It's 5:43am Monday morning and Calvin's tummy hurts.

He's not sick.

It's Monday and he's worked himself up into a tizzy about returning to the classroom.

He understands that there is no real danger.


And that he has no choice in the matter any way.

But he just doesn't want to go to school.

And its making his tummy hurt worrying about it.

And I don't blame him.

If there were any two traits of mine that I did not want him to get, it would be cavity prone teeth, and a complete distaste for public education (or really any large bureaucracy that concerns itself with the lowest common denominator and of which I'm subject to)

And there is no recourse. None. Nada. Zilch.

The only thing bulky organizations do better than small picture incompetancy is aggressively shut down dissension.

Now Taylor, much like his mother, is brilliant at school.

They're like: "Show me the rules and get me a pencil. I'm gonna whip shit up!"

And Calvin, much like his old man, is pathetic at school.

We're like: "Eff your rules. And get your shit outta my face."

Except he doesn't have quite the four letter vocabulary of his pater familias, so he's more like: "My tummy hurts."

I can't blame him.

My tummy would hurt too.

I got this letter regarding the results of his standardized testing. And I'll admit, I was a little disappointed with the scores.

They were average. Like 62nd percentile average.

Which seemed weird to me.

For two reasons.

One, his old man is great at testing. I would fail your class all year and ace the test. That's just how I roll. Do not pester me with daily exercise and nightly dittos.  Give me a goal, and then for the love of god, stay out of my way. And then if you really want to get my attention, show me something cool.

And Two. . .

As tightly wound as he is, Calvin doesn't have a comprehension problem. Okay, maybe I do have to remind him that zombies aren't real, but his understanding of how to navigate and manipulate the world around him is far more advanced than some adults that I know.

Example: He wanted me to do something and I didn't want to do it, so I told him that I didn't know how. Ten minutes later he calls me to the computer and makes me watch a YouTube video on how to do precisely what he had asked me to do. And then informed me that the only reason he can't do it himself is because the drill is too heavy.

I don't think Dick and Jane is too esoteric for him. I think he doesn't care. He actively doesn't care. He painfully doesn't care.

How regressive has the system become that it's already churning out disillusioned 7 year olds?

Goodness me.

And then there's the note at the bottom from his teacher:

"Calvin should read nightly to show more improvement"

Wait . . . did I miss something, Mrs Teacherlady?

Show more improvement?

The boy clearly has both the ability to learn and an insane thirst for knowledge. The only limit to his education is the education itself.

Do you not see what I see? Or can you not?

And the answer is: She can't.

With 32 children and a standardized program that is paced for the 50th percentile, there is no depth to her ability to instruct, only chaos management. And because she herself is a successful byproduct of such a system, not only does it have her trust, she doubtlessly lacks the intellectual pessimism that would lead her to question the rules in the first place. And even if she could recognize its fallibility, what exactly could she do to make it all better?

The world runs on the blood and sweat of the 50%. She's not paid to polish gems, she's paid to quarry stone.

She's got 31 other minds to manage. And most of them come from genetic lineage that still believes in Jesus Christ and trickle down economics.

So shame on me for getting all bent out of shape. I should be reading with him nightly and that's all there is to it.

Whether he is a diamond or a chunk of concrete, he's my responsibility.

And yeah, if I do nothing, maybe he will learn to soar, or maybe he will sit perfectly still in the 62nd percentile range.

And yeah, if I make him a constant project, maybe he will learn to soar, or maybe he will sit perfectly still in the 62nd percentile range.

Crap shoot.

Can't guarantee that I'll make him a star.

But  I can show him cool stuff.

Which, if you will excuse me, I've got a drill to charge.

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