Aliens in This World

An ordinary Catholic and a science fiction and fantasy fan.

Thursday, October 17, 2002

Mailbag: The Old Oligarch

The Old Oligarch sent me mail and blogged it. Pretty cool, eh?

I had a shock of my own last week. I knew my one cousin was a smart cookie, but then I saw him writing a paper on The Scarlet Letter. It was great! He not only talked about the themes of the novel; he also got in some very sharp comparisons of the town in the novel to the high school.

It was his paper. I watched him think it up and write it. I'd say his work was AP English-worthy, yet he's stuck down in the lowest level of English class, because he used to have severe problems with spelling and handwriting. Computers have allowed him to write what he's thinking; but the school hasn't caught up with him.

Last year, I found out, he was accused of plagiarism. The teacher demanded definitions to words he used in the paper; he gave them. She retorted that he never talked like that in class. He said, "Neither do you!"

His current teacher is much more supportive; but he's also not getting the kid into a higher-level class or making him work at his level. That Scarlet Letter paper? The kids in his class weren't even given the novel! They were made to watch that horrible recent movie version instead.

I hate the way our school system's gone downhill. And I really resent the way people like my cousin get stiffed again and again. Is it any wonder our society is losing people it needs?


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