Friday, August 14, 2009

Personal Under Education

No sooner had school ended then did you see adverts for school supplies urging you to forget the summer and get prepared now! Given the cool, rainy weather we've had, it may as well have been the cusp of September for the past two months.

High School was the prime topic yesterday when I stopped at Ryder's Cup for an Americano to go while running errands for work. Owner/Barista Elise and I got to talking about having math tutors to get us through Course 3 math and the various science classes we avoided once it was possible to take something not in the Regents arena. Then I remembered something,

"Hey, I even opted out of Participation in Government and Economics!"

"WHAT? You got to do that???" Elise responded with edge of slight jealousy and incredulousness.

"Yes. All I had to do was take a multiple choice exam to get out of Economics, but I had to write 3 essays to get out of Participation in Government," I recalled. "Of course, looking back now it probably would have behooved me to have taken both of those classes seeing as how I ended up working in government and at one time had a job that involved economic development."

We laughed at the irony of my under-education. I had replaced P.I.G. with European History AP, which gave me some further understanding of the rise and fall and rise again of that old continent at least. Truthfully, I learned fairly fast the workings of government through the internship I did at WXXI the summer before my senior year in college. I was shuffled off to pick up items for County Legislature and City Council meetings. I quickly had to learn what a District Attorney did when we decided to cover the murder of a local man whose body was found in a mini-van in Niagara Falls. It was also my first inside look at politics from a news perspective. A fellow named Chuck Schumer was running against Incumbent U.S. Senator Al D'Amato. The guys in the newsroom called D'Amato the "Pot Hole Senator." The significance has been forgotten, but I think it had to do something with his ability to get local with projects even though he represented an entire state. While my knowledge base was still small, it was a good start.

So my under education in high school wasn't a huge deterrent to future success. And I'd be surprised if other classmates of mine who took P.I.G. our senior year retained what they learned then beyond the college years if they weren't going into a field where it was necessary to remember the inner workings of our country. Not that this is acceptable, but at least we're afforded many opportunities to make amends and engage in our civic duties to know what the hell is happening in our national, state, city, town, and village halls.

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