Sunday, August 17, 2008

Letter to a teacher:

This is a letter written by Danny to his teacher. Be sure to read the footnotes. -T.W.

It's Danny Ford! I should be in your class right now, but instead, I'm in sweep*! My ride decided he wanted coffee, so we were a bit late. Sorry about that. I'll definitely be there tomorrow, I promise.

The funny part of all of this: the bureaucracy. The school district claims that its mission is to provide an environment in which students feel safe and academically stimulated. Its number one goal should be to educate young adults, providing them with the necessary tools for future success. Why, then, are these students punished for being late to class?

Disruption my ass. This place is a prison. The objective isn't to educate these students, its to control them. If this school was trying to educate, it would take note of these tardies, and then send them off to class. Instead, it chooses to 'punish' these students by detaining them and robbing them of the day's teachings, which, in turn, sets them further behind than they would be otherwise, adding unnecessary difficulty to an already sketchy system of gleaning information from underpaid, often unqualified teachers.

I'm sitting in a room occupied by roughly thirty kids who couldn't care less. They're trapped in a school system that hates them, trying not to succeed, but to merely get by. The collective goal of 95% of this student population isn't to learn, as it should be, but rather to fly just under the radar: unseen, unnoticed, untaught, undisturbed.

Why does the school we inhabit choose to treat us so inhumanely? Students are seen as products rather than living, breathing entities. We are merely the means to an end. The end being what? A pay check? We are this nations future , and we're being treated by the school administration as a hindrance to society, rather than the future of society.

Is my logic flawed? Am I blind to an underlying purpose? Is there a method to this madness? Society will always neglect its inhabitants, I understand that, but this is a lesson we learn on a daily basis. I'm a respectful, obedient, cheerful Eagle Scout, and I'm treated like a hooligan at most gas stations, restaraunts, groecery stores, street corners, and civic buildings. Must I be treated unjustly and unfairly at school as well? Shouldn't this be a safe haven from the society that surrounds it? Instead, it harbors the hatred, it unwittingly encourages the disobedience, disrespect, and distrust that that it blindly fears.

Bell rang.
Danny Ford.**

*It occurs to me that "sweep" may be an exclusively DVUSD policy. Students not in their respective classrooms by the last chime of the bell are sent to detention for the hour. If this letter didn't make sense to you, the reader, while reading it the first time around... hopefully it does now.

**This letter was sent to my first hour teacher, roughly two weeks into the second semester of my senior year. Additionally, carbon copies were sent to the school principal, the superintendent, every member of the DVUSD Governing Board, and my parents (for funsies). I received no replies.


JScully said...


Now, do us all a favor and WRITE MORE OFTEN!


Chonch Melarki said...

You're assuming that the system of so-called education we have in place is designed to, as its name would imply- educate us.

Look to where it came from, though. Our school system, the patterns it follows and its structure- bells, 30-1 student to teacher ratios and the like- was taken directly from Prussia, which was the world's first country to become a dictatorship in the modern sense of the word. The stated purpose for their school system focused on one thing and one thing only: creating obedient workers.

let's look at the first part: obedience.

We have been taught, since preschool never to question any order given by anyone who is in a position of authority. Asking "why?" is considered being rude, disrespectful and otherwise insubordinate. Our populace's reaction to the tasering (sp) incident at the Obama college speech is a prime example of this obedience. "Well, he shouldn't have spoken out, he shouldn't have asked questions"- statements of that sort are what I heard all over the news and in person with people at school. If you honestly think that his, albeit hostile in essence, questions and statements were cause for having several thousand volts of electricity run into your body, because he 'might' have escalated, then I take it you would be quite comfortable in an Orwellian, 1984-esque state.

The worker part is simple: we learn just enough to operate machinery and do the paperwork. I believe Carlin said this? Here's the video, since he says it better than my incoherent ass can: