Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Little Johnny

Little Johnny went to school. He was not given any homework or tests, and never asked to read the textbook. He had a weekly science project which meant he sat around watching cartoons while his parents ran around   to find something to do. They rolled up decorative paper around tennis balls and gave them to Johnny. He thought he was designing the solar system, the universe or something and decorating tennis balls with jigina paper was all there was to science and astronomy. But what the hell, he was was enjoying learning.

Thanks to several other science projects he developed a crush on  dinosaurs, sharks and the Amazon forest. He loved science and wanted to be paleontologist. Unionized teachers regularly took him to insectariums which they preferred to real teaching work. There he was amazed by cooperative insects, ants, bees and termites. He started fantasizing about the wonders of government housing, public transport and social engineering at a very young age. Nothing mattered because he was enjoying learning and loving science. He got straight A's!

Then the syllabus got harder. The useless dinosaur and planetary science projects gave way to the real deal -- physics, sine theta, cos theta and Newton's laws of motion. The A grades mutated into F's faster than the time it took to say 'Dinosaur'. That was when Johnny found out he did not like math and science really. But he could opt for electives before he could spell the word 'elective'. He opted for European languages and Mayan 2012 history and got better grades than 'F'. 

It is not clear if he passed 12th standard (graduate high school is the accepted terminology) or not but he ended up as an insurance agent or Wal-Mart employee or something he had a passion for! He retained his love for insects, dinosaurs and the fascination for the juvenile universe he designed in grade three as it anesthetized him from his F grades in real science and math. He loved Star Trek and every stupid alien movie refusing to grow up beyond grade three. People like him made mediocre alien, sci-fi and global catastrophe movies into box-office blockbusters. He became a registered Democrat.

A casual observer thought: "If Johnny had been given lots of homework and tests in school, there was a chance he could have passed the science/math exams and gotten a useful degree. On the job, he could have re-edited, re-recorded and re-mixed the concepts he mugged up to pass examinations, understood the concepts years later, and turned out to be a productive worker and citizen. We could have had better movies, a better electorate and a better country."


amas said...

Are you saying that the educational system in the US is just fine? Or not?

I said...

I think the Western school system is hopeless and misguided before college/University.