Monday, October 19, 2009

Setting Standards

            Throughout the text I couldn’t help but notice the amount of superstition present as well as the justification for when misfortune occurs.   It seems as though Pangloss has made his career by telling those who will listen that “all is for the best” and therefore unexpected occurrences should essentially be taken with a grain of salt.

            During one of Pangloss’ sessions with Candide, he immediately teaches him this lesson.  Pangloss claims, “there is no effect without a cause” and “things cannot be other than what they are, for since everything was made for a purpose, it follows that everything is made for the best purpose… It follows that those who maintain that all is right talk nonsense; they ought to say that all is for the best.” (20).  After reading these lines the message of them seemed to stick with me.  It seems that in our society this is the message we preach to others in order to have the same positive effect that Pangloss wished for. 

            Last year, I was a substitute teacher.  Some of the schools I was in were at an obvious disadvantage than others.  When actually in the classroom it seemed as though some students had a mindset that they didn’t have to work hard because regardless of how hard they did work it wouldn’t matter.  It seemed as though a great deal of these students lack of effort was based on the notion that they would never amount to anything anyways, because no one in their families had or no one they were friends with had, and so it wouldn’t matter and they were okay with that.

            After talking to a teacher who worked in one of the schools I subbed in I realized that with the “No Child Left Behind” mandate in place universal testing would be in place throughout counties.  Test scores determined how funding would be dispersed; an immediate red flag popped up in my head.  In my opinion if test scores are how they are going to determine the budget than the schools that have lower scores should receive more funding in order to attempt to better the atmosphere or supplies that are available to the students, not the other way around. 

            While spending my time in the copy room at Govan’s one afternoon, I overheard a teacher talking to another about how a mother had moved to Baltimore County yet preferred her son/daughter remain attending Govan’s, a city school, because she had gone there.  The teachers were perplexed as well as angry, they knew that the “blue ribbon county school”, as one of them called it, would be able to provide a better experience than the city school they work for.  Obviously, there are a lot of issues that I do not see in my two hours a week session, however, I will admit that I was guilty of assuming things about the school and when I actually got there I realized every single classroom had a smart board and three classrooms that I have seen have aids for the room that are not paired with a specific child.  With that said, it seems as though the reputation that has been set by city versus county schools has to a degree made success or failure satisfactory amongst the staff as well as the students. 

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