Monday, January 21, 2013

FB ~ Education

Prepared by Mary/Zorro

"Kids in Feathertown wouldn't know college-bound from a hole in the ground.  They don't need it for life around here.  College is kind of irrelevant."
Why isn't college important to these people?  Should it be?  Would you say the people of Feathertown respect education?

Why is faith and instinct enough for some people?

When she explained this to Ovid,
"His eyes went wide, as if she'd mentioned they boiled local children alive.   His shock gave her a strange satisfaction she could not have explained.  Insider status, maybe."
Explain her attitude. Yet Dellarobia also believes that "educated people had powers."  What does she mean by this?  How does education empower people?  Can it also blind them?


Bonnie Jacobs said...

I remember a comment my sister-in-law made to me decades ago. "You think everyone should go to college." I thought, No, I don't. I wish you folks who are not interested in learning would stay away so the teacher could focus on the subject instead of keeping you on task. She was only interested in finding a husband (my brother).

Shirley said...

At least your sister-in-law succeeded in her college goals.

I have mixed feelings about the emphasis on college education. Apparently, it used to open more doors than a degree now does. Too many kids now graduate burdened with debt and yet are unable to find jobs in their field of study or even with adequate pay to allow them to be self-sufficient.

Dellarobia had the intelligence and eagerness to learn which many college graduates lack. With these traits, she should be a better job candidate than many grads. It was good to see that these traits were welcomed and that she was given an opportunity to succeed.

It is true that I am looking at the value of college education from the practical side rather than the enrichment aspect of college.

I thought that the horrible learning situations that were described in which sports was the overriding emphasis in the schools was deplorable.

It was interesting though that even though little emphasis was given to even the basics in math, English, and science that the kids in the community were polite. The joy of learning may have been denied them, but at least they had good manners!

I always found it sad that when my kids started kindergarten that the classes seemed full of eager students yet by the end of the second grade or so that the kids had been categorized and the classes no longer had the learning enthusiasts that had begun school. I was glad that my kids were able to escape the hassles of the classroom and enjoy the freedom of homeschooling for a few years.

Zorro said...

This description of the high school teacher really gives me a lot of heartburn. I am so disappointed to read about schools of this caliber, especially in Tennessee, where my granddaughter started to kindergarten this year.

We have worked so hard to raise school standards in Texas over the last 20-30 years. I was hopeful that other states are doing the same. Maybe our author doesn't know what is actually going on in the schools.

Shirley said...

When I read that section in the book, I thought of the comments you'd made earlier about your concerns for your granddaughter in Tennessee, Mary. Have her parents said anything about the specific school that your granddaughter attends? Her teacher? Even if the state's standards aren't as high as they should be, I hope that her school situation is better than the norm.

The summer before my oldest son entered third grade, I heard all kinds of negative things about the teacher he was to have. However, she wound up being a perfect match for him and encouraged him to use his creativity and abilities--she let him write a play for the class in which he not only wrote the play, but directed, and starred in it; she also enjoyed his art and praised the flags that he made for their class for the annual track meet. She did not allow for any bullying which was also a major blessing. However, the same teacher was not a good match for my daughter since her no nonsense approach which worked well for my son made it so that my daughter was afraid that she would miss recess for not getting assisgnments done (never happened and the teacher would not give her reassurance, but my daughter constantly worried about this). The point of this rambling is that it could be that your granddaughter will find a good match.

I do hope that her parents are ones who will provide lots of enrichment for her.

It is sad when our schools do not provide a quality education for our students. I am not impressed with the top heavy administrative staffs that schools tend to have when it would seem that smaller class sizes would have the biggest payoff for students.

Bonnie Jacobs said...

Shirley, Mary's granddaughter lives in a well-to-do suburbn of Chattanooga, where schools may not be perfect, but our schools are ranked higher than Texas, according to As Texas Goes...: How the Lone Star State Hijacked the American Agenda by Gail Collins, published in 2012. Please don't judge my whole state based on a novel about country folks.

Zorro said...

Book review: ‘As Texas Goes .?.?.: How the Lone Star State Hijacked the American Agenda’ by Gail Collins
By Bryan Burrough,June 29, 2012

TO: Super-secret Texas cabal to control America

FROM: Special agent “DFW’’

Gentlemen of Texas:

The moment we have been dreading is upon us. The Collins book is out. It’s called “As Texas Goes . . .”

Now, don’t panic. She doesn’t know everything. Remember, Gail Collins is your classic big-city-Yankee-liberal New York Times columnist. Intelligence sources suggest she may drive a Volvo, and we believe it is highly likely she drinks pinot grigio. She is trying to make the case that conservative Texas politicians are behind pretty much every significant change in American government and education over the past quarter-century or so.
While this is true — heh, heh — I don’t expect anyone will believe her. Remember, we have survived this kind of drive-by before. The first effete Yankee author to “discover’’ Texas was the novelist Edna Ferber, who produced the gaudy “Giant’’ all the way back in 1952. (James Dean in the movie? Remember?) Next came the New Yorker’s John Bainbridge, taking a more thoughtful approach in 1961 with “The Super Americans,’’ followed every few years by some new salad-eater who suddenly realized that Texans are as important as of course we actually are. What is most notable about these endeavors is the authors’ Saul Steinbergian view of America. All of them, Collins included, seem shocked to discover that our great country isn’t actually run by their luncheon friends and private-school buddies. Don’t these people get out?>>>>>>

Zorro said...

Read more here!

Zorro said...

"We have worked so hard to raise school standards in Texas over the last 20-30 years. I was hopeful that other states are doing the same. Maybe our author doesn't know what is actually going on in the schools."

Do fiction writers have a responsibility to their communities to show how things really are?

I wonder how Barbara Kingsolver's neighbors feel about the way they are portrayed?

Do you have any information on that, anyone?

Zorro said...

Bonnie said: " well-to-do suburbn of Chattanooga"

and I see Ooltewah as a middle-class suburb that was rural not too long ago. Boy, is it urban sprawl now!

Shirley said...

Hopefully, Mary's granddaughter's school is much better than the ones described in the book.

After reading about the book on Texas schools, I remember hearing that their size in the marketplace and conservatism had resulted in textbook publishers adapting more conservative approaches than would otherwise be taken. I've also heard that Texas and Oklahoma love their sports to the extreme as well possibly similar to the attitude reflected in FB.

I still think that the education of an individual student is dependent on the teacher he/she has as well as the school.

You do sound like a conscientious grandmother, Mary, and will be willing to do what you can to assist your granddaughter and her parents to ensure that she does receive a quality education.

Zorro said...

Since I am a retired teacher, the state of education for my family and the nation is of utmost importance for me. Because I do not live in Tennessee, I do not know all that I need to know about school finance and educational standards there. I am trying to relate what I read in this book. I do see a connection between Ooltewah, Tennessee, and the rural community in the book.

caboose said...

Our school here in my community, has passed the standards for education through high school. A few other schools in the area did not pass the test a few years back, now they have passed. I went to college back in the “70” and passed state boards. In 1988-89, I returned to the same college following a coma in “89”. I was shocked to see kids who graduated from high school taking the same classes as I was, reading, math (add subtract multiply and divide) and English. Their were foreign students in my English class who requested my help on correct pronunciation of words. Let me say that sure did boost my self worth about who I am God does work in mysterious ways.

Shirley said...

When I read of the bill being introduced in the Kansas legislature for the science curriculum to question the evidence of climate change, I immediately thought of Flight Behavior and of Mary's concern about the quality of education her granddaughter will receive in Tennessee. Sounds like Kansas is trying to give Tennessee some competition on the inferior school system.