Posted On: Friday - November 20th 2020 10:14AM MST
In Topics:   US Police State  Curmudgeonry  Educational Stupidity
In a comment of mine under The Principal is no longer my Pal, I stated how unbelievably different the school environment is now compared to when I went to school. I don't want to pin things down, but it was quite some time ago in a fairly small school, kind of like this, but not:
There always have been ways to give kids the schooling they need without these ridiculous budgets that cost taxpayers $10,000 yearly per kid or parents directly $20,000 per year. The school I attended was a lean mean, learning (most of the time) machine. There was only one paid employee besides the couple of janitors that did not teach. The assistant principal taught class, and the sports coaches taught class, though with the latter, most did not do a great job at the teaching.
There was no attendance committee that would set up laptops in would-be deposition rooms for those who missed 3 days due to illness in a row but didn't email the right person. There was no "school resource officer", a cop, to put it in English. This is in an elementary school in a GOOD neighborhood, mind you! For the last couple of years, it was a nice lady, a foreigner from Brazil, you know, doing the school resource officering that Americans just won't do, but still a uniformed cop no less. She, and this year it's a guy, who helps direct kids in the crossings in the morning, another job that American 5th graders just won't do, had an office. I think they stay there the whole day. We had a cop come to the school maybe once a year, and this was when some teenager OD'd on valium or something, best I can recall, or some kid was in serious trouble and needed to go downtown.
Yes, 1/2 the juniors and seniors smoked pot in their cars in the parking lot in the morning, but that was off the school grounds (sort of) and apparently nobody's business. No, I did not participate, and I'm glad my parents were so conservative that I wouldn't have thought of it (nor known what the heck the valium business was even about). I was not one of those cool kids, yet that was better than the one guy, Steve. He wanted to be one of the cool kids, so he let the others know how high he had gotten from the one doobie ... that the cool kids had secretly made out of pencil shavings. Who knew pencil shavings were so potent? There's a way to cut your allowance money expenditures in half!
Sure, we flew burning paper airplanes out the window, and the French teachers only lasted 2 years max (that was something I've always felt bad about). Yes, there was one grade, I'm guessing 9th, in which every time a student opened the book up to the page requested, there was a penis drawn across it. There's no getting away from that stuff...
It was no learning utopia. We just didn't make a big deal out of anything. Yes, there was detention, but we didn't call the specialized room the RTC (the Responsible Thinking Center, I shit you not)*. It was simply the little room next to your Pal's office. For a while there, a suspension meant being sent home, with zeros given as grades for any tests missed. That was too sweet a deal, so they changed it to where you had to stay at school.
It was just a freer world, that's all. It's the electronics mostly, that are the problem, but the US Police State attitude has been a part of Big Ed, at least the government-run sector, since that time.
I can remember walking home from school out in this semi-rural area, after I'd found a good short cut. I had to avoid a few cows and get over some barbed wire, and then I was clear of all sight of the school and any other man-made structures for 1/2 mile or so. At that point, I was really alone, in a good way, and in a way that maybe nobody can be anymore, even out in the high Sierras. Nobody had his virtual eyes or ears on me. It was just me and my thoughts under God.
I've had thoughts that the electronic world that watches us is quite the opposite of God. I think the book We Will Harmonize You, though it's about China, has scared the BeJesus out of me.
What a completely different world it was!
* I wonder sometimes if the RTC isn't used as a teacher's lounge when all the kids have been good, perhaps to smoke a doobie or two with the school resource officer. When it comes to obtaining some of that wacky tobaccy, some of these officers can be pretty resourceful... just sayin' ...