“It is true that we have an unfair society, and it is true that kids who are coming from the poorer backgrounds and whose parents don’t do a lot of reading are losing reading skills over the summer,” said Peter Gray, research professor of psychology at Boston College. “But let’s look at other solutions.” He added, “Whatever job we give to the school system, they ruin it."
Dear Dr. Gray:
Not to alarm you or anything, but technically? You guys over at Boston College are also part of the education system. So I'll look forward to seeing you breaking and ruining stuff at the next Keith Moon Memorial Party for Teachers.
It's true that in my teaching I haven't been able to conquer the insidious and ever-present effects of institutional racism, poverty, and the general vague disdain for children Americans cherish. I'm not sure what I've been actively ruining, though.
I mean, I did accidentally drop a child-created clay sculpture last year. Is that what you're talking about? Because it was an accident and I apologized. I guess it's possible that my clumsiness has left an indelible black mark of ruination on the poor artist's soul. I promise I'll be more careful this year.
I admit that teaching is sometimes not that great for my health. The lack of heat in my classroom last winter did some nerve damage to my fingers. I wouldn't have said that they were ruined, though. Perhaps you were being hyperbolic?
Or maybe you're just an arrogant research professor who knows you could do my job far better than I do, even though you've never done it yourself. I mean, it's just a bunch of women - and union members - in our schools. We can't be the brightest bulbs. Certainly we have nothing on a research professor at Boston College.
I did take a look at your blog and I see you're a big believer in less test prep and more play. Hey, me too! Children - even adults - need plenty of free play and exercise for health, happiness, social development, emotional awareness, and just plain fun. Not to mention that the better core strength and eye-tracking skills play develops really helps kids read - I make sure my students get free play and exercise every day. But since I'm out ruining kids, maybe I should give that up? I'd hate to ruin their play, too.
Anyway, I'm sure you have a busy day of blogging and opining ahead. Me, I really need to wrap this letter up - it's heavy lifting day to get my classroom ready to ruin this year's class of eager young people. At least I'll have plenty of help from the reduced funding, new vermin infestation, recent community violence, and the ongoing effort to save our schools by demoralizing our teachers.
Yours in Ruination,