The Results May Vary

Observations from my Mixed Up World

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Lunchbox Diplomacy

Well, one week into the new school year and I am already asking myself what was I looking forward to?  I love our free public education system.  But I ask myself, “How come it cost me 20 bucks/kid for the milk program, another 5 bucks/kid for agendas and a host of other small expenses for binders, dividers, erasers, kleenex and ziploc bags.  One week in, one extra mortgage payment forgotten.  I helped my wife move into a new classroom and we discovered enough wooden stir sticks to supply the entire Republican convention.  I wonder how many generations of students carried box after box in to the teacher at the beginning of a new year to create this treasure trove.  Were they disappointed at the end of the year when they hadn’t ever used a single one??

Regardless, it is Sunday night and I am facing one of my least favourite jobs.  Making lunches for everyone sucks!  Each person in my family requires a special selection of entrees and snacks that is completely different from everyone else.  Shopping becomes a nightmare.  My dread at opening each lunch bag at the end of the day is palpable.  Who will I have offended today?

Let me share the rules of lunch for each person:

Milo – 1 sandwich (ham, mayo, lettuce, no cheese), juice box (no apple, would really prefer coke), veggies (carrots maybe, no cucumber, absolutely no tomatoes – “am I trying to kill him?”, sometimes red pepper but sometimes not), vanilla pudding (not chocolate crap like his sister likes) crackers (prefers melba toast or square saltines, no flavours)

Maya – 1/2 sandwich (ham, very light mayo “or else”, lettuce, cheese), juice box (anything is ok), apple sauce or chocolate pudding (definitely not the vanilla shit her brother takes), veggies (cucumber, sometimes carrots, tomatoes “my very favourite”)

My Wife – left overs (but not if we have eaten them two days in a row, only if they are pre-cut into bite sized pieces and different foods should not migrate during reheating), juice box (just like her son – no apple), a napkin (because the public education system napkins are like sandpaper) and metal utensils not plastic – AND AS HAS BEEN POINTED OUT JUST NOW AT EDITING – vanilla pudding not that chocolate shit.

Me – usually nothing, sometimes a coffee if I can steal a K-Cup from a co-worker, very occasionally a sandwich but most of my lunches resemble something from a nightmare (eg:  a tin of sardines, an old peach and a Coke Zero – funny no visitors after lunch)

Happy back to school everyone.

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French Immersion… Merci, Non!

So the kids arrived home all full of piss and vinegar hell bent on going to French immersion schools.  Seems that the school board had sent in the propaganda experts to fill their heads with the joys of learning math, science and social studies in another language.  I can imagine the assembly.

“Come to a different school…” they said, “You’ll have so much fun learning about stability, the states of matter and long division in another language.”

“Wow”  said the kids.

“Think how amazing it will be to learn about your community (which is predominately Italian and Serbian) in French.”  promised the spin doctors.

“Ahhhhhh!” replied the kids.

“Wait.  That’s not all… we have clubs at our schools” proselytized the board’s zealots.

“Sign us up.” screamed the kids.

“Go ask your parents, ” was the reply, “and be sure to report them to us if they don’t like the idea.  We can re-educate them!”

Ok.  Perhaps the last sentence is hyperbole but I can’t even begin to tell you how much I hate the idea of French immersion.  Firstly, you should know that in our school board up until next year, the French immersion program is based on entrance essays that are mostly written by over-achieving parents for their kids.  Here, now that Gifted Education programs were completely gutted, French Immersion is strictly for the social climbing elite.  It’s the new way to show to your neighbours that little Timmy is so smart, much smarter than your kid, that he needs to learn in another language.

Oh, I know how the bullshit goes on and on about opening doors and opportunities, but it is all crap.  I’ve known plenty of people who were in French Immersion programs that discovered in high school that a) the world doesn’t care and b) they have no idea what the teachers are talking about in English. (the language that incidentally 99% of them will need to function for their careers – the 1% will go on to become French teachers)  Now, don’t get me wrong, teaching French is a noble and important calling, but most kids don’t want to do that and there are only so many teaching jobs anyhow.

So when my kids got home and told me that they felt their current school, 500 meters away from my house; newly built 3 years ago; fully equipped with the newest technology and staffed by some of the finest educators I’ve ever met, was no longer good enough for them.  I said “Too bad.”

If the school boards really want to help our kids get careers in the future, then here’s some important facts.  China and India are the next biggest consumer markets in the world and they have LOTS of foreign currency.  Teach our kids those languages so they can impress their new bosses.