First-time readers, this blog is set in the future (sometime after 2020).  This entry assumes the Revenge Revolution has occurred.  For more about the anticipated 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution — and more about the author, Entry #1.  Note: most characters appear in a number of entries, with many entries building on previous conversations.  You’ll catch on quickly.  Thanks for your time and interest…and comments. 

Scene: Conversation about education starts Entry #153. Jordan and JC, a long-time friend (and frequent character) are having dinner. Time of year – just about when school starts.  Jordan and JC continue conversation after talking informally to some people at nearby tables.

JC: “So what do you find out? People think the idea of earning a merit 010414_1635_16TeachingS1.jpgbadge for completing certain ‘courses for dummies’ might reduce the stigma of not knowing certain topics?”

Jordan: “The people who I talked to thought the idea was interesting and intriguing. But they also suggested we run a pilot program.”

JC: “The groups I talked to had a similar reaction. The idea of eliminating the stigma of learning basic skills…topics that you should know…was well received.”

Jordan: “What about a pilot program to test the idea?”

JC: “We didn’t talk specifically about a pilot but the groups were concerned that implementing the program too quickly might backfire. They wanted to build support at the grass-roots level rather than mandate from the superintendent’s office…and certainly not from the individual states or Washington.”

TurtleneckJordan: “Why are so many people in this country against a national education program? When you go off to college or get a job there is an expectation of a certain level of learning. You can’t have 50 different standards.”

JC: “More like 500 or 5,000 different standards if you consider all the school districts.”

Jordan: “Can you imagine every auto plant having different standards for crash worthiness, turn signals, tire quality, etc. At the end of the day, like it or not, education is much like having kids go down an assembly line. In first grade, they start out at the beginning of the assembly line and assembly lineby the time they complete high school, they are a functioning chassis that can drive away.”

JC: “What about college or trade school?”

Jordan: “College and trade schools add more options and make engine performance better. But when kids graduate from high school, they should be prepared to function in the real world.”

JC: “I agree but I also know that at the end of the assembly line some cars need some repairs. What happens with these cars…kids?”

Jordan: “Let’s fix the kids. Many kids drop out of school because they have not thought through the consequences or there is some tragedy in their life. We…the proverbial societal we…have to grab these kids and make sure they get enough training to get out of high school.”

JC: “Even if they are older?”

Jordan: “Getting people who are older back through high school is even more old_woman_walkingimportant. I don’t care if someone is in their 90’s. If they want to finish high school, my vote is to have the taxpayers fund the program.”

JC: “Doesn’t that seem like a waste of money? I mean training someone who is that old?”

Jordan: “I think there is value created from two perspectives. Chances are the person who is without a high school education still pays taxes – sales tax, property tax, whatever. And they will likely pay taxes for at least 40-50 years…and maybe longer. So society owes them something in return.”

JC: “What’s the second benefit?”

Jordan: “The 90 year-old going back to school would be a great example and inspiration for a lot of younger people to complete their education. If great grandma grandmacan do it, why can’t you sonny boy or you sonny girl?”

JC: “Great grandma could become the poster child for the merit-badge program. Never too old to complete your education.”

Jordan: “Now, before we get all excited and start slobbering all over each other, we need to make sure this idea can really work. One think to talk about it in the abstract. Another to lay out a practical plan.”

JC: “Maybe we step back for a week or two. The High Holy Days are coming up. This could be on our list for the New Year.”

Jordan: “I agree that something should be done with the idea of taking away the stigma of going back to finish one’s education, no matter how old.”

JC: “You know what I like about this idea? It doesn’t point fingers at whether you are mirror-clipart_jpgpoor or rich, whether you did or did not have a supportive home life and all the other ‘symptoms’ of why someone did not do well in school. The idea holds up a mirror and says, ‘If you want to finish your education, you have to make the effort but we will help you.”

Jordan: “I agree. The school board and the public need to make sure every reasonable opportunity exists for kids to complete high school. But teachers cannot fix the kids life at home. What society can do is for kids who caught a bad break with parents, or made a stupid decision and quit school, we will help you get your education.”

JC: “I like it.”