04 April 2007

Our D-grade Student

If Puerto Rico's educational system were to sit in a classroom, it would be in the back, with the other D-grade students, wearing shockingly expensive tennis shoes (unlaced), too much bling-bling, a Yo Soy Boricua cap tilted to hell and a look of total contempt smeared across its face. It would give off those fake bad-ass vibes, the kind that say "I'm a mean motherf-----" but you know that if you push the pathetic wannabe it will instantly back off, mumbling about "the shoes" and "later," while pretending to have a threat to toss back.

A D-grade student who can't speak Spanish properly, never wrapped his tongue or brain around English (after 100+ years), has the math skills of a child and the science knowledge of a monkey. Who knows exactly as much about Our history as it knows about classical music, which is light-years behind what it knows about the latest telenovela, action movie or Miss Universe pageant.

A student so bored with learning that it chooses to let its standards slide rather than exploring their declining significance. One who has stopped demanding improvement because even demanding is too much work. One who sees education as the business of highlighting weaknesses to throw increasingly-large amounts of money at the problems, and that if there is no money to be had, then there is no problem to solve.

A D-grade student in a world that rewards A- and B-levels. A D-grade chronic underachiever in a world where learning is vital and more important every day. A slacker with the open-mouthed dullness of inbred incompetence, the incestuous product of greed and indifference. A subnormal spaz with lizard-brain ethics, barely rising above instincts on its best day. A money-grubber, constantly sniffing for the easiest path to cash.

Is there potential in this D-grade student? Certainly. Even rocks can deliver water if squeezed hard enough. But unlike the aforementioned rock, the D-grade student that is Our misbegotten education system can choose to become better, can opt for the progress and growth, can elect to make itself a C-grader, then maybe a B or--dare We hope--an A student. The choice, the basic choice that needs to be made, is not about curriculum, or educational theory or de-unionization: It's about totally separating politics from education. The choice is to get the D-grade student out of the illegitimate, ill-intentioned and crassly debased hands of the gang of Fools and placing it squarely in the hands of social developers, educators, researchers and professionals for whom a positive social result in education is the only goal worth pursuing.

Only one choice is needed, albeit a seemingly hard one. For only a D-grade slacker knows how hard it is to stop being comfortable in failure and strive for excellence. For the A- and B-levels among Us, the only hard thing about it is tolerating the all-too-many who settle for all-too-little.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

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