Facts, figures and formulas
Los Osos, Calif.
School sure has changed since I went. Back in the 50s and 60s, when I was terrorizing teachers, about the biggest thing we had to worry about were pop quizzes and being sent to the principal for running in the halls. Sadly, today kids have to worry about getting shot in the halls or popped in the classroom.
I can honestly say that until I reached high school I can never remember taking home a book to study. All you needed was a binder full of paper and a pencil. Now I see kindergartners with bulging backpacks filled with books and all their worldly possessions.
Even though I was good at it, I hated school and was saved by vocational agriculture and the FFA, although the principal tried to talk my mother out of letting me take “vocational” classes because it wasn’t “college prep” and was beneath me. Our ag department was a long walk from the main campus and we were looked down upon because we learned such pedestrian skills as welding and how to dress out a lamb. When I proudly wore my FFA jacket to school every Monday we were laughed at and called “farmer” which was used as a derisive word. Now I see FFA judging teams, speakers and reciters of the FFA creed featured on the front page of local newspapers and FFA is finally being rightly recognized as the best educational organization for young folks in America. It certainly served me well as I’ve never been out of work in my adult life.
When I was a student, teachers attempted to cram all sorts of facts, figures and formulas into our tiny brains which we were expected to regurgitate back to them on true/false and multiple choice tests. Immediately after the test you did a brain dump and forgot everything you just “learned.” It was a stupid way to be educated as I can’t remember being asked to do anything creative or do any critical thinking. The people who got the best grades had the best memories and weren’t necessarily the smartest kids in the class.
Now we have gone overboard in the other direction and just like when I went to school, kids are getting high school diplomas who barely know how to read or write. And the tests they take are much different. Instead of regurgitating back facts, figures and formulas typical questions on today’s tests might include:
1. What is the proper spelling of the word “cafeteria?” You may use your smart phone and Wikipedia to help you find the answer.
2. If you have 500 Facebook friends and your sister has 700 Facebook friends but you have 300 more You Tube subscribers but 100 less Instagram followers who is more important?
3. In a 12 word essay discuss the difference between hip hop and rap.
4. Typing with your thumbs, how many words that aren’t really words can you type in one minute? Hint: R, U, LOL.
5. What would you do if you saw an endangered animal eating an endangered plant? Briefly discuss how the plant might feel. Alternative question: Is it vegan for vegetarians to eat animal crackers?
6. Explain why ripped and faded jeans are worth way more than brand new ones.
7. Four out of five people have trouble with fractions. Circle the number 4.
8. Draw the first tattoo you ever got and explain its meaning.
9. Explain how you feel when adults keep asking you how you eat with a metal ball stud attached to your tongue, or how you feel when your grandmother keeps staring at your green and orange hair or lip jewelry and says, “Back when I was a kid… blah, blah, blah.”
10. If a bisexual marries a transexual who mows the lawn and who washes the dishes?
Extra credit: Name the president of the U.S. If you can name the vice president CONGRATULATIONS, you will automatically receive your high school diploma.
Note to students: There really are no wrong answers and grades will not be assigned because it might hurt someone’s feelings and destroy their self esteem. ❖