Strange Brouhaha

Friday, June 22, 2007

Friday Begins

Here's the first of a couple of meme posts before we get to a Very Special Event. Don't worry, you'll figure it out.

This is Four for Friday.

Q1 - Hands Off: Hugging is now a punishable offense at a Fairfax County, Virginia, school. School children at Kilmer Middle School in suburban Washington, DC, are now under a zero-tolerance touching policy. They're banned from poking, prodding, hugging, and even high-fiving one another. In your opinion, is this a good or bad thing?

Q2 - School Lunch: Did you bring a bag lunch to school or did you buy your lunch in the cafeteria? Did any of the schools you attended--excluding college or prep school--offer breakfast?

Q3 - Paying for Performance: Starting this fall, New York City students and their families could earn as much as $1,000 a year for doing well on standardized tests and showing up for class. As part of the City's new Opportunity NYC program (a conditional cash transfer program aimed at helping New Yorkers break the cycle of poverty), families can earn $25 or $50 per month for 95 percent school attendance for elementary, middle, and high school students; $25 for attending parent-teacher conferences; and $50 for obtaining a library card. An improvement in scores or proficiency on standardized tests at the elementary and middle school levels can earn a family from $300 or $350 per test; while at the high school level, a student can earn $600 for each passing grade on individual Regents exams. Incentives of $25 will be earned for both parental review of the test and discussion with teachers; high school students can earn $50 for taking the PSAT exam, and will share $600 with their parents for annually accumulating 11 credits, and a $400 bonus for graduating. Again, in your opinion, is this a good or bad thing? Should we be offering cash incentives for academic participation and performance?

Q4 - High School Reunions: Have you ever been to a high school reunion (yours or someone else's)? If so, what was it like? If not, is it because you refuse to go to one? If so, why?

Q1: Sounds stupid to me. Look, we as a society are already growing increasingly isolated from one another. Why encourage that? What purpose does a "no high-five" rule serve? What possible good can that do?

Q2: I always brought a bag lunch to school--ham and butter sandwich, or peanut butter and jelly sandwich. For a while, some kid would give me his lunch. I was never really sure why. That stopped, eventually. I don't think Iolani offered a breakfast. (By the way...I think I don't understand what a "prep school" is in this context; wasn't Iolani a prep school? Why can't I include it?)

Q3: Huh. I hadn't heard of this one before. I'm torn. On the one hand, doing well should be its own reward. On the other hand, I'm quite sure that there are people out there who will benefit from being paid to get good grades. If it works without bankrupting New York, then more power to them. I'm skeptical that such a thing could achieve any widespread success, though.

Q4: I have never know what, that's a lie. I went with my grandfather to a function for his high school class. I don't really remember what it was like, except that it was pretty cool to be traveling with essentially no supervision. I have never been to one of my own (20th this year...yikes), for a couple of reasons: first, it's expensive to return to Hawaii; and second, I really have no desire to see any of the people who are likely to attend that sort of thing. There are exceptions, of course, and you know who you are.


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