Good and bad things about life

by eric

Adults-Only Observations: Five Bad Things and Five Good Things about Life

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121 thoughts on “Good and bad things about life

  1. I know, I was getting a Galt like vibe as well. But, it’s true if you prove someone wrong they will hold it against you.

    No one is ever wrong.

    I would say most, not all. But, it’s also true if you prove someone wrong they will hold it against you.

    Average people will sacrifice every principle and every truth for the sake of security

    If you have a higher tolerance for risk than most people it can be very lucrative.

    Absolutely no one can keep a secret.

    That is absolutely true.

  2. Wow, talk about a tie-in to yesterday’s thread: that first set of things that are wrong sounded *exactly* like the inside of my own head when I was depressed. What a limited and sad view of the world.

  3. Some people are better than others at keeping secrets. My FIL is the worst, which is funny, bc he is a psychologist, so he is duty-bound to keep all his patients’ secrets! Maybe that is why he can’t keep any personal secrets.

    I found a Good Thing to be that *because* most people are really self-centered, they won’t notice if you wear the same thing twice in a week. ;)

  4. “Absolutely no one can keep a secret.”

    Yeah. I’ve learned to live my life by that truth. A few weeks ago I told a “secret” to a relative, but I realized the information I shared will spread.

  5. “I found a Good Thing to be that *because* most people are really self-centered, they won’t notice if you wear the same thing twice in a week. ;)”

    True! Most people are not thinking about me and all the embarrassing things I do.

  6. If you ever wonder why people around you are behaving strangely, or believing and doing seemingly irrational things, you can find the answer by asking the question: what’s in it for them?

    Even if they are acting rationally and behaving normally it’s wise to always keep in mind, what’s in it for them.

  7. I’m w/ LfB – this seems like a dismal view of the world.

    Austin – sorry about your DD#2. It’s tough to see them go through these things.

  8. Maybe I am just really old, but I think all of the bad 5 are more or less true. Sometimes someone will change an opinion, and sometimes you will have an actual champion, and bad 3 puts the rational desire for security in a terrible light, but in general you are responsible for your own path and people act in their own perceived self interest despite evidence to the contrary. But I don’t endorse the good 5 in the form presented. That is where his philosophical bent – a kind of libertarian optimism – comes in. I believe that lack of organized society leads to exploitation and/or anarchy. The good heart and magic community arising from individual action part doesn’t come into play. Whether it is a structured communitarian society or a structured hierarchical society, it is rational for most people to want order and security. The question is at what cost, and whether those who claim they want self reliance actually understand how much they depend on formal civil structure to survive.

  9. “Excellence makes you a target of envy and can often harm your prospects for success. Meritocracy exists, and even prevails, but it is realized through your own initiative, and it is never just granted freely by some individual or institution. No one is consistently and unrelentingly your champion, not even your mom, as much as she loves you. All progress comes about because you alone push through the attempts of everyone around you to stop it.”

    So this could be why I feel like I work in a microscope? That everything I do (good and bad) is counted somewhere? “The man” is really trying to keep me down?

    God that makes me depressed right now… back to work.

  10. “God that makes me depressed right now…”

    Yeah. ITA. That particular quote sounds like my view of the universe as a teenager, before I figured out that some aspects of my personality and behaviors could be off-putting and were standing in my own way. It’s so egotistical — I am awesome, therefore if I fail it is because those who are lesser than me are too stupid to recognize my greatness, and therefore I just need to keep pushing and pushing until I can force them to see the light.

    Not that this can’t happen, of course — I did have one particular job where I was surrounded by small-minded people who were threatened by anyone who was better/smarter/different, and who seemed to take great pleasure in proving to themselves that I wasn’t as smart as they had been led to believe. But good teams, good leaders, are *always* looking to hire people who can do what they can’t, who are smarter, or better, or have a particular skill that fills a gap. So if you do find yourself stuck with a bunch of small-minded ninnies, the best course is just to get the hell out of Dodge, instead of doubling down on the same things that have already failed.

    I would be more inclined to phrase it as: You, and you alone, are primarily responsible for your success or failure. You may have more or fewer obstacles to push through than others; you may run into more or fewer advocates or opponents; but you are the only variable in that equation that you can control. If you are not succeeding to the degree you wish, look first at yourself to identify your own contribution to the situation. And if the problem is truly with the people surrounding you, and you are unable to change the dynamic, find a different environment with different people who better appreciate your talents and better tolerate your weaknesses.

  11. I pride myself on my ability to keep secrets. Some of it is that I’m just enough of a narcissist that I’d rather talk about myself and some of it is that I have a crap memory and I forget stuff that people tell me, but I am a vault. You ask me not to tell and I won’t.

    I also disagree that no one will champion you. Someone will – sometimes you will be surprised at who that turns out to be and THIS mom will ALWAYS champion my kids.

  12. “Under the right conditions, most people are capable of being generous, empathetic, cooperative, and helpful.”

    I think this is true, and would even say, “under MANY conditions.” Think of the way that traffic stops (at least around here) for a mother duck and her ducklings crossing the street. The same drivers who refuse to let you cut in will stop for waterfowl.

  13. “I have a crap memory and I forget stuff that people tell me”

    Uh, but then you might forget that they asked you to keep it a secret. That has happened to me!

    I like LFB’s rephrasing. No doubt that among this list there are some broad generalizations with which I disagree.

  14. I would add some of my own: 6. People can’t change who they are. They can try to keep their crazy on the inside, but that’s about it.

  15. “Excellence makes you a target of envy and can often harm your prospects for success. Meritocracy exists, and even prevails, but it is realized through your own initiative, and it is never just granted freely by some individual or institution. No one is consistently and unrelentingly your champion, not even your mom, as much as she loves you. All progress comes about because you alone push through the attempts of everyone around you to stop it.”

    This keeps cropping up in my thoughts. I think we tend to camouflage some of our excellence to remove the targets from our backs or to reduce how much others feel threatened by us, until we need it to be recalled. For example, even though someone worked very hard, they will attribute it to luck or being in the right place at the right time. I used to hate writing my own performance review, but I soon learned that if my supervisor wrote it on his/her own many of my “accomplishments” were not recalled, which limited the associated pay raise. You have to find multiple champions so someone is always in your corner. Lastly, many people are not directly TRYING to stop you, they are just pushing their own attempts and are getting in your path. I had a friend who saw that everyone was TRYING to keep her down. But, I think most people are too self-centered and it takes too much effort to work at stopping someone else when that effort can be channeled toward their success.

  16. Maybe people can’t change who they are, but, unless they suffer from serious mental illness, they can certainly change what they do.

  17. they can certainly change what they do.

    Certainly? No. Some can try and some can even succeed long term but it’s a battle they have to stay motivated to fight.

  18. I spoke to my hair stylist who pulled her daughter out of school and enrolled her in online school. The girl has struggled in school and I think the mother just wanted her to get her high school graduation certificate. The girl is thinking of going into the services. My hair stylist did the same thing with her son, but in his case the boy went to a military academy for most of high school. He went into the military and is still there three years later. I think it is interesting, all the different paths to independent adulthood

  19. We all have to battle daily in a struggle against our weaknesses. That is just human nature. Those who have undergone profound religious conversions are an obvious example but think of those who changed their behavior after a health scare or brush with the law. AA members. Michael Corleone.

  20. think of those who changed their behavior after a health scare or brush with the law

    It’s a constant battle in which many are defeated.

  21. In childhood, we supposed that everyone around us was well-intentioned, but later discovered otherwise in adulthood.

    This guy must not have had siblings close in age.

  22. From my own life experiences, which were not uniformly bad, but included a greater share of failure/disappointment/trials than was common in my SES cohort (and this also brings up stuff we have recently discussed on other threads), I assumed a combination of life is not fair, people are not kind, and I am not good enough. When all of sudden in middle age life presented me with sustained success and many fewer failures, I didn’t readjust my overall life view, I just accepted that the external randomness factor was a lot greater than most of us like to acknowledge, and as I aged further I began to fine tune the “I am not good enough” to “I made this mistake, I lacked this skill, I later fixed some of that, but nevertheless it was by grace (luck if you prefer that characterization) that I rarely experienced the full consequences.”

  23. Oh, God, the thought of having a psychopathic kid makes my blood run cold. I’d feel obligated to kill it and then myself.

  24. WCE,

    Carl cheerfully admits that the death business appeals to him. As a child, he says, “I had a deep fascination with knives and cutting and killing, so it’s a harmless way to express some level of what you might call morbid curiosity. And I think that morbid curiosity taken to its extreme—that’s the home of the serial killers, okay? So it’s that same energy. But everything in moderation.”

    It’s more or less the plot of the show Dexter.

  25. Only in the past quarter century have researchers zeroed in on the early signs that indicate a child could be the next Ted Bundy.

    Nah, it’s been much longer than that. The triad of bed-wetting, animal torture, and fire-setting has long been known to be indicative of psycopathy.

  26. Yes. But in combination with animal torture and fire-setting.

  27. Ah! Good to know. It makes much more sense for it to just be animal torture and fire-setting.

  28. The Bad Seed came out in 1956.

    “And while adult psychopaths constitute only a tiny fraction of the general population, studies suggest that they commit half of all violent crimes.”

    Wow. Just awful for the parents.

  29. There was a psychopathic kid in my nursery school. We had guinea pigs, and one day he picked on up and threw it to the ground so hard that it died. His mother told my mother, “There are days when I can hardly stand to look at him.” Mom was startled and just tried to keep me away from him. I assume he’s either dead or in prison now, or possibly in Congress.

  30. The premise of the Bad Seed was not that she arose spontaneously, but that the perfect mom’s (she didn’t know she was adopted as a preschooler) bio parent was a female serial killer. Hence the title. The ending of the movie was adjusted for Hollywood standards. (much like the 50s original invasion of the body snatchers, or even in our day Fatal Attraction) In the book and play the kid eliminates everyone who suspects and survives.

  31. “We all have to battle daily in a struggle against our weaknesses. That is just human nature. ”

    I kind of think that is the whole point of our journey. To grow and evolve into our best self.

    On kid psychopaths, I saw a documentary recently about this family with like the youngest schizophrenic child in the country maybe 6 or something and they followed them for years and then their younger son developed it as well. The husband cheated and now basically everything falls on the mom (dad facetimes from Colorado with his new family) and it was one of the most profoundly sad things I had ever seen. It is like watching your child drown in slow motion. Things got better, relatively, but what kind of life will they ever have. Just awful.

  32. In the book and play the kid eliminates everyone who suspects and survives.

    Have you seen The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane?

  33. Hijack…so I don’t think we can take this school system anymore. I’ve been spending the last day and half gathering private high school applications.

    I’d appreciate any feedback or info on what to look for.

  34. Going off-topic but totally appropriate for this group, DD go her first college recruiting mail today (she’s finishing 8th grade next week). It’s the school that was the men’s basketball runner-up two years in a row this decade with a canine mascot located in the capital of a state between Illinois and Ohio. :)

    Butler.

  35. Pseud–ask for a breakdown of AP scores by test. Schools will tell you 90% of their AP scores overall are 4s and 5s, but then you learn that no one has ever gotten above a 2 on the AP French test (or whatever; just be sure they’re getting high scores in the subjects you care about, like Calculus).

  36. Pseud, do you want a local private high school or are you open to on-line education? In my area, I would probably do a combination of on-line high school and community college if the local public high school wasn’t working for academic reasons. I would consider the private Christian high school if the public high school wasn’t working for social reasons. (But I would balance the social advantages of the private Christian high school with the fact that it doesn’t offer AP math/science)

  37. I don’t know if there are any rules about when kids can take CC classes.

  38. How many realistic private school options do you have? Like, ones that are within a 100-mile radius or similar?

  39. Pseudo, I agree with WCE. Don’t limit yourself to conventional local private schools; consider not just local CCs and on-line schools, but perhaps also schools outside your local area, e.g., boarding schools.

    You are probably a bit late in the game (I think my kids’ school application deadline is in the fall), which will probably limit your options at this point. But you can consider a two-step solution, e.g., one solution for freshman year, and another for the remainder of his HS.

    Another option is for him to graduate HS ASAP (e.g., meeting minimum requirements), then going to CC to finish college prep.

  40. Pseudo. Are you thinking boarding school or getting an apt in a town too far for driving to and from school but close enough to get home fairly often. If you are limited to something within driving distance, apply everywhere you can stand the philosophy or religion of the school.. There can’t be very many high schools to choose from. Then pick the least bad one that offers a place at this late date or decide to do home or online school for a year while u wait. If you are considering a fairly wide net, after initial screening do a little Google to figure out the culture. Around here everyone knows which private school is a bad fit if you dont do sports and which is bad if you want a science emphasis.. The Internet increases your neighborhood knowledge. But better schools have already filled their classessment for the fall. A year of home schooling may be necessary.

  41. Googling ‘California online high school’ turns up a number of options too, as you’ve probably already done.

  42. Wow. Grim assortment. Looking at the county kind of up the way, the schools don’t look great. Maybe one of the Catholic schools might be okay.

  43. I know people doing the Oregon version of Connections Academy (online education) who are very happy with it. They consider it “homeschooling plus”, so if I chose it, I would consider myself as my children’s primary teacher. Some parents who homeschool are not knowledgeable about math and this program has really helped their children in math, IMHO

    http://www.connectionsacademy.com/online-school

  44. Butler has a strong pharmacy program and lots of sports, most not at the basketball fever pitch of competitiveness.

  45. Thanks everyone. At present, we are thinking about driving distance. So far, our possibilities are two Christian high schools and a Catholic boys high school. Likely the best academics are at the Catholic school, which is the furthest distance (slightly over 100 mile commute per day) The Christian schools would be about a 60-80 mile round trip. However, there are carpooling opportunities. It is likely that the Catholic school would involve renting an apartment eventually.

    He, and I would like him to be able to go to high school in real life, rather than online. He wants to play sports, and I would really like him to be able to do FFA, which is a very broad, vocational and academic endeavor. At minimum, DH and I want him at a school that wants all the kids to do well. Our toughest kid is getting beat up emotionally at the local public school, we just don’t know that he is strong enough for that environment. Just yesterday, i had another meeting with the school administration where it was pointed out to me that my kids’ education was not a priority. I was reading the comments yesterday about Dr, Phil and I recall him saying that, at some point you need to believe what people say.

    I feel sick about giving up this way. I know that the majority of the families in the school can’t make this decision, and that as more families like mine give up, there will be less pressure/impetus to fix things. But I can’t sacrifice my kids any longer.

  46. The song I recommended for the way home from my mom’s pancreatic cancer appointment

  47. I know that the majority of the families in the school can’t make this decision, and that as more families like mine give up, there will be less pressure/impetus to fix things.

    Recognizing that a systemic problem is made up of many individual decisions doesn’t obligate you, as an individual, to make a decision that’s contrary to the best interests of your family. And you’ve done your part to try to work with and improve the school.

  48. “it was pointed out to me that my kids’ education was not a priority”

    So wrong. Makes me mad ! If you are demanding higher standards it benefits all kids, not only your kids. And every parent has a right to advocate for their kids, including removing them from a no win situation.

  49. Butler has a strong pharmacy program and lots of sports, most not at the basketball fever pitch of competitiveness.

    She has no idea what she wants to major in yet. I just found it interesting they are already sending her stuff, and I’m wondering where they got her name from.

  50. DD, my youngest (7th grade) has been getting mail aimed at high school students, stuff on financing college, a catalog on Yale’s summer residential program for high schoolers (which he was in fact really interested in, but too young) and he hasn’t taken the SAT yet or anything. Maybe some marketing algorithm that pulled up her name and info from another context made a wrong assumption? That’s my best guess.

  51. My DD doesn’t get any college or summer program stuff; but she does get coupons for Bath and Body Works!

  52. Pseudo,

    You mentioned once that if you daughter got a B you needed to find out what mistake she had made or what concept she didn’t fully understand so it could be fixed. Is the issue that the school/your community is a place where getting a B is a sign of a decent effort and certainly nothing that needs to be addressed*?

    * There was a study that compared how working class, middle class and upper class people dealt with a given grade. Working class though anything below a C was an issue, middle class though anything below a B was an issue and the upper class thought anything below an A was an issue.

  53. Rhett,

    The final straw was that the high school will not offer ap calculus next year because the administration and the teacher decided in September that half the students in the precalc class didn’t belong in precalc so they would water down the class. Some of these students wanted to transfer out of the class but were prevented from leaving disrupted the class. They refused to do homework so the teacher slowed down the class to accommodate them. Sometime in feb -march, the administrative and the teacher decided that the class hadn’t made sufficient progress and that the school wouldn’t offer ap calc even though there were a number of students who wanted the class.

    Another parent and I have been in discussions with principal, superintendent and were going to ask the school board to direct the high school to offer ap calc. After some reflection, we realized that even if we prevailed, our kids would get a uncooperative teacher who wanted to prove that our kids shouldn’t take ap calc. Not really a win.

    The conversation yesterday with the principal included the tidbit that, while my daughter could have completed the precalc and been ready for calculus, they had to think about the students who still weren’t competent at multiplying fractions. The students who couldn’t multiply fractions were in the precalc class.

    I quit. I can’t fix this.

    My son wants to be an engineer. He needs math in high school.

  54. Pseudonym,

    Contact the Admissions Director of the schools that you are interested in to see if they have any openings in the Freshman class. Ask if they have a waiting list. Your son may need to take an exam or get recommendations. Can your son “shadow” another student there – this may be difficult at the end of the year. Is there a host family program so that you can talk to a current family at the school. Does the school offer “dual enrollment” with a local community college, if yes, do the instructors come teach at the high school, or do the high school students take courses at the Community College. Does the school have any specialized programs or clubs in your son’s area of interest. What are the requirements to participate? Do they have a list of colleges that their 2016 (or 2017) graduates get into/will attend.? When are sports tryouts? Some tryouts at the public high schools here are in June. Does the school offer summer school? How many students are in each grade, and what is the average class size? Does the school offer different levels of core subjects? How many students take the UC required a-g courses? Does the school offer sufficient courses to meet the minimum requirements of where your DS may apply to college?

    Good Luck!

  55. Pseudonym, of course you are right to prioritize your child’s education. Good luck. I think you’ve received some good advice. A few more ideas.

    Request the school’s profile sheet. It should give you a snapshot of their students — courses, AP enrollment/scores, SAT scores, etc. If a school does not have a profile sheet or declines to give it to you that is also useful information because this is what high schools commonly provide to college admissions departments.

    If you find you must homeschool or supplement as a temporary measure, consider the Well-Trained Mind Academy, which is based on a classical education. I have personal experience with them, and while they’re not perfect I do think they do a good job overall. I noticed some of their math courses incorporate the Art of Problem Solving (AOPS) which iirc has received favorable comments here. Also, I’ve been seeing Connections Academy advertised frequently in some unexpected places and I see that WCE has heard good things about it.
    http://www.wtmacademy.com/?_ga=2.193345643.791876165.1495104426-659092289.1495104423

  56. CofC,

    That could even be better than adult onsies:

    Keeping in mind the concept isn’t new:

  57. Pseudo,

    What a difficult situation. It is sobering to learn how hard you’ve had to push to get services, such as calculus, that many of us simply assume will be provided at our high schools. But you aren’t “giving up.” To the contrary, the school has given up on its students, especially your kids and the others who are seeking challenging courses. You have made a heroic effort on their behalf, but your primary obligation is to your children.

    100 miles is indeed a long round trip, especially if the driver who has to make that trip twice. I hope that you can make it work!

  58. It seems like the school is right. The demographics of your community don’t warrant offering AP Calc. That being the case, it’s either online, a tutor or another school. I would guess that a tutor might be within 100 miles and you don’t need to have a session every day you could have two 1.5 hour sessions, one three hour, etc. per week.

  59. Pseudo, does your kid’s school let kids come a period late or leave early if they have some educational activity that brings their course load up to full time? If there are other kids interested in the AP class, you could find a qualified person to teach it to them outside of school, and the kids take the test. There’s obviously a lot to work out there, but I bet they’d go for it if it was presented as a way to get you out of their hair.

    Is your kid being beaten up metaphorically or physically?

  60. The demographics of your community don’t warrant offering AP Calc.

    That is insulting. The kids are smart enough, hardworking enough, and determined enough to take AP calc This is the first year that AP Calc has not been taught, and it has much more to do with the inability/unwillingness of the school to hire competent teachers and to enforce minimal competence in grouping students. It is not the students fault that the teacher wouldn’t show up to work. Nor is it the fault of the kids who wanted to learn that he listened to the whiners who complained about doing homework and let weeks go by without collecting homework and teaching the material.

    Or are you saying the undocumented students and those who sit next to them are too dumb to learn?

    How prepared your kids to take AP Japanese without instruction? Are they too dumb, or did they just not get the preliminary instruction.

  61. Is your kid being beaten up metaphorically or physically?

    Emotionally. If it was physical, I would have filed police reports and a lawsuit.

  62. Pseudo – Good Luck and do let us know how things are going. The Catholic high school reminds me of the one Scarlett sent her sons to.

  63. If there are other kids interested in the AP class, you could find a qualified person to teach it to them outside of school, and the kids take the test.

    Hmmmm…..you might have something. That might work for my daughter, but since my son hasn’t started, I really don’t want to go through this for four more years.

  64. Or are you saying the undocumented students and those who sit next to them are too dumb to learn?

    No, there just isn’t sufficient interest and as we discussed recently hiring competent teachers in a rural area is a challenge.

    How prepared your kids to take AP Japanese without instruction?

    Is the goal AP Japanese or to learn Japanese? If it was to learn, I would expect more progress via Rosetta than I would with whatever teacher they could rope into teaching it in a rural school district.

  65. No, there just isn’t sufficient interest and as we discussed recently hiring competent teachers in a rural area is a challenge.

    There were more kids signed up for AP Calc than there has been in recent memory. The district decided to put a new teacher in charge of PreCalc. There were parent complaints all year about this guy, but they were ignored. The previous teacher of precalc is still at the school, and while she is not great, she at least got kids ready to take AP Calc.

    The two main changes this year are a) there are no school board relatives signed up to take AP Calc, as in previous years and b) the precalc teacher has expressed dislike and disdain for the kids in the precalc class and doesn’t want to teach them another year.

    We had a fairly large group ready to discuss the issue with the school board, but, we were afraid that all we would win was that the existing precalc teacher would teach AP Calc and retaliate against the kids.

    The interest was here, there is talk of running different people for the school board.

  66. Rhett, stereotype much? There have always been kids, including immigrants, who wanted to do well in school to get ahead in life. To write this group off and assume none of them are in the interested bunch is foolish.

    Pseudo, that sounds like a tough call with your younger. We want them to learn to deal with nonacademic difficulty, which can’t happen if they’re overwhelmed and beaten own by it.

  67. WCE, does your math camp offer the AP class or have connections with summer programs that do?

  68. If only there were vouchers available for pseudonym to use for her son. All her problems would be solved. [/sarcasm]

  69. “The demographics of your community don’t warrant offering AP Calc.”

    Well, that sounds like the soft bigotry of low expectations. And like most expectations, it appears that they became self-fulfilling prophecies.

    Pseudo, I am sorry you are going through this. I agree with the others: do not feel bad for leaving a school that has already made it plain that they do not care about what is best for your kids. You have gone above and beyond to try to fix the problem for everyone; at some point, you have to do what’s best for yourself.

  70. I’ll stick up for Rhett on his comment. Pseudo wrote “the school wouldn’t offer ap calc even though there were a number of students who wanted the class.” I read “a number” as meaning something less than 10, which would make it totally understandable, IMO, that they wouldn’t offer a class for that few students. She has since provided clarification that does make it seem that was a wrong interpretation.

  71. Denver, Pseudo suggested that the admins could be prejudiced against those students; Rhett concurred with them. I hope that was a mistake on his part, by misreading something.

    Pseudo, is your state one where farm kids can get DLs early?

  72. I also agree with Rhett. At the margins, AP classes reflect decisions about numbers of interested/qualified students and the availability of teachers willing to do the additional prep of an AP class. It’s unfortunate that Pseudonym’s district has teacher issues and school board issues that have tipped the scale for now.

    It won’t surprise me if I experience similar issues in a few years, given the call for expanding AP access to interested (not necessarily qualified) students.

  73. WCE – if the class is not offered because every year a quick survey shows interest by only a few students, don’t you think it becomes self fulfilling ? You have to start somewhere get results and then after the first few years gain traction. If you never offer it or stop offering no students will show interest in taking it in the future.

  74. WCE, no disagreement from me on schools offering courses based on numbers of potential students for each. I’m only disagreeing with the casual prediction of which students would not be ready/interested.

  75. That said, our middling school district and my crappy public high school did find ways to offer me individual courses. In grade school, that was working at my own pace from printed materials, sitting in the coatroom or hall. In high school, it was arranged for the French teacher to have a planning period and me to have study hall at the same time, so we could meet for her to teach me a language that wasn’t part of the school’s official offering.

  76. S&M Likewise, my middling, tiny elementary school had no issues with me working ahead in math and reading. Neither did my crappy public high school try to kneecap me, or anyone else who tried. There was of course, the same attitude as depicted in the clip Meme posted, “these kids shouldn’t try because they are just going to fail”, but the attitude wasn’t backed up by destructive action.

  77. A friend of mine relocated to a rural area for her husband’s job. The school choices were either private fundamentalist christian schools or mediocre public schools. Initially her kids were enrolled in a private school but that didn’t work out so she put them in public school and hired foreign language and math tutors for supplemental instruction.

  78. Denver, Pseudo suggested that the admins could be prejudiced against those students; Rhett concurred with them. I hope that was a mistake on his part, by misreading something.

    I didn’t read Rhett’s comment that way at all. I read it as being based on the seemingly low number of students who want to take AP calc. If anything, Pseudo made it seem like the admins are in favor of pushing the kids with her comment that they wouldn’t let kids drop pre-calc.

    I continue to find the internet fascinating in regards to how people can interpret things in completely different ways.

  79. DD,

    I read Rhett comment the same way that S&M did. I suspect that she and I see and experience prejudice based on skin color/last name/expected wealth level more than others on this board.

    As a point of information, the kids who were forced to stay in precalc were seniors who were not going to take AP Calc, nor were they planning on going to four year colleges. The high school implemented a new policy that required seniors to take seven classes; previously those who wanted to could take only five. They had to find a place to put seniors, and they chose precalculus. Why this makes sense? I have no idea, but it essentially wrecked the class.

    The takeaway that finally dawned on me earlier this week was that given a choice between punishing the kids who didn’t want to be in a class and teaching the ones who did, the administration chose to punish the kids who didn’t want to be in class. That was the impetus to find an alternative for my son.

  80. I doubt if the school cares *which* students are ready/interested in a class. Schools care about numbers and finances. At my high school (72 births my freshman year), they chose to offer daycare rather than AP classes that would appeal to only a few students. As Louise notes, it is a self-fulfilling prophecy that few students want to take courses that haven’t been previously offered, but I don’t disagree with the decision to offer daycare rather than BC Calculus. I do not believe the decision was grounded in “the soft bigotry of low expectations”.

  81. Pseudo – i’m wondering if you have considered “independent study”. This is a specific California thing. It involves a certified teacher who supervises the program of study, and I believe it encompasses some of the online academies. From what I can tell, enrolling your child an independent study often comes with a budget of money that you can spend on curriculum or tutors. I bring it up because a student enrolled in independent study is still eligible to fully participate in the local school’s extracurricular activities. It’s a big thing to decide to leave your school, and I applaud you. However, there are many ways to crack this nut, and I would make sure you understand all of your “alternative” options before jumping ship.

  82. Tangentially, I love the little bit that I have seen of Apos. It’s not cheap at all, especially if you have the live classes, but much cheaper than private school. We are currently working through beast Academy, which is their program for younger students. In the few months we have been doing “beast math and it’s not cheap at all, especially if you have the live classes, but much cheaper than private school. We are currently working through beast Academy, which is their program for younger students. In the few months we have been doing “beast math” it has totally changed my child’s opinion and enthusiasm for math. There are comic books that explain concepts, and workbooks to reinforce them. It takes elementary concepts and keeps doing with them until they get surprisingly hard. My child has such pride in occasionally getting “two star” problems correct without help, which is a totally different attitude then we used to have about math.

  83. Thanks Pseudo, I was beginning to wonder if I was pushing your paraphrase of school talking to “undocumented” (DD, this time that’s a quote, from the post that started this) too far.

    WCE self-fulfilling prophecy and soft bigotry of low expectations are six of one and half a dozen of the other, are they not? People do what they think is expected of them, even when the bar is set very low.

  84. If people do what is expected of them, why did some people in the precalc class choose to perform and some choose not to perform? I think the administration’s decision to put students with no interest in performing in the class and then (I’ll guess) to refuse to let the teacher transfer out the non-performers in the first month as the primary cause of the situation.

    I think it’s far more common that issues outside school (lack of stable home life, lack of parental education/supervision,not valuing education, lack of academic interest/skill) affect student performance than that the primary cause of nonperformance is “low expectations”.

  85. If people do what is expected of them, why did some people in the precalc class choose to perform and some choose not to perform?

    If this is a real question….

    At least two of the seniors had self identified as class clowns. At least one of those has a fairly severe case of dyslexia, mostly untreated because his parents don’t like to make waves. Those two had long since given up attempting academic success (like since elementary school), but were smart enough, rich enough, to be moved along regularly. Those boys have known for a long time that they will never really have to work.Basically, spoiled little princes. They didn’t want to be in class, they didn’t like being in a class weren’t success and had long since figured out how to keep any class from moving forward. The principal wanted to teach them a lesson, using the other kids as cannon fodder.

    Those boys are not the ones whose primary cause of nonperformance is “low expectations” .

    One kid, who is a friend of my daughter, has worthless parents. They live in a half remodeled run down home, strewn with trash. She was injured playing sports, needed surgery, and the parents wouldn’t take her to physical therapy. The parents cannot/will not advocate for her. She is a year behind my daughter and DDs other friends because, when DD’s friends parents and I went to the school board so that our then freshmen would be placed in the appropriate class, her parents didn’t come and she was placed in the remedial class. This kid is doing everything a 16 year old can, but she is hampered because of the “low expectations” class based in this case, but still bigotry.

  86. WCE, who are you describing in your parenthetical statement? And are you going to get around to explaining what you meant by differentiating between those two phrases?

  87. It was a real question. It seems like we agree that “low expectations by the parents” is a significant factor in the situation, because if parents and/or students don’t act, the school doesn’t care.

  88. S&M, I didn’t mean to differentiate between the two phrases. My point is that such decisions are financial, unaffected by any interest in social justice, race or family background.

    If the teachers show up and no one gets killed, the school is doing its job.

  89. It was a real question. It seems like we agree that “low expectations by the parents” is a significant factor in the situation, because if parents and/or students don’t act, the school doesn’t care.

    The ironic thing was, the troublemakers and their parents wanted them out of the class. The principal wanted to make a point.

  90. If the teachers show up and no one gets killed, the school is doing its job

    And by that standard, since one of the other issues was that the teacher wasn’t showing up, the school wasn’t doing its job.

  91. Pseudo, those examples are pretty much what I would have made up, but more stark and more illustrative. Awesome that you point them out, awful that the disparity exists!

  92. WCE, you interjected your comments into a discussion of the way that undocumented students are treated. And this is obviously not simply a financial question. We all know that the teacher makes a huge difference in kids’ performance, expectations of themselves, and self-worth. It is entirely possible to discourage a bunch of kids from taking “tough” classes by insinuating that they aren’t good enough. And then they can back up their decision by pointing to the numbers. I’m sure there is a fancy Latin phrase for this, causing something to happen and then blaming it for your decision.

  93. Thanks Pseudo, I was beginning to wonder if I was pushing your paraphrase of school talking to “undocumented” (DD, this time that’s a quote, from the post that started this) too far.

    The post that started this was at 11:19 p.m. yesterday. Rhett’s post was at 6:38 a.m. Undocumented wasn’t mentioned until her response at 7:54 a.m. Obviously having all the extra context changes the interpretation of the initial post significantly.

    I read Rhett comment the same way that S&M did. I suspect that she and I see and experience prejudice based on skin color/last name/expected wealth level more than others on this board.

    I’m sure that probably is a factor as well .

  94. DD, he made a statement about the demographics of her kids’ school and she replied by asking whether he was referring to kids who are undocumented. His reply sounded like he was, and I double-checked that (but he never replied). And yes, I agree with you that repeated exposure to something irl makes it easier to pick out in writing. Here is a related article; simply being aware of one’s own biases changes action more than all those workshops lecturing people. https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2017/05/unconscious-bias-training/525405/?utm_source=atlfb

  95. S&M, the first mention of the word “undocumented” on this thread was in Pseudo’s 7:54 a.m. post.

  96. And yes, I agree with you that repeated exposure to something irl makes it easier to pick out in writing

    Of course there has to be something in the writing that at least alludes to it. I didn’t see anything in any of her initial postings that alluded to any kind of possible bias at all.

  97. DD, my reaction was to Rhett’s comment about demographics, which I took to be mention of “those kind of people”. The kind of people who aren’t sufficiently educated, cultured, or have the right beliefs or skin color to really matter. “Those people” come in all shapes and colors. They are not necessarily people of color, although people of color are often part of the group.

  98. In the same way that Meme can recognize certain ethnic slurs, S&M and I seemed to recognize what Rhett said.

  99. Pseudo, more telling is that he hasn’t made any correction. You thought you heard something and made it explicit, in order to ask him about it, I asked him if that what what he meant. He isn’t interested in disowning that interpretation or he would’ve posted.

    I’d like a coca-cola, please
    You want a kind cobra?
    No, a Coke.

    Isn’t that the way it usually goes?

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