Tuesday, February 07, 2006

American Social and Educational Theory 101

Today I want to share with you all my outrage at an American custom of which I was just made aware. This apparently has been going on for some significant years, at least since my eldest Step-Daughter was in school. Naturally I find this out after the bombshell has been dropped.

I refer, of course, to the travesty known to those who are aware of its existence as “Ski week”.

Yes you read it right but I’ll say it again just in case you read it too fast and it didn’t properly sink in.

Ski Week.

For those of you just coming to awareness of this event let me explain in simple terms what it is:

My Daughter gets a whole week off school. Not to celebrate the anniversary of the Declaration of Independence (which would still be excessive but much more reasonable), not to remember the fallen in any of the far too numerous global or local armed conflicts, not to contemplate the life of some famous statesman and most certainly not for some religious observance. No this particular event is simply to head to the slopes (or not if you don’t actually ski) and race down hill dodging trees and boulders.

Um…excuse me do you think we could maybe get some school stuff done in between holidays. When I were a lad (apologies to Monty Python) we actually went to school to learn. We had a system that actually cared about the amount of knowledge imparted to their charges, we had a system which actually attempted to make that difficult and onerous task as easy and simple as possible. We certainly did not go traipsing off in the middle of term for just some random week dedicated to skiing (or not).

What exactly is the school system in this poor benighted country trying to achieve? Is it actually about education at all? We need to stop taking time off in between pretending to learn and pretending to try to teach and actually get back to devoting our time and energy to achieving. If you aim for mediocrity and miss what exactly do you hit?

Does any other country in this world have such a ridiculous excuse for an entire week off? To that I cannot speak directly, all I can say is that any self respecting Australian who even thought for a moment that they might propose such a half assed, hare-brained scheme (my apologies to any of my readers from the genus Lepus out there) would immediately shoot themselves and save the rest of Australian Society the effort of removing their stain from the gene pool.

If I were a Socialist I might look at this and point it out crying in a voice louder than thunder “Look yet another example of an artificial institution created by the rich bourgeois as a device to keep the working class poor, stupid and uneducated”. Since, however, I am not, I will not say this. I’ll just say again, in outrage just as reverberating:

Ski week.

Lets skip forward in my magical time machine to a time where this entire country is populated by those whose promise and intelligence has been cut short, has been exterminated before bearing fruit. Lets look around us and see the vapid stares and empty smiles that populate the country. Lets imagine this vision of the future awaiting this country and shudder in horror. We need to stand aside and cry “No More” to those who would enslave our children and our children’s children to such a grey and colourless future. Ski week must be stopped, if it is not we begin the slide to just such a future as I have attempted to conjure for you with these words.

Imagine the leaders that this time may bring to us, a simpleton leading the country to the brink of destruction or maybe beyond. Imagine the President being totally incapable of leading in times of crisis, one totally unqualified to choose those to govern the country with him. Imagine a vapid smile, a man unable to pronounce words correctly and ignorant of that fact. He’d be blissful, cheerful and happy in his ignorance. Imagine what might befall us should we have such a clearly incapable leader…..

Oh wait….

Did we have ski week in Andover during 1964?


At 10:40 PM, Blogger Shanikka said...

Woo Hoo! The DAH is a *blogger* now.

P.S. This (Ski Week) too shall pass. But I agree with you, even if it does not.

At 5:52 AM, Blogger Julie Carter said...

I can top it. In my high school, we had a week off to go to...

... the fair.

At 7:43 AM, Anonymous sayitaintso said...

Ummm, actually France has a "sports d'hiver" week in their school calendar. It's staggered between various regions, so that the whole country is not hitting the slopes at the same time.

I think they get it in the DOM/TOM of Martinique, Guadeloupe, Tahiti, Reunion, etc. But the lift lines there are shorter.

At 8:23 AM, Blogger The DAH said...

Fair week. You're right. An equally useless excuse for mediocrity.

It seems that the good ol' US of A is not the only country that has its priorities twisted in this way. Of course Ski Week itself does not stand alone here, its in conjunction with "minimum days" and "staff development days" and all sorts of other excuses (including Fair week it seems).

Allez la France huh?

Im reduced to just shaking my head at this point.

At 8:07 AM, Blogger CRT Law Mama said...

Thanks for the intelligent commentary on my CRT Site! Much appreciated. I am trying to get together some more time to dedicate to it- and to reading you and a few of my other favorite blogs-

but I wanted to acknowledge your thoughtful and insightful comments- I agree and have said the same, but this question comes up often- and I think partly because we have yet to adopt a universal definition for many of the terms we discuss (like race, racism, whiteness), even though in communities of color, we feel we don't have to spell this out because it is more obvious to us...
Thanks agian,


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