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From the racket in that place, one would think never has a stage been graced by such pure genius

Contributed By:Dorothy Nevils

Graduation: The pomp, the circumstance

Well, it’s June, and that means a time for celebrating. Gyms are packed all across the region. Proud ‘n’ loud relatives scream as their very special grad mounts the steps, shakes the hand of the DoP (dispenser of diplomas), and does a much-practiced stroll across the platform, flashing a grin at the area from whence comes the loudest noise.

From the racket in that place, one would think never has a stage been graced by such pure genius as strutteth forth this night! Never has a child completed such a difficult journey as the one attested to, at any time in history, as has been completed this night! Feet stomp the floor, seats give up their occupants, and a full army of the proudest to be found scream in unison that Rayvonte or De’Shell or Ma’Lik has achieved an all but impossibility and heads back to a hard-as-a-rock metal chair and sneaks a peek inside the padded folder: Yes! the paper’s there!

Graduation from high school used to be truly a big deal a while back, especially for those whose parents had come, or been brought, from other lands. Here, give or take a few generations, their children, especially if they managed to “assimilate,” would be the first of their family to graduate! Here they would have a better life. That was the dream. That was the expectation.

Until a few years ago, America was tops in education – not graduation, “education.” Now, depending on what study you read, and what specific disciplines are used, you’ll find America ranking anywhere between seventh and 37th. That’s a tumble, and that’s troubling. All kinds of reasons are given, but let’s peek at one scenario.

What really goes on in, for example a 10th grade writing class? The teacher goes through examples, terminology, etc., of how to put together a paragraph, including names and examples of the components, then wades through sample writings, identifying the parts that come together in the end.

Then it’s the student’s turn to “build” his or her own three paragraphs, stacking them between an introduction and conclusion. They give the teacher their efforts – all 20-25 or more students’ paragraphs … X 3… plus intro and conclusion… for all five of the teacher’s classes! How long will it take to get the results back to the students?

Do the math and you end up with, say, 3 (paragraphs) X 20-25 (number of students/class) X 5 (the number of classes) paragraphs – plus intro and conclusion X total students. The next day, all 100 (or more) students want their papers back! Add to that the reality that the teacher must continue teaching until the stale stack of paragraphs are read, revisions suggested, etc., for the remainder of the week!

Depending on the school, after all the yelping, the students that most need to study the papers the teacher has pored over every night (while preparing for the next days’ learning menu) are the first to the waste can! Now, they have to be taught again!

There is not enough money allocated for education to allow the reservoir of teachers needed to teach students who spend the bulk of their time on everything but learning! In other countries, the ones that have surpassed us, learning is darn near close to sacred! It is not the teacher that must toil all night. Learning is the learner’s task: Sacrifices belong to the learner!

The noise made in the gym must be shifted to the home! Parents need to get serious about learning: The dining room table needs to be cleared, the gadgets banished for hours or days, depending on the difficulty of learning, and the parents need to be on guard duty beginning when the child is young, and continuing until graduation day; for, until we get serious about the “teach + learn” formula, the US will continue to slip!

Story Posted:06/09/2017

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