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The Senior Paper

I did not have a standard public school experience. My school district had an advanced program, so I was in that from 3rd grade until graduation. I had a single regular English class during my senior year, and that was an eye-opening experience of how teachers would just cave to the unmotivated students. Nothing like my other classes in the GATE program.

I remember a specific instance where my teacher told the class that I was not included in the grading curve. My fellow students complained and said that I should be part of the curve. She explained that if I was included in the curve, they would all fail.

This means that she excluded me, an incredibly stubborn and lazy A+ student, from the curve so that the D- (at best) students could be shifted into As and Bs in order to "pass" and graduate. That's a failure of the system. But I also get why. That teacher is evaluated on the grades and performance of her students, so she did the curve. That is a shame.

Our graduating quarterback wrote in 4-inch tall letters that looked like a first grader's effort and sentence structure that matched a first-grader. He had a C+ in the class. Think about that on the curve. Less than an F. But, through the other corruption of the education system, since he was a great quarterback and needed to maintain a C-average to play, this is how he got by. Less than F work and effort masked as a C-average.

We all had to write senior papers. Research. Ten-page minimum. An oral persuasive presentation. This was my "easy" class, so I didn't have to do comparative literature analysis like the AP courses were doing. I chose the existence of telekinesis on a lark. The argument that it existed. Very hard to find credible sources, but not an issue to present the counterarguments. I still managed it. During the oral persuasive presentation, I managed to pass off some pseudoscience BS that even convinced my teacher AND somehow managed to bend and break her yogurt spoon while lightly holding it between my thumb and forefinger. Wasn't staged, I'm not exactly sure how that one was accomplished.

The QB's report was a total of four pages, with hand-written (not even typed) 4-inch letters that totaled maybe a paragraph across those four pages, and was about how Rugby should be an Olympic sport. Which if he had the cognitive power to research the topic, he would have seen that it had been in the Olympics at least three times before WWII. However, the "essay" was little more than rugby is fun and good exercise and should be included in the Olympics. Most of which was misspelled.

I know this because we had peer review sessions where we had to grade each other's work. Which meant most of the class gave each other A's, the person that reviewed my paper didn't understand it as I wrote at a college level and gave me a C because they didn't understand it. I got his paper. I walked the paper to my teacher and told her that I was going to give it a D at best. She took the paper from me, gave it an A, and placed it in the pile of completed review pages.

Maybe it was his best effort. But I felt like the educational system failed him because of a series of bad pressures and measurements on teachers, that mechanic of being memorization engines and horrible tests, and possibly the emphasis on sports over education. I'm not really sure. I don't know what he's doing now, and I don't think I care.

Just thought I'd share an experience from HS.

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