Monday, April 15, 2013

What's better for children: milk or magnetism?

Here's the Mission Statement from my recently rebuilt grade school:

"Davis Street Arts and Academics Interdistrict Magnet School develops reflective programs that foster a child’s ethical, psycho-social, physical and intellectual development through explicit instruction and collaboration within a professional learning community. The school nurtures a student’s capacity to think strategically and critically in preparation for leadership and optimal success in our global society. Together, as a collective community of leaders, we strive to deepen our commitment to social values such as kindness, responsibility and respect for others."

We didn't have magnetic schools with reflective programs and mission statements back in the 50s, and kids were not part of the community of leaders. We did, however, have mid-morning milk-and-graham-cracker breaks, and dodge ball.

Back then kids got punished for verbalizing their critical thinking. So, despite the edu-babble, maybe there has been progress. 

I can still name the six teachers I had from 1952 through 1958: Gold, Nuht, Solomon, Dickstein, McGarthy, Quinn. Two were wonderful. Two were sadists. One was too easy. One was ignorant. That blend did not foster my psycho-social or intellectual development, but maybe being exposed to a mixture of people in power prepared me for life after school. I hope there are no sadists teaching now.

- - - - - - - - 

And now, a true and disgusting story from that school:

Wendy sat next to me in first grade, where she once dropped a milk bottle. It smashed on the floor at our feet, and then she peed into the milk puddle.
I got even in third grade when I was drinking milk in class. I started laughing at something, and sneezed milk at Wendy. 

- - from my Stories I'd Tell My Children (but maybe not until they're adults)Available in hardcover, paperback and ebook formats.

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