This weekend I noticed that one of my oldest friends has a major jones for 80's pop music as that's all she played on her fancy Sirius radio station in her hip hop happening SUV. Then I read a number of blogs where people listed their playlists. Being a Luddite, I don't have a playlist. I don't download tunes or shuffle them or anything else exotic. I have CDs and even a few cassette tapes in my car. I mostly listen to public radio on this old battery-operated thing:
But, I thought, I've acquired some new music lately. I kind of have a "playlist." I might be cool too! Let's explore what the Marantz 5 disc CD changer has to offer: The Lost Angeles Guitar Quartet: For Thy Pleasure, JS Bach and other baroque masters; Edith Piaf 20th Anniversary; Yo Yo Ma: Soul of the Tango the music of Astor Piazzola; and Nickel Creek: Why Should the Fire Die.
Yes, people, my lack of hipness extends even to my taste in music.
In an attempt to make good decisions for my son's future, I've spent hours poring over educational research, psychological research, school administrator research, guidance counselor research and parent testimonials. This is what I learned:
1) All of the current research on retention in grade 3 is a direct outcome of the Current Occupant and No Child Left Behind.
2) Yet another reason to loathe the Current Occupant and NCLB.
3) The current research on retention says that it is BAD and DESTRUCTIVE and NO GAINS WILL BE MADE.
4) The current research on retention has nothing to do with my situation because the children for whom retention is bad are poor, urban, Black, from single-parent families and attend struggling schools. These children are expected to succeed where they've failed before without anything in their lives changing or any education or social initiatives in place to address their struggles. My child already has a lot of support in place, including a good school, parents advocating for him, and his basic needs (regular nutritious meals, books, consistent bedtime, etc.) in place.
5) We're back to square one on the retention thing now after all of my research because, as usual, nothing new or substantial is studied or published. It's just a rehash of the same stuff I studied in graduate school over a decade ago. I don't know which is more depressing, the fact that I still have no better direction for our decisions now or the fact that poor, urban, Black, from single-parent family kids in struggling schools have it no better now than they did back in '95 when I read mountains of research about their plight.
6) Maybe we'd be better off spending all of our "education research" dollars on inner city schools and social initiatives to help these kids instead of using them as research subjects.
7) The next time the School of Education from UW-Madison calls asking for money to fund their important research, I'm telling them to f*** off and I'm mailing the check directly to a Milwaukee Boys and Girls Club.
In other news, it was gratifying to read how my bloggy friends are just as unstylish and have as mixed feelings about it as I do. I raise my coffee cup this morning to blue jeans and Dansko clogs, t-shirts and fleece. Let's say the affirmation together:
I deserve to feel beautiful, despite my old blue jeans, stained t-shirts and ugly European clogs. I am able to be stylish without making any effort. Letting go is loving and letting myself go is an act of love.
Cue Edith Piaf singing Non, je ne regrette rein. (No, I regret nothing.)