many other kids. I went on to say that young people smoking (or doing
any drug) on a daily basis have entered into an entirely different
world, and may in fact be doing irreparable harm while their bodies
are still forming.
Some suggested that I might have overstepped my boundaries as a
teacher and perhaps even encouraged drug usage by my "honest
revelation." I couldn't disagree more. First of all, our president
has come clean about being on cocaine, marijuana and alcohol in his
earlier years, and I don't recall hearing about his bad example
rippling across the nation. Furthermore, I've learned that honesty,
tempered with equal measures of hindsight, is far more effective than
finger-wagging propriety or threats of punishment.
Mike writes to concur about his contempt for product ads that we
are now forced to sit through in theaters. We both agreed to urge
others (and they do the same) to call in and complain and/or stop
patronizing local cinemas that so crassly exploit captive audiences.
The president of Glendale Community College took the time to
address an issue I raised about phony high school diplomas being
accepted by his institution.
There continues to be some alarm at our level that more kids are
going to flake out of high school and become young collegians before
their time. Diploma mills now offer that tantalizing prospect, and
they do so with the complicity of the state. Our junior colleges say
they must adhere to state guidelines, but I wonder why some are not
working harder to challenge guidelines that allow for an obvious
cheapening of our state's education.
So many people I've talked to who have an interest in our schools
(we call them "stakeholders" in the education business) believe that
August would be a much better time for the opening of schools than
September. Student performance on all of the testing that comes
crashing down on us in April and May would surely benefit from an
earlier start date for our students. If it means higher scores on
standardized tests, I would ask, "What is greater than that?" More
time to study and practice being standard. (Forgive the sarcasm --