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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
HAPPY NEW YEAR 2003        Wednesday, January 15 2003 

Jon Kennedy, webmaster Skulls full of mush

(Third in a series on my visit to a local high school.)

If I were a cross-country truck driver (or serving a sentence or any occupation where killing time might be an option) I'd probably still tune in to Rush Limbaugh occasionally, though I've long since lost interest in his brand of conservative entertainment. But there's a ring of truth in one turn of phrase he occasionally uses that I often find myself appropriating. That's his characterization of youngsters—teenagers and young 20-somethings—as "skulls full of mush."

The characterization is not intended (though probably occasionally is taken) as an insult, but simply as a valid observation of what it's like to be less than fully formed intellectually. But I'm applying it to my younger self, not the teen students I recently met. I know in some ways I was "more mature" at 22 than I am now, but despite unlimited confidence in my own intelligence and world-conquering future, I was as green as algae and not much more firmly set (in terms of algae as mush). For example, things I grasped in minutes while on the campus of Lynbrook High School last November were completely beyond my ken in my own high school years and even as the youthful editor of the Nanty Glo Journal, where covering the local schools and their governing entities were major items of the job description.

Those discoveries were among what I described yesterday as a universe with as much drama and as interesting a cast of characters as any medical TV series. Not only is the "public" high school as institution a universe in the sense of a microcosm of the larger culture, public schools more generally are in their own right one of the largest employers and sources of family income in North America and in other first-world countries. Even more important, socio-politically, is the fact that their teachers' association is the largest labor union in the nation and in turn it and its members are a major faction in the Democratic Party, sending more representatives to its national conventions than any other single entity.

As the editor of another newspaper group when school vouchers were the hot issue in California several years back, I wondered aloud why the Catholic church wasn't more vocal in the campaign, as it as a whole seemed to have the most to gain from such a reform. A former Catholic who was also one of the leaders of that movement answered that it was most likely because the average parish has too many public school employees not only in the membership but among their most faithful supporters and leaders,

That, too, had a certain ring of truth about it and my visit to Lynbrook rang that bell again loud and clear. And as a society it occurs to me that our schools are the institution we all share that we love the most and most love to hold in contempt.

—Webmaster Jon Kennedy

 Words to the wise

It don't take a genius to spot a goat in a flock of sheep.

—Will Rogers
Sent by Sally Covolo

Thought for the day

Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.

—Will Rogers
Sent by Sally Covolo

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