Thursday, January 31, 2019

Applauding Statistics

I know I haven't posted much lately, but this headline really got me.  The City's graduation rate has climbed but, what does this really mean?  Even the article states that standards have been lowered.  Students are no longer required to take social studies regents as they can opt to take exams in alternate subjects.

Let's face it.  The students graduating today, the ones in this percent increase are, for the most part, not college ready and not ready for careers either.  Their high school career has taught them that they can get away with no work for three years and showing up for a few credit recovery courses in their last year get them through.  They haven't been taught the value of hard work and have no feelings of failing and trying again, only harder.  These students come into college expecting grades to be handed to them again.  Studying and homework doesn't happen. Buying books or using them in a library is a foreign experience they are not prepared to have.  But, when final grades approach, they expect extra credit and chances to make up what they haven't done all semester.  And, while I have no experience with this, I am willing to bet the same thing happens at the job.

I am tired of reading statistics about graduation rates.  I want to see education and standards improving.  I want to see graduates ready for the next stage of their lives.  Only when this happens can graduation rate improvements mean anything.  We have to stop applauding statistics.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019


I worked with some amazing people over the years and unfortunately, in a school as big as Packemin I got to know a small group of them.  I can't blame the size entirely.  I was never totally happy there and preferred being by myself quite a bit of the time.

Now comes retirement.  A small group started going out for monthly lunches. The group of 5 has extended to a group of over 20, or at least that is how many are on the mailing list.  We all don't make every lunch and many have dropped out and are members in name only but the core group keeps coming back every month with a few more additions every couple of months.

The core group, many who barely knew each other before, have connected in a strong way.  We never talk about Packemin.  It is a thing in the distant past for all of us.  I can't even tell you what we talk about but the two hours or so goes quickly and it is an event we all look forward to every month.  We come away with a warm, tingly feeling inside, brought together by an environment that was not always so nice. As we walked out, many made plans to meet sooner than next luncheon for more individual time together.

I would like to give a special shout out here to Ben's Bay Terrace.  They give us plenty of space and time and treat us well.  Today we were given plates of their special latkas while we waited for lunch to be served.