Schools & schooling
LEARN AT LEAST TO KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT (09-12-02). . . . Wise off in a French school and you go to jail, says a new French law. (Daily Telegraph, in Sun-Times 9/11) You get six months in a "closed educational center" and (up to?) $7,500 in fines for acting up in the classroom. That's for teacher disrespect.
Same for cops, crossing guards and others who place their dignity and self-respect on the line daily in the service of youth. It's the latest in a thin line of evidence showing the difference between a French conservative and a French socialist.
Jacques Chirac won the presidency on an anti-crime platform. But my friend Jake (not his real name) says don't count "dem" socialists out, adopting the patois of the ESL bunch. It remains to be seen what "dose" ed centers look like, he says. Will they have counselors, grief or otherwise?
BUTTON IT . . . The youngest female Reality-MTV Osbourne, Kelly, calls her debut CD "Shut Up." It's aimed at teachers she had and is glad she will never have, having dropped out of high school from sheer disgust at "having all these separate groups: black kids, white kids, jocks, geeks," which she found "just retarded." (As in Edna Gunderson, Gannett News Service story, S-T 11/28/02)
You see, the teachers met them at the door and said, all you black kids get over there, you white kids there, then all you jocks and geeks leave your black or white group and get over there, jocks, and over there, geeks. OK, now we can start teaching.
No more of that for Kelly O.: "College sucks, because all those kids are so stoked [irritated? stimulated? looking for help here] to be away from their parents that they feel obliged to behave like a--holes [that one I know, it's assholes]."
Counter-culturally, she wants to stay at home, and maybe paying her way at that, if the CD succeeds. What? An 18-year-old remain with parents, as if the home is where the heart is and there's something to be learned there?
HOME . . . Personally, I left at 18, for good, boarding the Monon for southern Ohio, knowing there would be no return for visit for five years unless I dropped out (of my chosen religious order), which few did in those years, the early 50s. Here was a home conservative by today's standards that had as part of its received culture the option of leaving home completely after high school.
For me it was after a year of college. In fact, all but four of the 50 (!) of us in 1950 came after a year or more of college, and quite a few, maybe half, from non-Jesuit (feeder) schools, including one recent convert who had heard of Jesuits from Fu Manchu novels and the Encyclopedia Britannica.
The further option was there of leaving for India or Nepal after four or seven years, permanently, with no plans to return.
The age-18 departure meant in at least one case estrangement from father, eventually overcome, and in at lease one other (mine) the sense of leaving the home when opportunity seemed to present itself to know the father better -- at age 18! So it went long before Kelly Osbourne's "Shut up" CD.
WELL MET, ANYHOW . . . Chutzpah is ever on the lookout for definitions. A good one popped up June 21 in Chi Trib with the story of Glenn "Max" McGee, between jobs as Supt. of Ill. Board of Ed and ditto for Wilmette IL, a semi-posh suburb, who did a report on Ill. schools that slammed everyone in sight, including the state agency he just stopped heading.
That was in the written report he had just done for the state for $140,000 while holding on to nurse (see Belloc poem) at N. Ill. U. as a teacher. But in his in-person oral report to the state board in an Oak Brook meeting, he was quite a bit softer. It took the Trib reporter a little reading to find where McGee really stood on Ill. schooling, as opposed to what he wanted to say face to face with his employers.
Chutzpah, thy name is Professional Educator! And good luck to semi-posh Wilmette!
FOR THE SAKE OF ART . . . An application for a foundation grant, typed, clamped in folder, with estimated budget, etc., is "in truth a literary form, like a Shakespearean sonnet, and its correct composition is an art not vouchsafed to everyone," says J. Barzun in House of Intellect. There's the love sonnet and the meditative sonnet, so also "a problem project and a survey project."
GO PERSON GO . . . "Intellectual ambition and powers . . . reside in individuals and nowhere else. Teamwork may discover but not invent," says classroom lifer Barzun in his 1959 House of Intellect. Attention teachers who promote group work in the classroom.