Monday, November 19, 2012

Ungrateful Valedictorian

Heather posted the following link:

Valedictorian's Speech (uploaded 5 August 2010)

And she posed this question:Which is more important: school or learning?

I thought that this girl's speech was really improper for the setting, so I posted some remarks.

Also, can't school and learning be synonymous?

My comment: What an ingrate.Two of my children were Valedictorians, and I am certainly glad that they didn't display such arrogancy and self-centeredness. Does public education need reform? Certainly. But her speech was totally out of line and inappropriate for the setting.

Anna: I thought she was wonderful and gave a very well thought out speech that came from her heart! How brave of her to speak her mind and try to make a difference!

Mark: I find it very interesting that this young lady was educated enough to articulate so wittingly and well in a system that she was condemning. Her speech seemed to express a sort of disappointment with a degree of influence from an outside source. Everybody knows that the public school system is an institution designed to educate a wide range of students with varying I.Q.’s., Though not perfect, the public school system has a better track record than home schooling. Yes, there are the occasional exceptions but in general more students by percentage attend Harvard or Princeton after public school than that of home schooling students. Having seven children I have noticed a big change over the years with public school in that they have become more flexible and dynamic in there course study, giving students a wide range of class option as opposed to when I attended. Nothing is perfect, but I think we would have a better chance of finding a teacher in the field of interest at the public school as opposed to home schooling with only two choices, mom or dad. Not to mention the interpersonal skills attained interacting with other classmates and teachers. Just a thought.

Anna: Homeschooling is never limited to two choices. There are no limits to education when homeschooling. The teachers do not have to be living under your roof. They can be acquired by many different avenues. You can go right to a professional in any subject. The education can be tailored to the student, no matter what subject or interest. It's just to difficult to give such an education in a public school setting. Homeschoolers have tons of opportunities to socialize! With their peers and all ages alike in unlimited situations. I had the delight of both styles of education growing up. Just so happens, I was completely bored in high school public education.

My comment: This was a student who attained high academic achievement. I don't care how bright she is, or how well-thought out her speech, or even if she was bored. What a slap in the face to the many teachers over the many years who helped her attain her goal, and I guarantee it was her goal. So essentially she despises herself for "playing the game."

A Valedictorian speech is supposed to be a congratulations to the student body and a bright look to the future. Her speech really missed the mark. Graduation is not the time or the place to voice what you think education's ills are. She sounded like a spoiled brat to me.

Mark, four of my children attended public school, and so did their parents. I have been home schooing our youngest using an on-line public charter school. I think that accountability and structure are vitally important no matter what system is chosen. Also, for our family, the second main advantage to home schooling is to give our child a cutting edge in this ever increasingly competitive world. That definitely means that we excpect her to meet and exceed high standards. Our first reason is so that we have control over our family time and can teach the values that we think are important, and so that she doesn't have hours of homework beyond the school day.

Anna, no matter how many homeschooling families say that their children get plenty of socialization, it is not the same as being in a classroom setting day after day and having the benefit of group discussions and interaction. Teachers are really not there to entertain, but hopefully to teach.

Educational models have really improved. We live in exciting times when there are so many choices. I hope that this girl's poor attitude will not cut her off from any of these choices. If I were on a panel to interview her for scholarships or acceptance into a particular field of study, I would not hestitate to dismiss her readily if she displayed the same cockiness and ingratitude as shown in her speech.

I know that she was trying to embarrass the educators at the school she attended, but she was happy to use them to accomplish her goals. She's young. I'm hoping that gratitude becomes part of her nature and vocabulary in the future. Hard knocks usually offer assistance for that.

Jennifer: Heidi saying "I don't care" says it all...just stop there; you don't have to say anything else, and we got it...thank you for your lack of are the issue I have with most "standardized" people..

My Comment: Jennifer, I care deeply about education. But I will stick by my sentiments that she picked the wrong time and place to express what she did. As for lack of understanding, education would be much better if everyone tried to understand each other more and communicated more appropriately. In the past, there was the network of family, church, and school all working together for a common good. There is distrust at almost every corner now. But posting "my way is better than yours" is never going to help anyone. There are so many avenues to choose from, and as parents we have the right to choose what we think is most appropriate for our children. I'm sorry that you think you know me so well, that you feel to express animosity towards me and call me a part of your labeled group: standardized people.

I certainly do believe in standards. Whether or not you agree with the public school systems standards, I'm hoping you believe in standards, too. They help us set goals and give us direction. There are religious standards; parents set standards for their children; if you are involved in sports, you must follow rules and live up to standards. In the workplace, you must meet standards, or you are out of a job. Standards should be individualized according to a person's ability, certainly. But to take away standards is basically saying, I don't believe in you or your abilities to achieve your goals.

(I was going through my blog and found this draft and decided to publish it after all.)

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