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Not an easy ride at school

Posted: July 12, 2012 4:56 p.m.
Updated: July 13, 2012 5:00 a.m.

A recent study released by a Washington think tank says school is too easy for most kids in the United States, failing to challenge them and leaving them bored.

The Center for American Progress analyzed all sorts of data and concluded that “the broad swath of American students are not as engaged as much in their schoolwork” because they find the curriculum too easy.

That might be true, but judging from the way students wear their pants low, their hats backwards and say “like” and “ you know” every three or four words, some people might doubt that we’re raising a generation of Einsteins.

I’m certainly not prepared to judge.  School was always a struggle for me, even in the first grade.

Back then there was no kindergarten or pre-school programs. Moms just dropped their kids off on the designated day and suddenly they were in first grade. There wasn’t a single “My child is an honor roll student and a great kid” bumper sticker to be seen. It wasn’t such a touchy-feely world back then.

After a few weeks, when my first report card came out and was filled with all sorts of lousy grades and comments from the teacher, my mother, dismayed by my performance, requested what used to be called a “parent-teacher conference.”

“Mrs. Tucker, I’m afraid little Glenn is just not very bright,” said my teacher, Mrs. Campbell.

Teachers were more blunt back then than they are now.

My mother replied, “I want a second opinion,” and Mrs. Campbell replied, “OK, he’s ugly, too.”

Not really, but almost.

Things never got much better for me in school. I got called to the principal’s office the first time when I was in second grade when, after the school’s Good Friday Easter Egg hunt, I threw all my hard-boiled eggs at the teachers’ cars in the parking lot.

The next year, at the ripe age of 8, I pulled the fire alarm and got caught. I guess it’s a good thing I never decided to rob banks, because I would probably have picked one that was next to a police station.

When I was in the sixth grade, my mother was at school on another parent-teacher conference -- these were pretty regular affairs  for her -- and instructed me to sit in the car while she talked to Mrs. Horton about my latest problems.

The key was in the car, and hey, it seemed like a pretty good idea to have my first drive around the block.

That didn’t turn out too well. I won’t bore you with details.

From there through high school, my academic career scooted even further downhill.

You remember that algebra question that went “One train leaves Chicago for New York at 9 a.m. going 60 miles an hour and another leaves at 10:15 going 77 miles an hour. At what point will the second train catch the first one?”

My answer was, “You should have taken a plane in the first place,” which didn’t impress my teacher and earned me yet another “you need to improve your attitude” speech.

Anyway, they finally let me out of high school, probably because so many teachers told the principal they wouldn’t be back if I was.

So school was certainly not easy for me. I did, however, wear my pants high and my hat facing forward.

Trains meet. I would have taken the plane and been there a lot sooner.


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