Skip to comments.Vouchers: My Personal Case
Posted on 07/25/2013 3:52:19 AM PDT by Kaslin
"I think you should check out the APEX program," my high school counselor Mrs. Workman suggested.
APEX stood for Area Program Enrichment Exchange, and involved several L.A. area high schools, including Fairfax High. Intended for "advanced" students, the program allowed them to take courses not offered at their home school.
In my case, I had exhausted all of the Spanish courses at Crenshaw High, the predominately black inner-city school I attended. But Fairfax, predominately Jewish, had higher-level courses and would accept me.
"It'll be a way for you to continue your Spanish -- where, I see from your transcript, you excel. I'd suggest you do this," she said.
"How does the program work?"
Each morning, she explained, a school bus would pick up the APEX students -- by definition a group of supposedly "high-level, college-bound kids" -- and bus them to their chosen school. We would attend two classes each morning at the APEX school, after which we would be bused back to Crenshaw.
"Where do I sign?"
Mrs. Workman laughed, "I expect you to do well."
About that I had little doubt. After all, I made mostly A's, and did particularly well in Spanish. I ranked sixth or seventh in a class of 250. Of course I would do well.
But I didn't.
I knew I was in for a ride when I walked into class that first day at Fairfax. The teacher greeted me in Spanish. But I noticed that everyone in the class spoke in Spanish. I don't mean the halting way I spoke, with iffy grammar and conjugation. These kids were fluent! I was shocked.
Despite the stack of Spanish course A's I had piled up since middle school, I never really thought achieving fluency in a class setting was possible -- unless you lived in Mexico or Spain or had Spanish-speaking parents.
But it became clear that from the time these Fairfax kids took their first Spanish course -- and, for that matter, every other course -- teachers demanded far more from students than Crenshaw teachers demanded of us. The Fairfax kids also demanded more of themselves. And they were matter-of-fact about the high expectations their parents had for them.
When I came home from that first day at Fairfax, I cried.
"These A's I'd been getting," I told my mom, "were crap. Probably C's at Fairfax. It's as if I'd been playing Little League baseball -- and now I'm playing against the Dodgers."
"You're right," she said, "it's not fair -- but do your best. You'll rise to the occasion."
I got an F on my first test. This was followed by more F's and D's. There was a lot of oral class participation, and the teacher and students were patient as I butchered the language. They felt sorry for me.
The final exam, which accounted for most of the grade, was a written book report on Don Quixote -- also to be given orally, without notes, while standing in front of the class. Holy bleep!
I busted my butt, worked my way through the book, and wrote and memorized my presentation. I checked and rechecked my report. Then I practiced it in front of the bathroom mirror. Never had I worked as hard on anything in school. I vowed not to be embarrassed.
I spoke third. After each student spoke, the no-nonsense teacher immediately critiqued the speech, corrected grammar and syntax, and offered ways to improve.
My turn. The walk to the front of the class took forever. "I'll show them," I said over and over. I cleared my throat and let it rip. I knew I had rocked when, after I finished, no one said anything, not even the teacher. Who was that fluent guy in Larry's body?
"Bien, senor Elder," the teacher finally said. "Muy bien."
I told my mom what happened. She didn't use the word "voucher," but she wondered why parents couldn't choose the school to which they send their kids, rather than the one -- good or bad -- that happens to be the closest.
"Doesn't seem right," said Mom. My Fairfax experience, she said, "shows what happens when kids are pushed. I can't do anything about this. But maybe someday you can."
Hopefully, I just did.
Larry Elder and his mother both wanted him to excel. He escaped the failure mindset, but too many would be pilloried for acting white and then assaulted or killed if they didn’t run with the hoodies.
You have to have that burning desire to do what Larry did, usually put there by your parents. A lot of kids don't because the parents taught them how to quit, blame others, and make excuses for their failure instead.
I was born into poverty, and for the most part, was raised in the poverty victimhood culture. However, my mother was concerned about my education. If I complained that a school was not challenging enough academically, she would put me in another school.
Much of my school time was spent tutoring other students. Since the teachers knew that I would grasp the material after the first explanation, they figured that I would be able to explain the concepts to the less gifted students in my class.
It breaks my heart to see someone work so, so hard to accept our unfortunate fate and give away his country's language for another whose importance has grown because so many of the illegals (illiterate in their own languages) will not assimilate.
It is further humiliatingly ironic that while we Americans are relegated to having to learn the language of our Reconquistadors, both they and we forget they speak the language of their Conquistadors of so long ago.
K through 9 at public school. Applied to prep school. They made me take 9 over again. I was not pleased, but I never would have lasted the year in 10th. All Freshman had to take Latin. I hated it, and did so poorly they let me drop it. Before I quit the class, we all took a standardized test given to college freshman. My teach had to come down to the study hall, which was my replacement for Latin, and give me my award for scoring in the top 1% of college Freshman. I had learned more Latin in less than one year than my public school friends had learned in three years.
There’s just no comparison.
And you should know it’s Mandarin, not Madarin
I enjoy Free Republic a lot. Most commenters appear to share my values. However, I utterly detest the blind prejudice and ignorance that your comment displays. Please do not display your bigotry and racism.
There is opportunity in the South. We have great trade with our southern neighbors. Knowing spanish could be of great help to your boss when dealing with Spanish speaking customers. It should not be dismissed out of hand.
I agree learning mandarin is also good
Being able to communicate beyond our border will be a major asset to an employer
First of all...Spanish is the language of poverty,illiteracy and crime.
Debes aprender un poco más de historia.
My cousin graduated valedictorian at his inner city school. Got a full ride to a private college. He lasted two weeks and quit because it was “too hard.”
Tienez usted dolor en la cabesa?
...and all this time, I thought it was Ebonics.
Learning a foreign language, ANY language, is a wonderful skill and provides a great educational basis. If you can learn Spanish, you can move onto Italian, French etc... Heck, if you can master Mandarin, as you suggest, you can more easily learn any other foreign language.
I work with quite a few white-collar professionals in the pharma industry, Puerto Ricans, who would disagree with you.
I have no desire to attack you, but I think it is important to clearly document a general disagreement with your apparent attitudes.
OK,a quick summary.According to IMF stats for 2010-2012 Mexico had a per capita GDP that was lower than that of the Seychelles and Gabon (among many others).Guatemala's was lower that that of Mongolia,Namibia and East Timor.Bolivia's was lower than Guatemala's.Argentina's was lower than Equatorial Guinea's.And within Western/Central Europe Spain's was about 75% of that of Ireland,Austria,Switzerland and Germany.And it was close to half of Norway's.
So show me where I'm wrong regarding the "poverty" part of it.
And after we cover the "poverty" question we'll move on to "crime".Can you say "human heads displayed from lamp posts"?
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