Monday, June 05, 2006

Schools Heart Racism

My high school made a Republican out of me. I was reminded of this fact when I read that the Supreme Court will make a decision as to whether it is constitutional to assign students to schools based upon their race (yeah, you read that right).

When my mother and I moved up to Minnesota for 9th grade, my brother recommended me to Richfield High School, a nightmare of a school that heartily embraces every new-agey educational fad our idiotic education bureaucrats come up with.

At any rate, for the first few weeks of the school year, my mom and I lived with my brother while we searched for an apartment. So, where would I go. No problem... Minnesota practices school choice, where students may choose the public school to which they attend. Or so we thought.

You see, Richfield did not allow white students to enter their school. You know, quotas and all. Further, they did not allow students of color TO LEAVE...

The problem was presented as this. Minneapolis schools were worried that black students would opt to attend Minneapolis schools, and that white people would opt out. Richfield High, embracer of hair-brained schemes that it was, dutifully complied. So, in order to attend Richfield, we had to sign a lease stating that we would move into the district within one month.

At the time, I saw this as blatant racism, and I blamed it the bid bad, racist, Republicans. Imagine my shock when I came to realize that this was the Democrats idea, and that pretty much every other malady I experienced was the result of action taken by that party.

Of course, there were plenty of problems with Richfield High that became apparent when I got there. The school scrapped their honors program in 9th grade science in favor bureaucratic, "outcome-based education" program, the first month of which was spent teaching us the tenets of outcome-based education. The remainder of the course taught us ways to "get active" to encourage our Senators to care about the environment, sex-ed (I went through sex-ed 5 times between the ages of 9 and 15. I have no idea who started World War I, but I could draw 17 types of sexually acquired warts from memory) and, of course, evolution. Yes, that was it...

During my sophomore year, my school proudly accepted funds to become a pilot for the brand new "Profiles of Learning" program. Basically, instead of spending our day, sitting around and learning stuff, we did little projects for hypothetical, androgynously named bosses. For instance, we spent about ten weeks or so during Trigonometry class making spreadsheets. In the process, I learned many valuable skills, like how to copy some other kid's data into my own document.

And so on and so forth. Needless to say, spending for years in a liberal prison was enough to have me yelling "dittos, Rush!" For the next several years.

So now, our Supreme Court debates the question of whether it's cool to pick kids based on their race.



Anonymous peter said...

Profiles of Learning was a total disaster, hated even by most teachers. Now, however, many in the education field have whitewashed their memories and decided that Profiles of Learning was beloved and awesome, in reaction to the No Child Left Behind plan.

And incidentally, World War I was started by combination of Serbian nationalists and kraut bastards.

1:04 PM  
Anonymous Thom said...

Everyone knows WWI was started by Albert Einstein-inventor of Twizzlers. Just as WWII was started by the Red Skull.

Man...Richfield sure changed after I left, but I was a pushy Conservative Republican (Rush Limbaugh Lovin') Zealot back then.

2:17 PM  
Blogger Kevin Sawyer said...

When did you go?

One of my favorite "Profiles of Learning" projects was for Calculus. We had to produce a recommnedation for the shape of a canister to hold a beverage. The original version said our boss' name as John. A later version revised it to Pat.
I told my teacher I still thought of my boss as a man.

Part of our grade was based on creativity. Cause, you know, in most engineering positions, that same person who devises the master plan for the package is also responsible for the look of the packaging.

2:27 PM  
Blogger Christine said...

Hey, I went to Richfield High School too. I just wanted to back you up - I don't have any idea who started World War I either, nor World War II. I'd name other things I wasn't taught, but I don't know what they are.

I went to the capital in 10th grade and showed Jesse Ventura my crappy posterboard "profile of learning" project once - it was some water irrigation system I'd made up for Africa.

The English Department, however, was extensive.

2:31 PM  
Blogger Kevin Sawyer said...

So, you mean, Africa never used your irrigation system idea? Huh...

Yeah, they were BIG on posterboards... They liked to infuse art into projects for no reason.

What is Africa, anyway?

3:19 PM  
Anonymous Thom said...

I went there from 1986-1990. I don't recall participating in profiles of learning. And when my instructor taught evolution, he also taught all the other theories of creation. Heck, the same instructor even told kids if you really want to avoid pregnancy and disease, you should abstain.

3:34 PM  
Blogger Kevin Sawyer said...

Richfield was known as a good school in the 1980s. In '91 or '92 they first adopted some weird system, which was predominantly phased out before I got there, where they replaced classroom hours with things called "mods". Then, in 1993, they embraced Outcome-Based Education, scrapping some of their AP and honors courses in the process. POL wasn't around until 94-95.

4:13 PM  
Blogger That One Dude said...

Its hard to image that there is anything out there that at one time could rival "No Child Left Behind" (aka No Ambition Left To Find). I never had spelling growing up. Spelling classes were in the middle schools and when I went to the middle school they switched it to elementary. The word parallel and I are sworn enemies. I got my eye on you paralell. You and your fancy birage of L's.

6:06 PM  
Anonymous Thom said...

Oh yeah...I remember they were just starting to implement mods in my senior year. That's why I had to kill some people at the graduation ceremony.

Yeah...mods...*that* was the reason.

7:31 AM  
Blogger Kevin Sawyer said...


It looks as though the word 'barrage' might be looking to pick a fight as well.


What else do the "mods" tell you to do?

10:31 AM  
Anonymous Thom said...

Watch marathons of 8 Simple Rules For Dating My Teenage Daughter (only the episodes with David Spade). That and to wear a tuxedo made from the pages of the Da Vinci Code.

11:19 AM  
Anonymous Sarah said...

I'm with you Dude. "parallel" is what got me kicked out of some regional spelling bee I was in.

I'm fortunate to have graduated from a St. Paul inner city school, where honors were awarded to pretty much any one who spoke english, and POL was just barely beginning to infiltrate the school.

All I remember from high school is Thermal inversions, cooking, ceramics, and of course- choir seeing as how I spent at least half of my day in the choir room or on stage.

5:25 PM  
Anonymous Clint said...

We could have avoided that whole mess if you guys would have just handed in your damn posterboards on time.

8:36 AM  
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2:49 AM  

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