Merry Monteleone, the blogger former known as Jelinek, has assigned me the task of writing a satire. Deciphering that symbol Prince came up with a few years back was easier than it has been for me to land on a subject, but here goes. I'm keeping with my recent trend on names. And bonus points to those who can tie in the name of this post with my little essay below.
Roll Call of Responsibility
Listen to the presidential candidates rattle on. You here them talk about the economy, the war, the business of politics in D.C. You might even hear them talk about gun control, abortion, fiscal responsibility. But, have you heard them discussing education this year? Chances are the answer is no, or if you did hear education mentioned, I'm betting it had to do with the rising cost of four years of college.
Is the cost of a college degree a problem? You bet your sheepskin it is, but the real problem in education starts way before a young man or woman sets foot among the hallowed grounds of higher learning. The real problem starts in Elementary School and without the fundamentals of basic knowledge no child will succeed. Yes, Mr. Bush every child will be left behind.
The problem is a lack of qualified teachers. And why is their a shortage on teachers. Low pay? a factor, but no. Disrespectful kids and lackadaisical parents? Another straw yes, but one the humped back of education can readily bear.
I know! I know!
Put your arm down Horshack. Thanks for paying attention, but no, the lack of quality teachers is not due to the cost of obtaining a college degree, but it does have to do with sheepskin. Only I'm not talking about the kind with fancy letters like B.A., or M.F.A, Phd, or the like printed on them.
I'm talking abut the kind of sheepskin people fail to put on in the heat of passion. The kind of sheepskin, that breaks at the most inopportune time. The kind of sheepskin that leads to population growth in our entire school system.
That my friends is where the root of this problem begins. Actually it is nine months later, or the time in between when would-be parents start coming up with these "unique" names.
Rianna, Kianna, and Fe Fi Bohanna. Jaden, Jaxon, What-kind-of-crack-is-your-parents-ona.
Aiden, Briley, Colton. Dagon, Eliora, Flora. Gavin, Hanna, Ian. Jasmine, Keagan, and Liam too. Madison, Naylor, why not Opie Taylor? Peyton, Quinn, Reagan. Sebastian, Taryn, and Uriah. Vista, Weston, Xander, and Zoe.
You think teachers have time to run through the alphabet and call out twenty six individual names? In my day they could call out Jennifer, Michelle, Mark, and Steve and wipe out three-quarters of the class. Sure you had a few oddballs. The kids whose parents had a little too much fun in the sixties, but there wasn't all this need to stand out. To be an individual, instead of one of the herd.
What's next? I'll tell you. These kids have a name all to their own and pretty soon they start to think they are somebody important. Pretty soon they want a bit of the teacher's individual attention. Where does that leave the other twenty-five Callie and Kaden's? Clamoring for their bit of spotlight, that's where. Teachers don't have time to foster the spark in each and every kid.
Once upon a time Johnny Cash sang about A Boy Named Sue and we thought that was weird. Now society accepts an odd name without batting an eye. If we keep traveling down this road it won't be long before we stop assuming every one with a tattoo is a Hell's Angel, or that every woman with short spiked hair is a lesbian, or that everyone with an, I heart Tom Jones sticker on their car is an overweight, over fifty year old woman.
Hell, before you know it we'll have to start judging people by their action not their look. And who has the time to stop and get to know each individual for who they are. Not me. It's time to avert this tragedy. Name your kid, John, or Paul, or Karen, or anything but Elijah, Caitlyn or Merry.