School Crank

“I know I should just sit on my hands here but it’s been a slow day. Both of my kids graduated from Community and are (or was, in the case of the recent graduate) very successful paper-writers at what I am told is a competitive college.”

I wrote that and posted it to the Ann Arbor school cranks email listserve. I’ve been on that list since it began eight years ago but I hardly every post anything because it’s just about the most contentious listserve on earth. One time people spent about a week bashing Slobodan Milosevic. Yes, that *is* off topic but this listserve was deliberately set up to be a free-for-all and this *is* Ann Arbor. (Y’all can do whatever you want with that. ;-)) The school cranks list is lots of fun but you have to be wearing some pretty heavy duty flame-proof clothing if you decide you want to play. I usually don’t.

Although the list has gone rather dormant in recent years, yesterday it sprang to life when one of the more abrasive participants tried to engage in a little Commie bashing. That’s Community High, not the Communist Party. The claim was that kids who graduate from Commie are not prepared to write acceptable college-level papers. This was misinterpreted from something that happened on the Diane Rehm Show that I can’t even begin to describe.

Say what? Elizabeth: “Moom, I gotta go. I have three 10-page papers to write tonight.” “Moom, I got honors on my SIP.” (huge thesis-like beast) Hmmm. This is a Commie High graduate. Not prepared to write papers? My kids may not be Rhodes Scholars but they are hard-working, conscientious students who get good grades. And despite graduating from Community, they can write papers, fer chrissake. Good ones. Come to think of it, when I got to college so could I, and I graduated from some stoopid ol’ yooper high school. grok GROK!

So I unglued my hands, put on my flameproof suit, and wrote that little reality check, injecting a bit of what I hoped would be interpreted as humour. Held my breath and hit the send button. None of our schools are perfect. They all have the good, the bad, and the ugly. I think there are probably kids in even the “best” high schools who emerge after four years minus the skills to write college-level papers. I don’t know where that woman was coming from. Well actually I think I do but we won’t go there. But she is not gonna let something that ridiculous get by me!

3 Responses to “School Crank”

  1. Webmomster Says:

    so, what happened on Diane Rehm that started up the School Cranks against Commie High??? Was Commie High called out specifically in the show?

  2. Webmomster Says:

    ‘course, then, someone coulda been looking at the commie high front page where:
    “LaTonya will be spilting her time…”
    and made some conclusions from there.


  3. kayak woman Says:

    Diane Rehm: I didn’t listen to the show but the talk was with a guy who wrote a book called “The Homework Myth.” Apparently a girl called in identifying herself as a college student in Ann Arbor. She said that her high school and classes were a joke and she didn’t feel prepared for college. Did not identify her high school. The woman posting to our listserve jumped to the conclusion that it couldn’t have been Pihi or Huron because they are such “wonderful” schools, blah de blah de blah. This is based on her own child’s opinions, as near as I can figure out. As it turns out, according to others who had heard the show, the girl is *probably* a UM student *not* from A2.

    I’ve never been impressed with the spelling abilities of the average school employee in our fair and overeducated city and I think the school websites, many of which are updated by students or volunteers, are pretty bad in general.

    Commie has the usual variety of teachers. One of them is Judith, who is an English teacher to die for. Read, write, and think. Read, write, and think. Rinse and repeat. *If* you are anywhere near college material, you learn to write papers. If not, she does her best!

    I figger that if you could quantify the paper-writing abilities of high school graduates from *any* school, you’d get a continuum of “not ready for college papers” to “ready for college papers.”

    Clearly I have a lot to say about this 😉