Down, Down,
Yellow, and brown.
The scores fall.
All over the town…

That’s adapted from a children’s book; originally it was a bedtime poem about falling leaves…

i want to share a story. A young lady i met near the end of this week, was excited her session of Summer School had ended… This is a bright person, I was surprised to hear she was in Summer School; (isn’t that remedial?)

So I asked, (to be polite), “how did you do?”

She said, ” I got a hundred on my final; That is the whole grade…”

“What?” I queried. “What was the course?”…

“Algebra” she said…

“You went to summer school, and got a hundred in Algebra? What kind of grades did you get all year?”

“Oh”, she said. “I flunked it. I had to take this course to go onto high school next year…..”

“Oh, wow. Say, I’m kinda involved with educational issues, and I’m really curious now.” I spoke quickly. “How was it that you learned something in what, four weeks, from June 19th to now: that you couldn’t learn in class, .. the whole school year?”

She flashed a smile, like “yeah, crazy, huh” and thought for a second, and said… “They just explained it better… it’s actually really easy.”

“They couldn’t explain it in regular school? Not even a whole year? ”

“No, they were like reading out of the book, and when we’d ask questions, they’d say the book didn’t make sense to them either, but it was what they had to teach from and they were sorry, but they didn’t know the answer themselves. They wouldn’t show us anything…”

“So, how did you like learn it all in summer school?”

Again the smile. “Well, like finding the slope, In my old class, I had no idea what the teacher was talking about with the change or x over the change of y… here they just said take this side and that side, and bingo, you have the slope.” It was so easy…

Well I thanked her for sharing and congratulated her on her achievement… I wished her best in another school year too…

Hmmmm. So why is it.. that Delaware pays for a whole year of school, when it can be boiled down and taught in 17 days? The whole course of algebra… boiled down to 17 days….

What are we doing wrong, that we willingly “lose someone” capable who can learn algebra in 17 days, and hold them back another year, because they couldn’t pass a core course? It doesn’t look like the problem is with her: it appears the problem lies in us!

All it took … was for someone to take the time to explain it to her…. That was all it took….

Ladies and Gentlemen: that is how we’re going to win this race … the one…to the top. .. …

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