A couple weeks ago it was time to enroll my son in school again.
He is four, almost five, and has already had two years of nursery, and one of kindergarten. The idea was to enroll him in “Kindergarten 2”–one of his previous teachers suggested he is ready for Grade 1 but I think the socialization is as valuable at his age as the actual learning. He reads, he is fluent in my language as well as his mother’s language, runs his own Google searches, and is generally awesome. (Sorry for the cheesy proud father bullshit.)
There are four private schools where he lives–all terrible. Terrible as in terrible. Terrible as in teaching him in “Computer Science” that every part of a computer that is not a keyboard is called a “CPU.” Terrible as in making the kids wear special PE uniforms on Fridays even though there is no PE. Terrible as in “Jupiter has only two moons, and one is called Titan.”
I was curious about the local public schools, especially as there is one school known for teaching advanced students, and as the teachers in public schools here are generally better credentialed (for whatever, probably not much, that is worth). And, how could they possibly be worse?
The public schools were NOT very happy with admitting a kanu. (His mother is a local girl, but hey, one drop, right?) Nevertheless the teachers I spoke with were at least civil. Until it came time to actually enroll him …
Me: So he just finished Kinder 1. He is reading in English and Tagalog and can do basic addition and subtraction. Here is his certificate of completion for last school year, and his NSO.
Teacher: (Looking at his NSO) When is his birthday?
Me: July 4, 2010
Teacher: How old is he?
Me: (Not surprised the teacher will not willing/unable to do the requisite math) He will be five on July 4.
Teacher: Hmmm…. We can enroll him in nursery.
Me: He has already had two years of nursery and one year of kindergarten. (This is already heading south–I remind myself to stay calm and politely direct her attention to the big pile of papers I brought.)
Teacher: We can’t enroll a child in Kindergarten unless he is six years old on June 30.
Me: But that won’t be until 2017–and even then only four days before he is four years old.
Me: What will he learn in Nursery that he doesn’t already know? He is already reading and doing basic math! Can’t you make an exception?
Teacher: Well much better for him that he doesn’t read yet. Department of Education says that he is too young to read. We can fix that.
Me: Are you saying you want to put him in Nursey so you can un-teach him to read?
Teacher: Yes. (She produces a Department of Education Local Division Office document that indeed specifies that my kid is too young to read.)
So … having no choice I enrolled him in the least-terrible private school available. Still terrible, but at least they will not purposefully try to un-teach him.
Is it just me or is the educational system here actually designed to produce authority-obsessed, obedient, and merely vaguely-literate drones? Could this be an explanation for a lot of the absurdity we, as outsiders, see here?
Or am I assigning too much directed planning towards what is actually only absurd?Published in