F. Scott Fitzgerald said,

"There are no second acts in American lives."

Most people think he was crazy.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Ignorance is, well....something.

I was chatting with a friend, talking about the latino kids in my classroom. I mentioned how difficult it must be for them to transition between Spanish and English and why vocabulary is keeping them from reaching their full potential. I enjoy having them help me with my Spanish and they have taught me the simple phrases that I can use to give instructions. (I've mastered "sit down," but I'm still working on "get your journals.")

My friend mentioned that she would love to learn Spanish, but she'd rather learn Vietnamese, because then she could listen to the conversations of the technicians in her nail salon. Another friend, overhearing the conversation, said "Your nail ladies are Vietnamese? Mine are asian."

How does one respond to that statement?

I know that geography has taken a back seat to "tested" subjects--reading and math--but if we want to keep up with the rest of the globe, we can't ignore geography, science and history. Because we don't want folks to think we are idiots.

My husband has a story about a VP in his office, talking business with a gentleman from Austria. Apparently, after a drink or two, the gentleman suggested the VP take his wife to Vienna for a romantic vacation. The VP replied that he'd love to go to Vienna, as he always wanted to visit Scandanavia.

WTF? Would you want to do business with a group who doesn't even know where your country is? (To add insult to injury, the VP continued to argue, then offered to beat the Austrian up if he didn't admit that Vienna was in a northern European country. That's what REALLY makes this country great, folks!)

Moving to the common core standards (more about this later) is supposed to take care of the heavy emphasis on the multiple-choice reading and math tests, but what it cannot do is teach kids that there are things you just need to know--like knowing where the people with whom you do business are from--simply to keep from looking like an idiot.