Sunday, December 16, 2007

My Dad

My dad is a bright, successful man. However, my dad was never a good student. In fact, my dad hated school. He attended a vocational school for a while and then left to attend a neighborhood school. Academics was never his specialty. He had the ability but not the interest. In spite of this, he graduated high school, worked, got drafted, served in the army, came home, got married, attended and dropped out of college. Even older, education held no interest for him.

After the army, my dad got a job working for the Veteran's Association. He was not an accountant, but he ran the accounting department. He had many people working directly for him and was very successful. When he needed extra money to buy a car he took a part time job in Macy's. He sold children's shoes there for over 30 years and when he retired, he was earning $20 an hour plus commissions. For an uneducated guy, he did great. He supported a wife and two children and had built up a comfortable retirement fund.

So what brings this story up? NCLB!!!!! This law, along with all the testing would have been the ruination of my dad. He would not have put up with it and probably would never have graduated high school. By allowing him to go to a school where he could develop his own interests, he was able to succeed. Might he have done better had he been forced to learn some of these academic subjects? Maybe. Would he have been happy? Probably not. My guess is that he would have either dropped out or learned enough academics to do minimally well at all the jobs he has held.

My dad was a child of the 30's. Are the children of today all that different? Would we really be hurting them that much if instead of testing and teaching over their heads we taught them what they needed to succeed in life? Would it really hurt to say that it is okay if you can't solve an equation and that it is okay to go in for a career that does not require a college education?


17 (really 15) more years said...

"Are the children of today all that different?" They would like us to believe that they are, but I doubt it. My mother lost her mother when she was 13. Her father (her parents were divorced, something unheard of in the 30's) had remarried and had no interest in raising her. Her sister took her in and turned her into a nurse for her ailing nephew. Yet, my mother graduated high school and attempted college, although circumstances eventually forced her to quit. My father was one of 9 children- he left home to find a job when he was 16, because there was never enough food in the house. Yet, he graduated high school as well, and went on, without a college degree, to make a good life for us. When people say that we don't understand how terrible some kids have it, I look at what my parents managed to achieve, shake my head, and laugh.

Anonymous said...

I love your perspective so much...and wish that you could replace Klein this minute! Wouldn't it be nice to finally get someone in there who had realistic views about what will help this kids NOW AND in LIFE?? Not every child is going to excel academically, no matter what the educrats in tiny offices want to believe. Give the kids something to feel confident with and to base a future they have a CHANCE!