Schools in: Put yourself to the learning-experience test
BY FRANK WOOTEN
Get out a No. 2 pencil.
Put away your books, calculators, smartphones and lunch boxes.
Now take the following back-to-school pop quiz. Choose any or all of the multiple-choice answers.
And keep your eyes on your own paper.
1. The No. 1 reason for “failing” public schools is:
a) insufficient funding; b) inept teachers; c) stupid kids; d) educationally neglectful parents.
2. Most teachers teach because:
a) they can’t get a job doing anything else; b) they enjoy taking the blame for how stupid so many kids and how educationally neglectful so many parents are; c) they treasure that priceless moment when they can turn a kid on to the joy of learning; d) they can make big money in the teaching racket.
3. Promoting students who can’t read at the fourth-grade level into the fifth grade — and even into the ninth grade and above — is:
a) a widespread “social promotion” practice in S.C. public schools; b) a wise way to avoid hurting struggling students’ feelings; c) a disgraceful disservice to all students — and teachers.
4. The revived public-education focus on literacy, in and beyond Charleston County, is:
a) a belated admission of the obvious; b) a re-confirmation that students who can’t read at the fourth-grade level should not be promoted beyond the fourth grade.
5. One sixth-grade student got to and from St. Andrews Elementary during the 1964-65 school year by:
a) walking 10 miles in the snow; b) hitchhiking 3 miles on Savannah Highway; c) driving a car.
6. The steep climb in the ranks of public-school administrators over the last few decades reveals:
a) too many education-establishment chiefs and not enough classroom-teacher Indians; b) too much regulatory paperwork; c) a blatant waste of taxpayer money.
7. The modern trend of reducing, or even eliminating, recess time in public schools:
a) cruelly deprives children of a chance to burn off excess energy (and pounds); b) stems in part from the mistaken notion that all school work and no school play will produce smarter boys and girls; c) stems in part from overwrought fears of schoolyard scraps; d) makes old folks glad they grew up way back when kids weren’t cooped up in classrooms throughout the school day.
8. Charter schools and voucher programs are:
a) part of a conspiracy to destroy public education; b) part of a rising school-choice tide that fosters educational competition and expands students’ learning opportunities in and beyond the public system; c) bitterly resented, and when possible strongly resisted, by the education establishment.
9. South Carolina’s Program of Alternative Certification for Educators (PACE), which streamlines the process of leaving another career field to become a teacher, is:
a) a reckless venture that subjects students to hapless teaching rookies; b) an easy way for folks who’ve lost their real jobs to climb aboard the teaching gravy train; c) a smart way to bolster the ranks of good teachers with fully capable people — including a former Post and Courier colleague, substitute teacher and pal who makes his full-time sixth-grade English teacher debut tomorrow.
10. The authorities at what was then St. Andrews Junior High School (on the site of the current West Ashley Middle) tried to keep trouble-making boys in line from at least the 1965-66 through ’67-68 school years by:
a) putting them in timeout; b) warning them that if they didn’t stop playing fool and start making better grades they risked never getting into a good college and making a good living; c) beating them with boards.
Extra-credit math question:
11. If you took out an interest-free, $15.9 trillion loan (our national debt as of today), how long would it take to pay it off at $1 billion a month?
a) 15 years; b) 30 years; c) 1,325 years.
Correct answers: 1. d; 2. c; 3. a and c; 4. a and b; 5. c; 6 a, b and c; 7. a, b, c and d; 8. b and c; 9. c; 10. b and c; 11. c.
A fully correct answer earns 10 points. A partially correct answer earns zero points. Any score under 70 points is an “F.”
No, if you flunked, you don’t get to take a re-test.
And yes, your score is going on your permanent record.
Frank Wooten is assistant editor of The Post and Courier. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org.