Don't Ditch Your Education

By Dexter O'Connell (Former Managing Editor, Former Columnist) [?]

Published: December 26, 2008 and Updated: February 10, 2009
Reprinted From The Tideline

When students walk into Pali through the entrance next to Mercer Hall, we are greeted by the words, ďPublic Education is the Foundation of American Democracy.Ē These words ring true every day for myriad reasons. Any person who would deny himself the opportunity to get the best education possible is not only willfully ignorant, but worthless, entirely deserving of the fate that eagerly awaits him in the Army, the homeless shelter, or the Twin Towers jail. These are my thoughts every year on senior ditch day.

In my three previous years as a student at Pali, I always found senior ditch day a useless exercise that was mostly an excuse to go get high with friends on a weekday and then not go to class, as opposed to the other days where the second semester seniors simply found it easier to go to class while high. But this year, after giving it some thought and contemplating participation, I formed a much stronger opinion.

Senior ditch day is an expression of two things. First, it is an expression of the ditcherís desire to remain ignorant. Second, it is an expression of the seniorís desire to show his independence from ďthe manĒ who is holding him back. Both of these expressions are pointless in this context, but for very different reasons.

The first expression - that of the desire to be ignorant - is a classic American desire of recent years. George W. Bush is the pinnacle of that, an American leader chosen for his ignorance. Though we seem to be moving away from that, it is clear that the desire to be ignorant remains in large segments of any school's population. In my statistics class on November 10, a solid half of the class, composed entirely of seniors, was absent. In my Spanish class on the same day, a third of the class was absent as well. It pains me to suggest that my friends were ditching, but itís clear that they were. I firmly believe that this desire, expressed or implied to make oneself less educated, is an outrageous farce that weakens our democracy. Those who participated for this reason should do one of two things. First, they should take a clear examination of their priorities and decide to leave the path of willful ignorance they have blindly followed. Second, if they decide to continue to remain in that grave they dig themselves, they should spare us their progeny and ask their local physician to sterilize them.

The second - the expression of freedom from "the Man" - is almost as stupid. Sure, ditching takes money away from the school, and youíve clearly shown that you are a special person who can stand up and risk a detention to stay home and jack off on a weekday. Iím impressed by the courage of your convictions. Iím impressed by your resolve to get something done to better the school you go to. Iím impressed by all the meetings youíve attended, the countless hours youíve spent waiting through the rest of the agenda to make your one important comment. Iím impressed by your steadfastness in debating administrators face-to-face, and Iím especially impressed by the change youíve wrought from your blood, your sweat, and your tears.

If you ditch, ditch the school entirely. Leave. Good bye and good riddance. Pali doesnít want insufferable, willfully ignorant malcontents like yourselves. Do us all a favor and go to a school where youíd get your ass kicked six ways to Sunday, and then beg to get back into Pali, you useless losers.

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  • concerned parent, on 01/21/2009, said:

    The problem with students these days is that they see education as a right. They see it as something they can use when they please. Its also surprising to see how many parents are okay with their kid not going to school similar to the circumstances in this situation. The problem is that parents and students don't see that there are huge resources put into education. The state of California spends close to half of all its revenues on education. It's unfortunate to say that we need to stop this idea of public schools and move towards school vouchers because we are giving people the idea that education is something that's free. Everyone should know how much education actually costs.

  • Ethan Resnick (Co-Founder, Technology Director, Designer, Columnist), on 07/14/2009, said:

    @concerned parent: I agree that students might appreciate, and therfore more actively participate in, their education if they knew how much it cost. However, this definitely doesn't mean we have to move away from the public education system which, because it is free, offers an education (ideally a good one) to anyone who cares enough to get it.

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