On Sunday I was purchasing tires for our vehicle when I had an interesting conversation with one of the managers of the tire store. As he was ringing up my sale a mechanic from the garage came in and asked him a question about a car. Without seeing the car, the manager asked two simple questions; what year is the vehicle and what sound did it make when the brakes were applied when he took it for a test run. Based on that information, the manager was able to limit the possible problems, and offer solutions for the problems. I was amazed. The amount of knowledge and information in the manager's brain was spectacular. I asked him how long he had been working as a mechanic and he told me 20 years. He then went on to say that he wished he would have paid attention in school so he would not have to do his job. He said that statement in such a way that it took me by surprise. I told him that most people who paid attention in school would not be able to diagnose a problem like he had just done. He just kind of looked at me.
My point in telling the story is that formal schooling often just reflects what the dominant culture views as "smart" or "good". This man has an amazing amount of knoweldge and he can apply that knowledge to unique situations. A worthy goal for all educators. It is too bad that all of the people out there that have all of this wonderful information feel that they are failures because schooling did not engage them. Our goal at RASD is to try to engage all students. This is a big goal, and we are not there yet. However, we have an obligation to keep trying!
By the way, I am at the beach having a great time!