Did you happen to read the sobering article by Dr. Charles Frink published in The Day on Sunday, December 22, 2002, entitled “Reconstruction”? If the attitude reported therein describes you, you’re in big trouble. Prepare to live out lives of “quiet desperation”. As the saying goes: there are three kinds of people: those who make things happen, those who watch things happen, and those who are constantly saying, “What happened?”
Such an outcome for you is totally unnecessary...but you have to wake up, NOW. You must take total responsibility for your present and for your future. Note that I did not include you past, for that is over - except for lessens to be learned from it. For the past was not your fault; and maybe it was not even your responsibility, (except for the Stupidity of any drug use and / or teen-age pregnancy), given the role models that have surrounded some of you, both at home and in society. Your past was the result of poor guidance and poor example on the part of your parents, your community and church leaders, your organizations, your fellow students, and even your teachers and “educators”. Their emphasis has been on instant gratification rather than on disciplined planning and work, on the triumph of mediocrity over the “aristocracy of the able”, on “self-esteem” rather than on earning worth and self-worth...and sometimes failing in the process. These are the true reasons for the failure of public education in great swaths of this country, thereby producing a “cruel hoax” that you now have to do something about.
Many of you are not educated; you are not even trained in the basics. But you are educable. Certainly, you’re not being prepared for a world and a life where delayed gratification, hard work, individual responsibility and true accomplishment - by your contemporaries and also by many adults who will not move over for you - are the rules. And only you can change all that, in your present and in your future.
I know what I'm talking about. I am a student of nearly 70 years, the 1st generation product of immigrants who delayed - and often totally gave up - their needs and gratifications for the benefit of their children. My wife and I raised and educated five children, partly while I served two terms on the New London Board of Education in the 1960’s under the banner “Excellence In Our Education Industry”. We had four of our children in the public school system at that time - only to have to pull all of them out during my year as President of the Board, when we realized that even the better students were having their sights set too low by the system. That was, and still is, the greatest indictment for any school system. And the situation has gotten much worse since then! Check out my public service web site, part of which is devoted to public education (“Public Education Politics: Where Vast Ideas Produce Half-Vast Results: www.asthma-drsprecace.com/ch-education.html).
Dr. Frink was incorrect in only one thing he said in the above
article. He said: “During the subsequent 16 years I repeatedly faced
the choice of lowering standards or failing most students. Since
failure is not education, I lowered my standards.”
Wrong! Failure can be education, in school as in sports. And lowering standards is not the treatment. That is the disease!
So, what to do? Pick yourself up. Set very high goals. Work like hell. Be prepared to repeat one or two grades, unless you can be effectively tutored, or take a year or two of remediation before entering college. And go to college, not only to get a better job ( which will happen ), but mainly to become educated persons who can really understand and enjoy life - all of life - and who can continue to grow throughout life. Only you can do it. I’m counting on you.
George A. Sprecace, M.D., J.D.