A retired sports writer sent me this e-mail. I thought it raised a fascinating question that many of you will want to address.
Here is his note to me:
Like many others, I’m having a hard time trying to figure out why elementary school kids are doing so badly on state tests.
And this REALLY got me wondering if it’s the teachers, not the students:
Jaycee Dugard was kidnapped at 11 years of age and held captive in a backyard “garage/prison” for 18 years. During that time, she had two children, fathered by her kidnapper/rapist.
Both her daughters, Angel and Starlit, appear to have been educated solely by their mother — who herself never made it past the fifth grade.
Yet recent tests show Angel, 15, functioning close to the level of a high school senior — that is, a higher level than Jaycee was at when she was abducted.
Now, if a traumatized kid kidnapped at age 11 is able to learn enough to home school her kids well enough that a 15 year old is functioning close to the level of a high school senior, WHY can’t supposedly educated adults, some with advanced degrees, do the same?
I know they’ll say that Jaycee only had to teach two kids while they’re teaching an entire classroom.
But . . .are they kidnapped and held hostage?
My daughter teaches 5th graders and does a superb job. Since you know me, I won’t even attempt to take credit for that.
All I want to know is why so many teachers can’t teach up to the level of a 5th grade educated kidnapee.
That’s the end of his note to me. My own observation is that Jaycee and her girls had few other options in their back yard prison but to read and talk to each other.
I think it was Jackie Kennedy who said, “”There are many little ways to enlarge your child’s world. Love of books is the best of all.”
Perhaps, Jaycee took a terrible and limited world and made it bigger and better for her own girls with books. (I think this People cover of a smiling Jaycee is among the most hopeful photos I have ever seen. )