Kids and "The Last Days" (plus "The Rationalization

I got a text from my son today, “Dad, can you pick me up at 11:30 after my final. I don’t want to stay for my pointless classes.”
To which I replied, “What pointless classes.”

Max told me, “exams will be over, our books are in, technically their’s nothing left to teach.”
He also told me that he was thinking about going in on Monday of next week… but probably not for the rest of the week.

Ok, I’ve avoided being political and ranting (for a while)…. Here goes.
[RANT BEGINS HERE… Skip down to end if you don’t want to read it…]

I am sickened and saddened by the “Race to the Bottom” that I see in our public education system.
Where once schools strove to excel, now their goals seem to be to get most students to “meet grade level expectations.”
In other words, everything is being dumbed down down down.

I recently learned that the Lincoln Public Schools is instituting a string of 150 math problems for their High Schoolers to do over the summer — that will be part of their first quarter grades — to prepare them for the NECAP tests.

There is less and less funding for teachers — and more and more funding for testing, test evaluations and test preparation…

The “No Child Left Behind” act was a Bush Era (admittedly Ted Kennedy sponsored) fiasco. It is Orwellian in its name, and reprehensible in its results. Obama’s, “Race to the Top” is maintaining NCLB’s power and sway.

The idea that every child in this country “should” be able to go to college is ludicrous! The idea that the goal of education is to prepare you for more education is insane. I listen to the pundits talk about how Rhode Island doesn’t have an educated workforce, to which I say, bollocks! There are thousands of college grads, many without jobs. Many are English majors. And Garrison Keillor is right about this, when you graduate with an English major, you are fully qualified to work at a coffee bar. (I majored in History, so I know.)

We’ve slashed funding for technical schools, for high school shop classes and auto classes. We’ve cut funding for community colleges.
And spent our tax dollars on testing.

I’m nauseated at the amount of time spent prepping for these standardized tests. I’m revolted at the tax dollars that are being siphoned away from teaching and into testing. We’ve demonized teachers and made testing a virtue!

Even at Classical High School, the best in the state, the attitude is, after exams, there’s nothing left to teach.

My belief in education is that education is about learning to learn — not learning to take tests.

How can we stop it?
I wish I knew. Any ideas?


In other news….
– I’ve just signed a lease on a new office at Hope Artiste Village in Providence. Looking forward to doing great things.

– My book, “Crumbs Don’t Count” has been re-relased as “The Rationalization Diet” in ebook form.
The Rationalization Diet is a humorous anti-diet book. “It’s all about the rationalizations, baby” — Austin Powers
The price is $2.99 — which gives you almost twice as many rationalizations as the 1998 print edition, plus a bonus section on Beer and Wine Rationalizations.
Currently, it’s currently available only on the Kindle (working on other platforms) — but if you have an iPad, get the Kindle edition and you can get your laughs anywhere…

Get your copy at:

Read Boston and Summer Tour dates coming next week.


– Mark