Despair at the Printer

Karen DoughertyHere at the Boomer Box, home to three HCC instructors, we share our food, our fun, our music, and our printer. Frequently, one of us will print something and, due to our aging gray matter, neglect to retrieve it from the printer. Whoever finds that document takes a peek and considers, “OK, does this look like anatomy, writing, or psychology?” before delivering it to the rightful owner. And so it was that I was confronted with this gem:

“A child that has autism learns different”

How does this rankle? Let me count the ways. First, this old pediatrician cringes whenever a child is referred to as “that.” Even Dr. Seuss’s Grinch knew that little Cindy Lou Who (who was not more than two) was a “who” and not a “that.”frustrated

Moving on. Care to take a guess at where the use of adverbs versus adjectives falls in the oft-maligned Common Core State Standard Initiative accepted by our Commonwealth? Wait for it……And I quote from Grade 2 English Language Arts Standards:

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.2.1.e
Use adjectives and adverbs, and choose between them depending on what is to be modified.

My colleague is being asked to accept a paper in a 200-level college course that fails to demonstrate mastery of a second-grade concept. How did we get into this situation?

Say-noBy accepting unacceptable work. Because we’re “nice.” Because we “want our students to experience success.” Because our students were children who could not be left behind. And, if we’re honest, because we think it’s somehow our job to fix it, all of it.

On August 31, the marvelous Dave Davies interviewed Larry David, creator of Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm. David recalled how he dealt with bullying interference from NBC executives who pushed him to modify Seinfeld in a way that he found unacceptable:

“But then I learned another lesson. I learned that when you say ‘No,’ you invariably get your way. It’s a wonderful feeling. I can’t believe I never did it before. Yeah, you just say ‘No’.”

I believe it’s called “rigor.” If it isn’t good enough, just say, “No.”

(If you’re a Larry David fan, you can hear the entire interview for free by clicking Larry David Interview.)

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