Monthly Archives: January 2012

When status mattered

Remember when status in school meant something? Remember when the more popular kids thought of themselves as royalty?

As a senior today, four times older than when I was the other kind of senior, I look back and wonder why popularity, or lack thereof, mattered.

Let me explain:

The other day my wife told me about the frantic preparations for basketball homecoming at the school where she teaches. She said some of the candidates for king and queen are taking matters quite seriously, going into debt to finance a campaign that might enable them to wear a crown for an hour or so.

Now at our school, Immaculate Conception, back in the ‘50s, we didn’t have homecoming goings-on; we merely had misgivings. We did have something like a prom, in which the biggest fund-raisers were lauded and lorded during their 15 minutes of fame.
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What grade did you get?

At least we passed out a syllabus. Yes, the course outline that we gave out on the first day of class explained what a student needed to do to pass the class.

So, the students at least had some direction: In order to earn a certain grade in this class, thou shalt accomplish certain things. But that’s only part of the issue in that some students believed that simply by performing various tasks they were guaranteed an “A.” The other part of the equation was how well they performed the work.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. I refer to the grades awarded to New Mexico schools, just like the report cards students receive. The Public Education Department of New Mexico just last week released grades, all the way from an “A” to an “F.” No doubt the grades raised a few eyebrows.

But it seems few people fully understand the criteria employed by the PED. As a now-layman, I certainly don’t understand how to negotiate all those hoops and won’t try to explain them here. It seems strange, though, that nearby Mora High School receives an “A,” whereas the local Family Partnership gets an “F.” Does that give the Rangers bragging rights? Continue reading

One is swell, the other’s lousy

Several years ago, I made a trade: a bicycle I hardly used for a dachshund. Heidi (what else does one name a weenie dog?) had acquired bad manners, gulping her food, piddling on the carpet when chided and scratching and chewing on wooden items.

My friend, the trader, who lived next door, bought an expensive, kennel-trained Great Dane to teach Heidi some manners. The trainer promised my friend, Bob, that in no time, the bigger dog would set such a good example that Heidi would soon follow suit by eating only with a napkin around her neck, using knife and fork, wearing a pad, chewing each morsel 17 times and eschewing wooden furniture.

You can imagine where that experiment went. Soon both dogs were behaving like Heidi. They growled for their food, wolfed it down, dog-in-the-manger style, and in short, behaved badly. People often imitate the animals.

Let me explain: Continue reading

That fourth-floor issue

Like Banquo’s Ghost, “it will not down.” The Stapleton-Espinoza-Gov. Martinez brouhaha keeps appearing in the press and on TV. Since it seems everybody has had a turn, here’s mine:

To review: Angry at KRQE’s Larry Barker for his investigative piece, the Albuquerque Democrat State Rep. Sheryl Williams Stapleton, directed some of her umbrage at a Republican representative, Nora Espinoza, from the southern part of the state, accusing her of “carrying water for the Mexican on the fourth floor.”

Now that Mexican in high places happens to be Gov. Susana Martinez, whose office is on the fourth floor of the state capitol. Then all hell broke loose.

Stapleton was angry because of Larry Barker’s exposé about how Stapleton has a high-ranking job with the Albuquerque Public Schools and is a state representative. Though not the only one in that position, Stapleton gets two checks, one from the schools, another for her legislative work.

We call it double-dipping. Continue reading