NOT Rocket Science


Trust me, you can relax because, as the title indicates, I am NOT about to discuss the trajectory of a spaceship.  Nor will I be writing an epistle on the various applications of Einstein’s equations.

Did I just sense a collective sigh of relief?

However, I am going to share three experiences that I believe perfectly illustrate some glaring deficiencies in the knowledge base of some of our young people.

Now, before I start, let me clarify that this post is not meant to place all blame on teachers and in the interest of self -disclosure, let me admit that each of my paternal aunts were educators.

Back to my point.

I honestly think that weaknesses in our children’s educational backgrounds are due to several negative social, political and economic factors that have converged to formulate a clusterf*ck of sorts.

Uhh, enough with the pontification! Read these experiences so you’ll understand what I mean:

Experience 1

Several months ago, my friend, who taught Advanced Spanish at a local high school, was testing her students on the subject of ‘Time.’  During the test, she moved the hands on a clock to indicate various times of day. She then asked the students to write, in Spanish, the time that was displayed. Seventeen of the twenty students failed the test.

But not for the reason that you are thinking.

The fact of the matter is that seventeen students failed the test because they had no idea how to tell time on a non-digital clock. The Principal made my friend re-administer the test using images from a digital clock.  Needless to say, the pass rate greatly improved.

Unfortunately, the Principal NEVER even acknowledged the fact that the students could only tell time on a digital clock.

Now my question to you is twofold:  What time is it and does anybody really know what time it is?

You’ll have to forgive me for throwing in two musical references but it’s what I do 🙂

Experience 2

I went to Arby’s on yesterday to grab some dinner for me and my daughter.  The total cost of our food was $11.31.  I did not want to use my debit or credit cards so I handed the cashier five ones and a five dollar bill.  After that, I handed her four quarters.  Finally, I handed her an additional quarter, one nickel and a penny.  Y’all that’s $11.31 all day long!

Clearly, I was trying to get rid of some change.

Anyway, after the cashier disappeared from the drive-thru window, I heard what sounded like a whole lot of change being feverishly moved around.  Honestly, it sounded like a rat had gotten into the cash drawer.

Before long, and to my surprise, the young cashier returned to the window and handed me several coins-along with a receipt.  I immediately said, “Oh you don’t owe me any money, I gave you the exact amount, the total was $11.31 –correct?”

She said, “No m’am it was $11.40.”  She then handed me my food.

Well, I smiled politely and drove off–still feeling a bit confused.  I mean if the total due was $11.40 then she certainly didn’t owe me any change, in fact, I owed her.

Ok, now I’m befuddled as hell!  So when I got home, I checked the receipt.  Guess what? the total was, indeed, $11.31 but the amount tendered was entered as  $11.40 so the change shown was $0.09.

Our dear cashier thought that a quarter, a nickel and a penny was $0.40.

Y’all it ain’t no cash register or computer in the world that could have helped this poor baby.  Honestly, I felt so sorry for her.

Experience 3

In the words of my wise cousin Ron, there is no need to split a hair that doesn’t need to be split.

Now watch me split this one anyway 😉

OK, so recently I went to the deli at Publix  to get 3 pounds of smoked turkey.  The young man working the counter was quite nice; we had a lovely little chat while he sliced my turkey.  Just as he was finishing up, he said, “Ma’am, this is gon’ be too much meat to put in one bag so Imma need to split it up.”

I said, “OK, that’ll be perfect.”

The young man then proceeded to divide the meat into 3 portions; placing each portion into 3 separate bags.  He then went on to say, “Ok here go your first half, here go your second half and here go your third half.”

Y’all, somehow that just didn’t sound right to me.  LOL!

Alright, I realize that many of you probably laughed at a couple of these ‘experiences.’  But, seriously, if you are a parent, grandparent or if you have a direct vested interest in a child’s education, you might want to pay closer attention to what is going on at the schoolhouse.

Remember, the students of today will be the doctors, nurses, lawyers, teachers, police officers, paramedics, engineers, air traffic control/pilots, truck drivers and politicians of tomorrow.

Don’t you want them to be well prepared?









48 thoughts on “NOT Rocket Science

  1. Sand

    This message is sad but true. As a parent, I will continue to fight for my child’s education. The public education system was built to model a factory assembly line. Children are not widgets and one size does not fit all. Next, the public school system decided to measure the mediocracy by creating standardized testing. To learn that schools with high standardized scores only equates to average performance really makes me sad for our children.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Okaaay! You got that right girl! “Children are not widgets,” I love that! Then you hit us with measuring the mediocracy! Go on girl!
      I guess one of my big things is that we need to get back to teaching our children critical thinking skills. Remember how we had to think out of the box. You couldn’t google shit, call or text anybody back then; and sometimes you had to think fast!
      The take away is that we need to make sure that our babies are equipped for a changing world.🌎

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Woebegone but Hopeful

    There’s something similar going on in the UK. It seems there’s too much fussing about schools and teachers reaching ‘targets’ and with our governmental system when you have a new party in power one of the things they do is to dismantle the previous government’s education policy. To steal Pink Floyd’s Wall ….”Politicians!! Leave those teachers alone!!”
    I read a great deal of Sci-Fi when I was a youngster (yep! sure did!!) and back in the 1960s authors were writing warning stories about the ‘dilution’ of people’s capacity to handle academic problems.
    A good and salutary warning Gwin.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Roger! Speaking of Sci-Fi, you reminded me of “The Time Machine” where there was a race of people –way off in the distant future– who were like ignorant sitting ducks-waiting to be eaten by underground monsters.
      You remember that one I am sure.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Woebegone but Hopeful

        That I do Gwin; based on H G Well’s book of the same name; the ones doing the eating were The Morlocks, can’t remember who the other lot were called, have to check on that. Good film.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I remember that one. At the end, the people, who were just “food” for the “Moorlocks” (sic), (the Elans or something like that), with the help of the TIME TRAVELER, who was a man from the distant past, destroyed the Moorlocks, and turned dystopia into Utopia! Thank God for the past, time travelers, and LOVE! lol

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Wow Roger, it’s it’s fascinating that this problem is so “universal”. I think that we must get back to teaching our children to read, write and do math. The standardized tests grade the school system and not the student. They focus on averages and not individuals. Those at the lowest end of the test scores are written off as incorrigible and allowed to “go away”, either dropping out, headed into the prison systems, or simply passed along, until they graduate having learned very little.

      Teachers’ and adminitrators’ jobs rest on the results of these tests. Half of the school year is focused on “Domain” training, which is basically teaching the tests. School subjects, not tested on during these tests, are ignored. Only math, language and reading are focused upon. They don’t even teach subjects like history, social studies, science etc..

      If the average scores, on these tests, fall below a certain level, the Schools are threatened with government take over. Jobs are at risk or lost. Panic and self preservation kick in with the teachers and administrators, and the students’ needs become relegated to secondary or tertiary status.

      The solution is less focus on averages and standardized tests. Charter schools also seem to be a viable solution.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yes Ron, I agree with all of what you have said here. My concern is for those who can’t make the cut. We really do need a workable solution to prepare them to become productive members of society. We really can’t afford to ‘lose’ anybody and we shouldn’t even want to.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Absolutely Gwin because, if WE don’t provide a safety net for them, someone else wI’ll be waiting with one of their own. They’re called: Jail, State Penitentiary, Federal Pen, Bloods, Crips, Morgue, Comminbach and Comminbach Funeral Directors, Inc.(like how I snuck that in?) and the Wide Road!😉

          “The high school I graduated from was called, “Randolph County Comprehensive High School”(RCCHS). A long name for what was simply, a high school which offered vocational tracks; auto shop, wood shop, agricultural, Home Economics, Health Occupations (one could earn a CNA license or LPN/LVN license).

          I’ve read something somewhere about these “comprehensive” high schools. The article contained a lot of trade jargon but what I did understand was that these type systems were dropped in favor of more “modern” systems. Then…Everything went to the devil’s house!

          Solution: Why can’t public schools go back to this model instead of charters and magnets which screen potential students to ensure that the ones needing the most help, are kept out?


        2. People always messing with stuff 😉

          Yes, my school was a ‘Comprehensive high school.’ We had every kind of track you could think of. In our city, we also had magnet high schools. One was like ‘Fame’ and the other one was for health professions.

          Remember, you and I talked about how they do apprenticeships in Germany I think that we should consider going BACK to that method because that’s what we did once upon a time. I mean, do you really need to take PE if you are planning to be a auto mechanic? Some shit is just plain common sense. But as we know, commons sense ain’t that common.

          You and I both know that it’s always about protecting turf or finding a way for somebody to make money at someone else expense. Cough, Cough, the school to prison pipe line that you referenced–private prisons (need I say more). Proprietary schools……

          Oh and don’t think I missed the Comminbach reference, I liked to choked on my lemonade Ron!

          Liked by 1 person

        3. Yassss! That would be another good option,”apprenticeships “.

          Well, there we go, we’ve solved this problem. Now, we just need to take these suggestions to or state reps, State sens, Congressmen and Senators. So that they can ignore us. Then next election let’s vote their asses out!

          Now, I’m heading over to “My Jams”. I heard they is a partay, going over there

          Liked by 1 person

        4. In my county and the one I work in, 70% of the population is Black. The problem is, they don’t vote.

          In my dad’s day, there were “grassroots” voting drives, not anymore. Now I think we’re getting at the core of the REAL problem, APATHY, MISEDUCATION, lazy voting aged African Americans, who, quite frankly, are usually the ones falling through the cracks.

          Liked by 1 person

        5. Yep and as we saw, some of us hate to see a brother trying to do something so they either block it or don’t participate.
          I hate saying that but it’s more often true than not 😦

          Liked by 1 person

      2. Woebegone but Hopeful

        Incredible Ron! You could have broadly been talking about the UK. To add to the confusion our government has opted for cheap semi- solution (of course). There are the possibility of outfits called ‘Academies’; these can be run by commercial concerns or local groups (with some sort of funding) in ‘competition’ with local schools; there are targets and there is much confusion.
        Cases of stress with an Upper Case ‘S’ amongst adolescent pupils is starting to rise.
        They even have developed targets for schools you would consider as Kindergardens.
        When you add the pressures from various media outlets we are gradually sucking the innocence out of childhood.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Very enlightening Roger! I wasn’t aware how similar the conditions in our countries’ schools were.

          In a lighter note. I LOVE LOVE LOVE, “To Sir With Love”. Sidney Poitier is my favorite actor of all time! How accurate was the depiction of British schools in that movie?

          Liked by 2 people

        2. Woebegone but Hopeful

          Hi Ron thanks….
          From a UK perspective the film was a mix of reality & symbolism. True there were schools in the ‘inner-cities’ in which the pupils were given little encouragement and drifted. It would be inaccurate to say that was a typical school though. (I was in that age group when it was made. And the school portrayed was the sort of school your parents would threaten you with if you didn’t work hard at work exams!)

          Liked by 2 people

  3. Jet

    Indeed I do want them to be well prepared!!
    As you know, I’m a parent, albeit, my own children are grown and making their way in this cruel and critical world. I am also a grandparent, facing sending a grandchild off to college with intentions of possibly becoming a member of one of the professions you mentioned. Therefore, it should be realized that I have a vested interest in education. By the way, I am a retired teacher, one who was very dedicated with a sincere interest in all of my student’s success. This should FURTHER establish my vested interest in education.
    I’ve always kept tabs on what was going on inside my grandchild’s classrooms as she prepared for her future. You may be assured that I saw to her doing her best in whatever was required of her. I appreciate your views, believe me I do! However, on the issue of making changes, we need to get back to a time when a student, god forbid, could actually be blamed for their own performance. We need to get back to trusting our teachers and what they try so very hard to teach our children. Instead of the possibility of displacing blame, which may be compromising our pursuit of educational purity, let’s not deprive our children of realizing failure, but making them cognizant of their lack of exertion!

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Some of the issues we encounter are inevitable. As technology advances, old ways are displaced by newer ones. When the automobile began to be mass produced, horses and wagons were relegated to farm use, then eventually reduced to novelty status.
    This is what man calls “progress”. Unless society is reduced to some desolate dystopia by some epic “2012”-like catastrophe, “digression” and “regression” to old ways is unlikely.

    Skills like cursive writing, mental mathematical calculation will go the way of Latin. There was a time when no learned person would be caught with their “Latin Drawers” down. It was required learning in most institutions of higher learning. Who speaks Latin now? 🤔

    I’ll agree that our public school systems suck grapefruit through waterhoses, and that some basic skills are being supplanted by the focus on passing tests in order that goals such as, “achieving Adequate Yearly Progress” (AYP) status or some other such nonsense. Since when did “Adequate ” become our “gold standard “?
    How many children get “left behind” when “adequate ” is the touchstone for school progress? How many fall through the cracks? Those that do, bag your turkey and ring up your lunch.

    If this issue is what we’re addressing, then I’m on board like “Captain Stubbing”. NOW we’re cooking with lard because we’ve identified some of the results of our “inadequate” school systems. We’ve identified the “problem, but now, what is the solution?

    I always tell my employees that I’m open to hearing their complaints, but not unless they have suggestions for solutions. That’s what we need now…solutions!

    I do know this also, whatever solutions we come up with, we (African Americans esp.) need to be behind them, “en masse”(sic). Otherwise, we’re just writers, entertaining other writers and ourselves.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Well said cousin! I just love the way you put a historical frame around things.
      Personally, as a blogger, I don’t claim to have the solutions. I see myself as one who raises the awareness of the reader. There are a lot of people who aren’t aware just how little some of our children are progressing when it comes to basic skills.
      Take for example our young cashier. There was nothing that technology could do, in that case, to tell her that a quarter, a nickel and a penny is $0.31. So if she looks at that combination of coins and keys in $.40 she’s going to have a problem–especially when her drawer comes up short. Does that make sense.
      So much for technology in that case.
      Anyway, I do see your point though and I hope that my role as ‘raiser of awareness’ will influence someone else whose role is ‘maker of things happening.’
      LOL! 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Thanks Cousin, and you’re right, no cash register currently available could help “31 cent girl” but, I AM the TIME TUNNEL MAN! SO, allow me, if you will, to take you on a little trip forward in time; just a relatively few years from now.

        You smile as your daughter drives up to the pick-up window, to pick up your order. You’re so happy to be out of the rehabilitation center today, and you can’t stop looking at your beautiful, smart and loving daughter. She is so thoughtful too; she never forgets to visit you on Tuesdays to take you out to your favorite, drive thru, fast food joint; you know, the one with the senior citizen discount and the pureed cheeseburgers.

        As the car glides silently up to the pick-up window, little Ms. 31 cent, lightly touches the tinted, tempered, bulletproof glass of the window separating her from the customers. It slides open noislessly. She says, “That’ll be $11.31. As your daughter searches for the correct change, Ms 31 cents, pats her head several times, her way is scratching an itch there without disturbing her new “synthetic, life-like” weave job. Your daughter hands her, a ten dollar bill, a one dollar bill, a quarter, a nickel and a penny. Ms 31 cents confidently takes the money, slides the bills into the “bill slot” on the register. She then deposits the change into a “change drop slot/change counter”. The machine hums briefly. A digital display flashes, “Correct amount deposited, Thank you, come again!” A receipt slides out. Ms 31 cents, deftly grabs the receipt and hands it to your daughter. Then she hands her the bag of food. She hits her head a few more times, then once again, touches the glass which slides silently closed.

        FICTION? Yes, but the technology already exists. There are computers which can identify, count and calculate paper money, as well as coinage.

        PROBLEM SOLVED! SUDDENLY, it doesn’t matter if Ms 31 cents can count money or not. We WILL see this Cuz. THE TIME TUNNEL says so. Lol

        The next questions are, what do our children NEED to know to survive this world? Is the current system adequate enough to prepare them? If not, how do we fix it. You can chalk this one up to my military training, for you see, in my idea of the perfect world, identifying problems and proposing solutions are a reluctantly paired duo. One cannot and should not exist without the other.

        Just playing Devil’s advocate. No worries mate!😘

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I love this Ron! And I know that you are doing what you do–play a bit of Devil’s advocate. We have to have people like you out there to challenge us to move on up a little higher and seek the best life! LOL!
          You like how I snuck that one in right! LOL!
          I love your vision for the future 🙂 and as the lady in Forrest Gump says, “And you tell it so well.”
          Love you cous!

          Liked by 1 person

        2. Thanks Cuz! I love u beyond measure. You’re such a positive spirit and a good sport, to boot! That’s what I think attracts so many to this blog. And then…there’s the other side if “brain”. LOL

          Liked by 1 person

  5. Yes Hell!

    One question though, are some of these instances simply time doing to us what it has already done to our parents and grandparents, and what it will do to them and their children and grandchildren, eventually; make us/them and our ways obsolete?

    Remember when black and white TV’S were the thang?

    Remember records (45’s and LPs)?

    Remember cursive writing? Hell, remember writing, PERIOD?

    What about playing outdoors?

    Remember when you had to know how to add and subtract, using paper, pencils, fingers and toes?

    Has anyone under 50 ever heard of an abacus?

    Liked by 2 people

        1. No you don’t need to sit down. I would say keep doing just what you did with this very necessary look at the eroding IQ, common sense, and quality of education that’s crippling our society.

          You’ve highlighted the end result of too much automation, a detachment from quality education, the backlash from having technology do “all of the thinking”

          No baby, don’t sit down – keep coming with observations of this nature – folks need to know just how bad it is.

          I’ve had the cashier thing happen to me too many times to count. One that always stumps them is giving them the exact amount after they’ve already keyed in you’ve given them an even amount. They can never do the math. Sad.

          Liked by 3 people

        2. Hey G!
          See now I was hoping somebody would give me the go ahead to stand back up and keep talking! You know good and damn well I wasn’t gonna stay quiet about this shit 🙂
          Thanks for adding your words of wisdom and for checking this one out!

          Liked by 1 person

        3. That’s another think I like about you – you don’t let foolishness and degeneracy go unchecked. I knew you wasn’t “fittin” to sit down be quiet – heck you’re writer – they’ll explode if they have to be quiet..

          Liked by 2 people

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