School solution near as your home
“So, I’m listening to the radio this morning, and they’re talking about the schools being a mess,” said Slats Grobnik. “It’s the public radio station, and the egghead girl who runs the show has got on a lot of egghead experts.”
Yes, the usual suspects.
“Now, one of the experts is in favor of giving people vouchers worth some money and letting them send their kids to any private school they want. Or at least any school that’ll take ‘em.”
An idea that is growing in popularity.
“Right. Except for the experts, who said it’s a lousy idea because it will ruin the public school system if people are hauling their kids out to send them to private schools. And that would be bad because public schools are as American as apple pie or pizza.”
Yes, this noble view is widely held, especially by public school teachers and bureaucrats, who fear they would lose their jobs or have to take lower-paying jobs in the private-school sector. “
“Then another expert says this would discriminate against minority kids because they couldn’t get into the fancy private school that rich white kids can go to.”
There is some truth in that, although many minority kids go to Catholic schools that have low tuition and provide excellent educations.
“That’s what the pro-voucher expert said too. But the anti-voucher expert said that’s all a con game because the Catholic schools don’t have to take kids who bite other kids’ ears off or point guns at teachers but the public schools got to take every gangbanger, and so the public schools get a bum rap.”
Also a valid point. By law, the public school can’t be selective. Which is why Catholic schools can spend money on computers, while Chicago’s public schools have to put in metal detectors.
“Anyway, I listen to these experts, and they must have been going at each other for almost an hour. And then I notice something. Or I notice something that I didn’t notice.”
I’m not sure I understand that statement.
“I notice that I didn’t notice nobody saying nothing about mudders and fodders. Not once. They talked about this study, that study, this statistic, that statistic. But nobody talked about any mudders or fodders.”
“Hey, that is what it’s all about.”
That’s what what is all about?
“The school crisis that never goes away. It ain’t about vouchers. It ain’t about money. It ain’t about dumb teachers or smart teachers. It ain’t about computers. It ain’t about if the school is a fancy building or an old building. It ain’t about if they’re gonna play football or not play football.”
It ain’t? I mean, it isn’t?
“No, it ain’t, and it ain’t never been. It’s about mudders and fodders.”
Mothers and fathers.
“Yeah, that‘s what I said. But nobody wants to talk about mudders and fodders. Those experts talked about implementing and expediting and facilitating and all the other jargon they learn when they got to expert college. But they’re afraid to even say the words, mudders and fodders, and that’s what the whole thing is about. Nah, they want to talk about implementing and facilitating and expediting. They won’t talk about the kitchen table.”
The kitchen table?
“Yeah. It works this way. A kid’s got a mudder and a fodder. Or maybe only a mudder or only a fodder. Or in a pinch, a grandmudder or a grandfodder doing the job of a mudder or a fodder. And one of them, it don’t matter which says: Junior, turn off the TV and sit down at the kitchen table and do your homework and let me see it when you finish.’ Anybody ever say that to you?”
Yes, my mudder. I mean, mother.
“Yeah, mine too. So when you get a kid that’s got a mudder or a fodder or somebody who says he got to do the homework, and who says he got to get up in the morning and eat a bowl of oatmeal and get his butt to school, and who tells him to read a book and learn one and one makes two, then you don’t need a lot of expediting and facilitating. That’s why the public school system always worked, even in the poor neighborhoods. Because there was a mudder and a fodder or one or the other, and they said: “Sit down at the kitchen table and show me when you’re done.”
You are talking about the family unit.
“I hate that sociology talk, but I guess so. But if the mudder and fodder are dumb palookas themselves and don’t care if their kids are running loose, then the kids are gonna be dumb palookas no matter how much expediting or facilitating anybody does. “
Isn’t that rather simplistic.
“Maybe. But you went to the public schools, right?”
“And I went to the public schools, right?”
“And we got the kitchen-table routine, right?”
“If it works with a couple of yo-yos like us, anything is possible.”
You could have a point.
“Sure. But the first thing they got to do is take a look at what the problem really is. Look at the kids who make it and look at their mudders and fodders. Then look at the kids who ain’t making it and at their mudders and fodders. Them’s the statistic that’ll tell the story.”
Yes, but if your theory is correct, what can be done?
“I dunno. Ask the experts.”