At what point does Political Correctness tip over the edge into dishonesty?
I ask this question as a mother whose illusions have just been somewhat shattered.
Yesterday we were snowed in, Idgy and I. By the fire we watched the snow build banks against the window frame. We played cards (she won) and chatted, no TV, no radio, no outside entertainment, we were snowed in good and proper, complete with power failure.
She cooked lunch (chicken dippers) and baked bread (day off from calorie counting) and we moved from fireplace to Aga in our quest to keep warm.
It was fun. In modern speak "a bonding experience". I hate modern speak, I loath political correctness in it's over-blown style that smothers reality and teaches future problems.
A rant, yes a rant I'm afraid. A rant against our hiding society, our 'everyone is equal' revolution.
Let me explain
Today is the day of Parents Meetings at our village school. For reasons best known to my orthopedic surgeon, I will be unable to attend. I spoke to the class teacher on the phone.
I wondered why my daughter is still in one particular group (one member can barely read) of the class in every subject, and yet every term without fail I receive a Report Card (remember those) saying she is doing well in those self same subjects. There is no 'Must try harder', 'Lacks application', 'Shows no aptitude for…' etc that blighted my Report Cards all those years ago.
The answer is "Simples" as a certain meerkat on TV would say. "We don't like to label children nowadays, they are not in competition", "Children work at their own pace, at their own levels", "We don't use old fashioned terms to catagorise children", "We don't like to say that it is 'the bottom' group, it is different as all children are".
Sorry, I want to know how my child is doing in the scheme of things. In the context of her class, her peer group, her friends. I want to know why she cannot read Sherlock Holmes with the other kids, and instead is reading some rubbish about a robot that she has no interest in whatsoever.
I have beleived all those Report Cards over the years, I have not jumped up and down and made a fuss, I have been the Quiet Parent. Oh how I wish now that I had been a Noisy Parent, a Problem Parent, someone who Wanted To Know Everything. Alas I was not, I read the reports, went to the meetings, and was told she was 'Doing well'. It is only now that I find she is not 'Doing well' in the larger scheme of things, in her class.
The teacher would not, almost could not, use the honest words, the old fashioned words to answer my questions. If you think Tony Blair was good at fudging the issue, try listening to a teacher avoiding those dreaded words 'bottom of the class'. I'm sorry, maybe it is politically incorrect of me to ask, but I want to know how my child is doing vis a vis her class mates. Apparently that doesn't matter and holds no bearing nowadays. Sorry, life is all about competition, life is about placement and labels, that's life. You cannot hide labeling from children and then expect them to bounce joyfully into a society where labels and pigeon holes are omnipresent. Whether we like it or not, agree with it or not, society labels and slots its members into categories in every walk of life.
The fact that my daughter devours books and stories, fiction, fantasy, reference and information (wonder where she gets that from), holds no sway when she apparently hands in the school reading book with obscure robotic story, and says 'I don't get it'. She doesn't 'not get' the reading, she just doesn't appreciate the story. Is her honesty her undoing?
According to the teacher Idgy will be moving on to Stewarton Academy (a school about five times the size of our village primary) this year and her class group will be of a higher standard than some of the other primary kids moving up there. The fact that my daughter is only just in said group doesn't seem to register. How come there is suddenly a leveling system (one schools kids better than another, and are't we all pumped up and proud that our primary school is better than yours) between the schools themselves, but God forbid that there should be any labeling or leveling within the actual class.
If I had been told before that Idgy was at the bottom and needed help I would have moved heaven and earth to get it for her. I would have danced at the gate, gnashed teeth and stormed the head mistress's study, I would have Made A Fuss. Instead I am crushed, frustrated and helpless and it is now too late to do anything about her primary and formative school years.
My biggest fear is that she will end up in the dross of the big school, fall in with the other kids who 'aren't doing well, tho' of course we cannot say that'. Those who will find other amusements as study in class isn't worth the effort.
Mr x is going to the meeting tonight. He has been prepped by me, he shares my feelings (we do still have that between us) and he will ask questions. Will it make a difference, of course not. But at least we will at long last have achieved a label ourselves 'Problem Parents'.