(Almost) Nobody’s Perfect!

As one who scientifically deduced the precise number of school days I could miss or otherwise tune out and still get the required grades, may I be so bold as to nominate high school student Jennifer Matre for a big fat SacRag Right Awn?  This morning Matre was honored by the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors for acheiving a perfect attendance record from kindergarten through high school. Can we agree that that is amazing? Way to go Jennifer!

28 thoughts on “(Almost) Nobody’s Perfect!”

  1. This post is being considered for The Sacramento Bee’s roundup of regional blogs, which appears Sunday in Forum.

    The Blog Watch column is limited to about 800 words. Blog posts included in the column are often trimmed to fit. The blog’s main address will appear in The Bee, and the online copy of the article will contain links to the actual blog post.

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  2. The only school I missed was two weeks in 2nd grade when I had chicken pox (and all of kindergarten from skipping it.) Hopefully this girl isn’t as big of a nerd as I was (am?)

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  3. Attendance is important at public schools because schools get a certain amount of money every day for every student who shows up.

    If schools got money even if students rarely, or never, showed up at school… no one at the schools would care that students weren’t “learning.”

    Public schools are just a baby-sitting service.

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  4. Wow Lynn… I am sure Jennifer really appreciates that you just told her she was babysat for the last 13 years and learned nothing. Are you related to Good Time Kit?

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  5. Amrit, I think you’ve hinted before that you’re a teacher, right? I assume that you, my mom who taught in the public school system for about 40 years, and a host of other teachers actually care if students are learning, regardless of if the school or district receives its attendance money.

    Lynn, that’s a very elitest and insulting attitude. Most people can’t afford private school, and many of us who went entirely through the public school system (including the public UC system) are educated, responsible adults.

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  6. Ouch! Lynn, no matter what your opinion on the motivation and/or worthiness of public schools, you have to admit it’s pretty impressive on the part of Miss Matre and her parents that she demonstrated such a high level of reliability and commitment at such an early age. I think you’d be hard-pressed to find folks in any job or school who have literally never missed a single day in 13 years. And by the way, why shouldn’t the state tie some of its funding criteria to attendance? Presumably schools with higher numbers of attending students have greater expenses in at least some budget categories. As I said, I personally exhibited a rather liberal attitude toward attendance in my own schooling, but I think it’s hard to argue that attending school regularly, or rewarding children who attend school regularly, is a bad thing.

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  7. Lynn: You are correct about Federal money being tied to attendance. However, you can’t think of a single other reason school administrators would have for wanting kids to actually attend school? Something about books and writing and learning stuff? Not ringing a bell so to speak?

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  8. lynn, pardon me, but you are not thinking clearly. how dare you say they are a babysitting service. do you know how much my babysitting service costs me? i’m sorry that you went to a crappy school and carry some baggage with you about that. my schools were wonderful and my teachers were insightful and energetic while being paid very little; i actually learned to read and write japanese in high school. how many people can say that their baby-sitting service teaches them that!? you can crap on the public school;s all you want but the fact of the matter is that we need them and we the people are failing them, not the other way around. so when you are saying that public schools suck, think about all the money they need to survive (think about how much yourt college textbooks cost) and then think about the i think iot was 7 million dollars a year we spend picking up trash on california’s freeways. now, who is failing who? i’t also be interesting to see how many people think that their kids schools are bad vs how many parents actually volunteer at said schools to help make them better.

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  9. I attended a Catholic high school for a year. I took eight classes a semester and spent several hours a day doing homework.

    I transferred to a public high school after one year. It was my choice. I attended high school in a middle class suburb in another part of the state.

    I took less classes at the public high school. The teachers assigned a lot less homework. I had a different “academic” advisor each year. All of them were incompetent. None of them cared about my future.

    Pep rallies were important at that public high school. The pep rallies were held before lunch. The pep rallies took away from valuable classroom time that could have been spent “learning.” Attendance at the pep rallies was required. The players on the football team were announced individually. No one ever cheered along with the cheerleaders. The only reaction from the audience was when one of the baton twirlers dropped her baton: several people laughed.

    Football games and the prom were also an important part of that public high school.

    There were only 500 students at the private high school: that school was all about academics and giving girls the best possible future. For example, all students were required to take a foreign language. Not everyone could learn… three of the girls in my first year foreign language class were sophmores: they were repeating the first year… but at least everyone had the chance to learn.

    There were over 1,600 students at the public high school… and I was just one of the masses.

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  10. Lynn: your public school teachers might have been ineffective in many ways, but they did manage to teach you how to captivate a blog audience. What color were the uniforms? What was the hotshot quarterback’s name?

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  11. And one time I got really sick drinking margaritas – but I certainly don’t believe that ALL margaritas are bad.

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  12. Lynn, maybe if you had a little more spirit the pep rallies wouldn’t have sucked so bad. I mean, the cheerleaders can only do so much.

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  13. When I was a senior at Jesuit, the sophomore class was pegged as having “low spirit” so they were forced to carry “spirit cards” and show those cards to a school official at events to get “spirit points”… that sounds made up but i assure you it is not. Are there any raggers out there from that class?

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  14. Those sophmores were trash, we could out “Red Brick Wall” them anytime. I have no idea why they didn’t jump on board with our overwhelming school spirit, especially with the most cynical male cheerleaders in existence cheering them on. Come on, if Matt Huffman can’t get your school dander up, I don’t know who can.

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  15. The academic part of college prep schools is just fine… so those in charge at that type of school have the luxury of spending their time trying to improve other aspects of their schools. But before those in charge at public schools spend even one second planning pep rallies, or promoting football games… they should figure out how to improve the so-called academic aspect of public schools.

    When I was at the Catholic high school, one girl spent the entire year talking about the public school she was going to transfer to. She said she was going to transfer to a public school because that’s what her sister did. She seemed so excited and happy when she talked about the public school, that I wonder if her sister ever mentioned negative aspects of the school. It was a different public school than the one I transferred to, but in a similar neighborhood. I also used to read a lot of fiction: in the books that I read, public schools were always presented in a positive light.

    I was disappointed when I found out what public schools were like. School should be about learning… going to class during the day and doing homework after school… it should not be about attending pep rallies during the day and watching TV after school.

    I remember watching pep rallies and wondering why I was supposed to care who was on the football team.

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  16. Lynner – I am going to try one last attempt at clarifying here. First – the article is about celebrating Jennifer’s amazing attendance feat. No one mentioned public schools vs private. Another time, another place.
    Second – just something for you to mull over – in your daily world do you ever solve geometry proofs or discuss the secret meanings behind Piggy and his glasses? – NO. You have to socialize and relate to people while completing sometimes menial tasks. Therefore the point of education is to not only fill you with how to attain and retain knowledge, but it is also teaching you how to interact and relate to all kinds of people, including football players. So while pep rallies were obviously not your bag, other people liked them and have fond memories of Matt Huffman. It sounds like you missed the boat on that and didn’t learn to care about the others in your short stint at that hellish public school. Now before you go posting again… remember – Jennifer Matre just completed approximately 2,340 school days and I think she rocks.

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  17. Thank you Amrit. That’s all I’m saying – way to go to a young person who obviously has some interesting determination and commitment. I think it shows good character in this day when we see many young women getting attention for negative and worthless things. (Paris Hilton, anyone?) There’s all kinds of things that can be said about schools of any type but the fact is we’re looking at a student who has shown unusual dedication to the opportunity she was provided. Whether or not you believe in the quality of that opportunity, the student should get some recognition. So, can I get a Right Awn or what?

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  18. From the lack of reactions during the pep rallies, no one at my high school seemed to be interested in them.

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  19. Did Jennifer Matre have an advisor who talked her out of a class she wanted to take? If she showed up every day, even though none of her classes were challenging or interesting, that’s an accomplishment!

    amrit wrote that there’s more to high school than geometry and discussing piggy… that it should be about learning to interact with all types of people. At the grade school and high schools that I attended, everyone ate lunch with, and socialized with, their own friends. People talked to others during group assignments during class… but other than that, people typically kept to their own friends.

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  20. Seriously! Maybe a Breakfast Club-Heathers double feature. Lynn, lots of us had sucky and lonely high school experiences and I’m no stranger to the Smiths and hating pep rallies but come on, at some point you have to just get over yourself and be happy for others who have a moment in the spotlight. The only point here is, once again, Jennifer Matre Right Awn.

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  21. I was always of the thought process of school is what you make of it. You can, even if you got to public school like me, make school a worthy endeavor. Also which is worse the forced worship of the football team at the public school or the forced worship of god at a catholic school? Both are kind of similar if you ask me.

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  22. God wasn’t worshipped at the Catholic high school that I attended: education was… all Catholic high schools are college prep… There was never any praying at the Catholic high school. The students just went to church as a group once. There was a religion class, (which was mostly bible study). Religion was not involved in any of the other classes.

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  23. Lynn–at that great Catholic school of yours, did they teach you that making universal generalizations from a single experience is not the way to make a coherent, persuasive argument?

    I went to a public school, got a fantastic & well-rounded education, went on to an Ivy League college and two graduate degrees. (Our pep rallies were not mandatory, and I got through 4 years without attending a single sporting event.)

    But I do not extrapolate from my experience to the entire public school system.

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  24. Kaydee,

    From what I’ve read, every single Catholic high school is college prep… of course I can only write in detail about the Catholic high school that I attended.

    You said that you got a good education at your public high school. Some students at the public high school that I attended took the “right” classes, but most students didn’t. I knew two students who were accepted at Stanford.

    The typical public high school student takes grade school math, art, home ec…

    I remember the student body president dropped a class that he liked, and replaced it with a class that would be good for him. I was in the classroom at the time. Was somebody helping him figure out exactly what classes he should take?

    When I told somebody that my “academic” advisors didn’t help me with anything… that person told me that I should have figured out for myself what classes I should have taken; and what grades I needed to get into a good college.

    I always wondered if the few students who got into good colleges figured out everything on their own; or if their advisors helped them with anything.

    My advisors were disinterested in me. They didn’t care.

    I’ve met several people who had gone to other public high schools; and who, like me, did nothing in high school.

    What was good about the Catholic high school is that the girls didn’t have to figure it out for themselves. They were all automatically put into classes that would give them the best chance at getting into good colleges.

    Also, when I looked at the Catholic high school’s website, I found out that 99 percent of the most recent graduating class went on to four-year colleges. How many public schools can make that claim?

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  25. HOORAY FOR JENNIFER!! She is a great example of perseverance and motivation. I salute her… and wish there were more kids like her.

    (Lynn – apparently in your Catholic school they left out the reading comprehension portion of your program – this is about Jennifer – NOT YOU.)

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