Garbage In, Garbage Out? Getting Into School

19 03 2007


Slate Magazine takes a jaundiced look at getting into school, all the way from The Preschool Puzzle — can an admissions director really evaluate a two-year-old? — to the kinds of ranting I tend to here at Snook about college admissions.

“What’s troubling about preschool admissions, in the end, is that they reveal how narrow the preferred range of demeanor for little kids is. We want 2- and 3-year-olds to be sunny but not loud, perceptive but not shy, energetic but not hyper. We want them to conform.”

Emily Bazelon asked whether preschools are better off with teachers who have college degrees. Timothy Noah chattered about the kerfluffle in 2002 when Jack Grubman, former analyst at Salomon Smith Barney, appeared to orchestrate a $1 million pledge from Citigroup, Salomon’s parent company, to get his twins into preschool at Manhattan’s 92nd Street Y. Ann Hulbert took a look at the mother of admissions processes—colleges—and asks if the alarmists are right. Arthur Allen wonders whether colleges should know when students take the SAT untimed.

Education Was All They Wanted To Talk About!

19 03 2007

Corned beef and cabbage for St Patrick’s Day. . . and especially home education, at the St. Patrick’s Day party my oldest friend threw Saturday night.

We didn’t know anyone there except the hosts, but within minutes of walking in the door, the most thoughtful and interesting Thinking Strangers were getting all animated about it, in a good way. These were parents and professional folks with diverse backgrounds — a biology teacher whose personal passions are sheepdogs and “olfactory evolution”, a government lawyer mom with grown daughters who she sent to school yet stayed home with through their teens to reap many of the same benefits hsing offers, a Coast Guard dad just starting to home educate a middle school daughter and wondering if it’s supposed to be so much unhappy work for them both.

Passing me one to another like speed dating, these party guests in green consecutively kept me so wrapped up that I never even got to the kitchen, where it’s rumored the homemade shepherd’s pie and corned beef & cabbage were not to be missed.

I did snag a single pig in a blanket — literally on my way in the front door — but that was it for the next two hours.

Meanwhile other kinds of homeschooling encounters (sort of) were happening without me noticing, all around the party. Read the rest of this entry »