A challenge to Gunn
Original post made by val blanchette, Greenmeadow, on Jun 8, 2009
So we have done it again
Here we are in this beautiful part of the world
We have beautiful children
And it takes a village to raise a child
Where was the village?
The high school years when the child becomes an adult
Four short years
Their bodies change
Their minds grow
They blossom – if we give them time and space
Hormones surge through their bodies
Emotions gather strength
They hardly know themselves at times
These are the vulnerable years
So what do we do?
We offer a great education at Gunn – on our terms
We have some great teachers who try to engage the minds and tend the blossoming
Four years for children to discover their passion in this life and feel their way onto the great stage
And what do we do?
We overlay this precious time with a competitive horse race - get the best grades – get into the best college – follow the herd - lead the herd – DO NOT FAIL
So, young person, your circadian rhythms change – and you need more sleep after midnight – you are not at your best in the early morning - so who cares - get out of bed – get into class – perform, perform, perform
So start school at 10 am
Look at the college world – PSAT GPA SAT - the alphabet that will determine your future – work for it, work for it, work for it –
Pressure, pressure, pressure
And some of them say “I can’t take this any more”
Others take it and succeed – but at what price?
We buy into the whole system – we push our beloved children through the sausage machine
And yet another ends up under a train
IT IS TIME TO STOP AND SCREAM
IT IS TIME TO SAY NO MORE
So I challenge you Gunn
Change to a system of pass/fail - no more grades
(But the children won’t work – they won’t feel the whip on their back – they will become lazy)
They will work in order to learn what they are interested in – they will find their passion – they will flourish
Throw out the set curriculum
Let the children, as they become adults, choose what they want to study – offer a great smorgasbord of teachers and subjects - and if some subjects/teachers have no followers – get rid of them
Look at the pressure cooker system that destroys our children – look it straight in the eye and say NO MORE
What do you mean destroys our children – look at the beautiful young adults graduating and tell me we have destroyed them?
No, thank God, we have not destroyed them all – most of them are tougher than we think – they survive what we do to them - and we do a lot of great things - BUT we could do so much more – and if we took on this challenge we would see our children blossom as never before
Change the focus
Focus on our children as they become adults
Focus on their needs – what they need to blossom
Focus on offering education and enlightenment that delights these precious pupils
Focus on supporting them through the tough times - easing the pressures – holding still while they gather steam for the next spurt
Teach them cooperation instead of competition
Teach them compassion not judgment
Teach them the great joy of learning
Teach them the importance of now
Look at now
Stop looking at the future and letting some distant and unknown entity evaluate our beloved children
So what about Harvard and Stanford and UC and ,,,,and…and…
They will be begging for the sort of young adults we will send into the world -
We have a choir - Look at and listen to that choir - get the CD if you have not heard them – get it anyway and listen again –
Look what our children can accomplish – without grades - without points for the sausage makers -
Do you get it?
Mother and grandmother of Gunn students
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The 31st Annual Palo Alto Weekly Short Story Contest is now accepting entries for Adult, Young Adult (15-17) and Teen (12-14) categories. Send us your short story (2,500 words or less) and entry form by April 13, 2017. First, Second and Third Place prizes awarded in each category.