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2002-07-10 - 10:44 a.m.

Bye.

We leave on vacation today to visit my parents in the Far North. Back in a week. I may or may not update while I'm gone, but I will put up LOTS of digital photos when I get back.

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I was in a phone meeting this morning when The Scientist ran past me naked (exiting the shower and heading towards the bedroom) and yelled, "I'm streaking your conference call!" Luckily, I had the phone on mute.

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Marissa wrote something yesterday that I identified with completely. If you were ever one of the "smart kids" in class, go read it. Are you back now? Ok, then.

When I was in high school I testified to the school board that it was a Very Bad Idea to eliminate all high school honors-level and AP classes. The school board actually needed this explained to them. I always thought it was disingenuous that no one seemed to have a problem with varsity-level athletics. Here's a competitive environment, one that separates the best athletes from the merely mediocre. There are constant public rankings (who's a starter, who gets the most game time, who wins the MVP award), fierce competition, more advantages for the students who are good (extra special coaching, popularity, college scholarships), and often tears of disappointment when someone doesn't make the team. But no one has a problem with it. It's just the way things are done. Everyone wants their team to win, therefore they cultivate the best players. End of story. Yet try to bring even a smidgen of this attitude into academic education and all of a sudden the same people are protesting. It's not fair if the smart kids get to take advanced classes. Somehow scholastic achievement (at least in the public schools I went to) was something to be slightly ashamed of while athletic achievement was something to shout to the world. As someone who existed in both worlds (3.99 GPA on a 4.0 scale, varsity letters in two sports) I was always frustrated by that. I was lucky because my parents encouraged my achievements in both realms, but it would have been nice if the school board did too.

That one B that I got? For one quarter of one year in a single class? It was an AP English class. A class taught by a teacher with a PhD in English. A class that I remember to this day as being challenging and interesting. A class that actually taught me something, made me think, helped me prepare for college-level research and analysis, and brought out the best in me as a student.

 

 

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