My summer so far has been relaxing, but boring; even so, it is better than the alternative: school. Albert Einstein once said “Whatever you do, don’t let your schooling interfere with your education.” While my unhappiness at the thought of school is not as radical, I think he was correct. This talk about school reminds me of one of the funnier incidents in school – we could forever change schooling.
My social studies teacher, Mr. Goldberg, had told us the day before to study for a “pop quiz”, ten questions long, about the Catholic Church in Europe. I, who never bother to study and still manage a 4.0, disregarded preparing for this quiz, as did many others. The test was impossibly hard! The following day, when he handed out the papers, I looked at it and quite literally blinked. The best score in the class was a horrendous 6/10 achieved by a few smart students (me included), some of the luckier ones, as well as a few of those that had studied very hard (that’s 5 students). Next, Mr. Goldberg told us that it was worth one hundred points. Even the most robust A+ could not survive a blow like that. Needless to say, students who cared at all about grades were dying inside. Ten minutes later, he said there was a notice from the principal:
“A new suggestion has led to the available purchase of academic points. For ten cents a point, students may buy an unlimited supply of extra credit.”
Needless to say, a large debate ensued; the children who had bad grades and who were ethically uneducated about merit claimed that this was a wonderful change, whereas the children who had good grades, and cared about merit argued that this was downright bribery. Our consternation increased when Johnny Marreta discovered that he had $3.00 in his pocket, and purchased 30 extra credit points, enough to bring his grade up by one letter. Students like Kevin Shong (assuredly not Chinese despite his surname) talked about how much “money I will bring tomorrow” and how “great this is”.
The next day, our teacher assured us that we could contribute money to “support the school”, and people produced money up to $20.00. Soon, only a few devout scholars had not paid money for a free grade. Luckily, we discovered that the only teacher in the school supporting this horrid activity was Mr. Goldberg. Many of our teachers told us that they would not support this, but this was a bitter pill to swallow.
At the end of the week, Mr. Goldberg told us that this was all a joke designed to model the available purchase of pardons/indulgences arranged by the Catholic Church. All money was returned, and to some relief, and some extensive disappointment, the class was dispersed. A good thing that came out of it, though, was a laugh and some knowledge… we all knew who the cheaters were!