she doesn't fail anymore classes between now and then. Basically, if they fail this math class, they fail the whole grade, and they have to retake everything. The test is, as I said, on Monday, but they get two retakes. One is in February, one is in March . . . but if they have to retake in February, the schoolyear will already have marched too far along without them and they'll have to sit out the year. Of course, if they fail all three, they'll be retaking the same grade starting next January, resulting in the loss of two years that I mentioned earlier. The system sucks, but no one seems to notice. I can't do anything about it, having no time or influence, and I can't seem to get anyone else to do anything about it, either.

My dad would do something, but math isn't his strong point, and he just doesn't get what's going on. Plus he's always running in all directions starting at 5:00 in the morning, so he just can't. Besides, the things that really need to be fixed go a lot deeper than our school. This boggles my mind, but the school is one of the best in the entire city, and possibly in the country. It's all the government's fault . . .

Anyway, as to other things, I finished that Star Wars book today. Yay. It was fair. I gave it a 79. It had some good action and some decent twists, but it was a fairly weak end to the trilogy and the last 40 pages seemed unnecessarily boring as things wound down. But whatever . . .

I wanted to include this quote in my last post, but I forgot. It's from Paradise Lost, and I thought it was interesting. Eve's, and subsequently Adam's, downfall came after she had suggested that she and Adam should spend the day working in different areas of the garden, even though an angel has just warned them of Satan's presence. When Adam reminds her of this, her argument is that even if Satan does show up, their faith is worthless anyway if it can't stand up to a little temptation. After all the Fall, Adam and Eve are sitting around berating themselves and each other, and Adam says:

Let none henceforth seek needless cause to [prove]
The Faith they owe; when earnestly they seek
Such proof, conclude, they then begin to fail.

I thought that was . . . interesting. Just like the rest of the book, in fact . . .

But anyway, I just realized that I left it and Lord of Chaos in my parents' room and they're both asleep already, so . . . suck. I'll just have to read Master and Commander for the next three hours or so. Oh, well . . . at least that's the one I most urgently need to finish. Incidentally, it is quite excellent so far. I can hardly believe when it was written . . . it almost seems to have been written 150+ years earlier. I don't know of any other historical novels that have effectively pulled that off.

Posted by Jared at January 6, 2004 10:05 AM | TrackBack