Friday, August 21, 2009


I have an 11 year old sister. I was looking at her report card last night and I found it very confusing. There are no A,B,C,Ds. There are no effort marks of U, S or E. There is a numbers system and a more complicated reading code (from A to Z). It was 4 pages long. I wonder if my Mom still has my old report cards. I would love to look at them and see all the teachers' comments. I would venture to guess that, in some ways, they have not really changed in content. Although, with all of the "political correctness" injected into our language combined with the fear of the frivolous lawsuit, I wonder if teacher commentary has had to change.

This long tangent leads me to where my train of thought went. I was thinking about G.A.T.E., the Gifted and Talented Education program, that is still in existence in the American public school system. In googling G.A.T.E., I discovered that it is also an acronym for a totally different type of program in Vernon Hills- Gang Awareness Training and Education. They couldn't have found another acronym? I digress.

The purpose of G.A.T.E., in my time, was to enrich the study regiment of students who had tested over a certain place on the IQ spectrum. So, in 1st or 2nd grade, teachers picked a handful of children who they believed to be eligible and we were given IQ tests. I was placed in the G.A.T.E. program. The best part about it, is that the program really did very little to enrich our educational experience, The highlights of that experience: performing Little Red Riding Hood, or I should say Le Petit Chaperon Rouge in French and attending a Rubik's cube convention. Yes, a gathering of elementary school brainy types to talk about the Rubik's cube? Outside of those two stellar memories, I really don't recall that we received any other "enrichment." Perhaps we did and I am blocking it out. I do know that I was perpetually bored in school, so the program could not have been that exciting. One rather humiliating moment was when, as a first grader, I was coerced into going to a class of 5th graders and reading some advanced sort of book to them. I guess the purpose was to say "hey if this first grader can do it, you 5th graders have a lot of catching up to do!" I found the whole experience utterly humiliating. It turned me, in the eyes of these kids 5 years older than me (I was a year young for my grade as it was), into this pompous little ass who was showing off her skills. I hope these programs have since changed. Chances are they have, as I am old.


Anonymous said...

very astute observations, Urn ... however, GATE did allow you to graduate early and that allowed us to hang out more ... and cause trouble earlier than we otherwise may have ;-)

erin said...

Hahahahaha. Touche!