Friday, May 16, 2014

Simmering to a Boil

Really, people, I feel like I am walking around with a little black cloud.  Nothing bad is happening but the stress and tension of being a parent of, not just one 11th grader, but two, is taking it's toll.  I am sure that I have ranted about homework.  I have never been a big supporter of hours of homework ever.  Not sure I see the value in it.  The horse has left the gate all over America.  (If you having seen the movie Race to Nowhere, find it, watch it). Kids are saddled with too much homework to what end?  But 11th grade?  OMG.  The stress and tension of thinking about college and one's entire future is daunting.  The stress of studying not only for school but for the College Board exams is time consuming and debilitating.  What a racket!  Though the company that oversees all the college entrance exams is non-profit, you know that doesn't mean they aren't making money hand over fist for their executives.  Non-profit is a tax exempt status not a non-profit making company.  Now, there are books generated by The Princeton Review, Barron's, and Kaplan's for studying for each subject possible.  More money spent on helping prepare your children to do their best on a test.  And of course, if you have the means, hours upon hours of tutoring to teach the tricks of the tests.  Value?  Not high, I'm sure. Learning?  No, just working to get a great score.  

How things have changed from the olden days of yore.  No one I knew tutored 35 years ago.  We just showed up, took the test, and did our best. It was not, I repeat, not make or break like it feels like today.  I'm not saying that those kids that wanted to go to the premium schools, such as Stanford, didn't work a little harder to prepare, but it's not the craziness of today.  Today, the kids are sweating, studying, tutoring, taking mock test after mock test.  The pressure is over the top and for what?  It's the game with no meaning.  It separates even more the haves and the have nots.  It makes Affirmative Action even more imperative in colleges but it is getting whittled away state by state.  Can you imagine if you are from a middle class to poor family trying to get your child into a university?  Just the preparation to take the test is out of reach for most.  Who can afford weekly or bi-weekly tutors if you are trying to pay bills and put food on the table?  It's outrageous. And again, I ask, to what end?  

Are these college entrance exams any indication of success in school or life?  None.  The College Board has a stranglehold on the system and we can't do anything about it. Not yet.  Maybe colleges and universities will get tired of the homogeneous student body and take the power away from the entrance exams.  Maybe the colleges and universities will go by GPA, community service, personal recommendations, etc. and clip the monopoly the College Board has on the system.  These young people deserve so much more.  These young people deserve a childhood.  These families deserve a chance and an even playing field.  Chancellors of Universities everywhere, take back the process! 

Sidebars:  The Knicks aren't looking strong right now.  Can't see the light at the end of the MSG tunnel.  Oy vey!  The NBA playoffs are still going on and so are the Stanley Cup Playoffs.  It's ridiculous.  May sweeps seems rather tame.  The only sure sign of sweeps is the hysteria on local news.  They always have very dramatic promos for their next broadcast, even more than usual.  The 9/11 Museum opened with a big ceremony yesterday. Opens to the public next week.  I've heard from many the same question, "why would you want to go?"  The NY Post said there are no advance ticket sales except for opening day, Wednesday.  It's an expensive and sorrowful place to go.  Time will only tell if the masses want to relive that day.  As far as the college board, I just scratched the surface on those feelings.  There may be more.  On a personal note, it's my husband's birthday today. Go out and celebrate and we will too!  To the firefighters and people of San Diego, I hope you get a break and more than anything, I hope it rains there for you. This is my 300th post!!!!!!  Wow! Enjoy your weekend!

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