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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
        Friday, January 17 2003 

Jon Kennedy, webmaster School ideals vs. realities

(Fifth in a series inspired by my gig as a guest leacturer last year at a local high school.)

My writing earlier in this series that the public school culture is comparable to life in "a doctor's world" (as some of the TV adverts for becoming a medical technician used to characterize it), had several points worth elaborating. Both medicine and teaching have long hours and require lots of energy and commitment to achieve success, but both have many internal rewards in terms of what used to be called "psychic income." Though education generally pays far less, it also requires a smaller investment to become certified.

Though neither profession is for everyone and both require a certain sense of calling to excel in them, for the called, the rewards include, in medicine, opportunities to extend the lifespans or improve the quality of life of many clients; and in education, to save lives in other ways...saving them from dullness, from ignorance, from goal-lessness, whenever a teacher can reach a student on his or her inside. Both professions offer exciting environments to work in; hospitals and clinical practices by having frequent life-or-death situations producing adrenaline rushes, schools because their clients are young minds there, voluntarily or not, to soak up whatever they can get to enhance their future adult lives. It's almost a spiritual thing.

In fact, education is a spiritual thing when you get down to it. This is probably why for many school is a surrogate church. I think it registered in my awareness first with former President Lyndon Johnson. Many of his speeches sounded like sermons the god of which was education and the church the public school. And countless politicians from candidates for lowly local offices to the Presidency wrap themselves in the cloak of education, even if the office their seeking has virtually no legal role to play in education.

A big part of the problem our society has with its schools must stem from this play education gets in the local and national discourse. Every speech that's not specifically sectarian religious seems to raise the expectations, hopes, and belief of its hearers in the educational system. And the system can't bear that much expectation; it's never close enough to the ideal its advocates speak into being.

—Webmaster Jon Kennedy

 Words to the wise

Always drink upstream from the herd.

—Will Rogers
Sent by Sally Covolo

Thought for the day

When you're throwin' your weight around, be ready to have it thrown around by somebody else.

—Will Rogers
Sent by Sally Covolo

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