Welcome to the "New School"
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 by Ron Cruger
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         “Ladies and gentlemen, fathers, mothers and children. Welcome to this initial parent- teacher’s meeting to familiarize you with how the ‘New School’ will operate. Thank you for showing your interest in this revolutionary new education system.”
         The speaker, the school’s principal, an energetic woman in her mid-thirties, stood at the microphone set up in the all-purpose room on the ground floor of the newly constructed school.
         “To begin, the ‘New School’ is the result of years of research and investigation into the actual benefits of our education system, from kindergarten to high school graduation.”
         “I’m sorry to report to you that this research, compiled from schools and students across the country for the past fifty years, shows that our education system has not kept up with the needs of our youngsters.”
         “Our entire education system has grown old and out-dated. It has not given our children the knowledge and guidance they need to compete and thrive in today’s world. That’s why the ‘New School’ was created - to give our children the well-rounded education they need to be successful in the modern world.”
         “To begin, the ‘New School’ curriculum is divided into two sections. One is the academic side – mathematics, English, history, language, science, geography, etc. The second part is built on living skills which are designed to assist our students in coping with the modern world and its modern needs.”
         “Each student will be given the opportunity to advance at his or her personal speed. Each student will be given the individual tutorial attention to permit him or her to succeed. And each student, from kindergarten to graduation from high school, will be guided, depending on their particular abilities to a college career which would result in employment in an occupation that suits their skills, proven over the years.”
         “Some students will have strengths in the academic side, others in the mechanical areas.” Some will become teachers and physicists, others auto mechanics and landscape artists. Instruction will be based on each student’s individual strengths. Failure is not an option.”
         The young ‘New School’ principal took a deep breath, smiled at the audience and continued.
         “Half of our student’s curriculum will be in learning how to be a good citizen. Classes will include learning how to avoid drug use, respect for parents, safe driving, avoiding gang involvement, honesty, compassion, manners, properly handling money, proper use of alcohol, kindness, applying for a job, advanced computer use, what to look for in friends. The teaching of these elements will begin early in the student’s scholastic history. We will hold classes for parents throughout the student’s school career. We will need full cooperation from parents under this ‘New School’ program. We feel that with the parents’ collaboration we can make the ‘New School’ a model for all schools in the country. We are also confident that each of our students will find their place in the work force and be happier and live more secure, productive and enjoyable lives.”
         “We thank you for attending this familiarization session.” She then announced that she would answer questions from the audience of parents, teachers and students.
         The principal stood back from the microphone and waited for questions. Instead she was accorded a standing ovation that lasted for three minutes.
         When the applause stopped, the Branson family, father George, mother Clarisse and ten year old daughter Loretta walked to their car. Loretta turned to her parents and said, “I think I’m going to like this ‘New School.” Father George and mother Clarisse looked at each other and smiled.