Chairman Bao is a Shih Tzu. We travel a lot. I drive. He watches. We've logged at least 10,000 miles and he's never once said, Sweetheart, don't you think you should stop and ask someone?

Friday, August 17, 2007

Shelly was kind enough to give us a ride to the airport. She also gave me a copy of her book, Educating Shelly.
It's been a long time since I had children in school. My son is dead, and I have no grandchildren. So my interest in what does (and doesn't) happen in American public schools is what you might call academic. These days, I find I have more in common with dog trainers than with teachers.
But this book is something else. It held my attention from beginning to end. It's the book every parent (and grandparent) ought to read if they want to understand why kids are the way they are. The sad truth is that we probably spend more of our discretionary income on our pets than we do on our schools.
Shelly isolates 26 separate issues (she calls this Shelly's alphabet) as she follows her children Jeff, Melissa and Mathew from kindergarten through high school. Shelly's alphabet includes everything from homework to fund-raising to sex and her book is cross-indexed so that you can either read it chronologically (as I did) or topically. Either way, you're in for a fascinating read. Especially if you're a parent with kids in the system.
Shelly concludes that "our educational system is like a monster that's eating itself." There's no standardization. There is no requirement or expectation of civilized behavior in schools. "Age appropriateness" has replaced excellence. Educators focus on inadequacies rather than achievements. "There were so many ways I could have received help for my children, but I didn't know where to go, who to talk to, or how to ask for help," Shelly writes. Thanks to her book, other parents might find help sooner.
Educating Shelly, by Rochelle La Motte-McDonald. It's not in bookstores, but you can get it through Amazon.


Blogger Dogwalkmusings said...

Sounds like it should be required reading for parents!

2:18 PM


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