American Elephants


Thirteen Year-Old Truant Forced Out of D.C. Public Schools by The Elephant's Child

Avery Gagliano has been playing the piano since she was five years old. She was a straight A student at Alice Deal Middle School, and the Jack Kent Cook Honors Scholarship recipient at the Levin School of Music. She was chosen to join 11 other musicians from around the world to play in Munich last year at the Lang Lang Foundation Junior Camp.

Avery’s parents tried to persuade the school system to excuse her travels, when she was chosen by the Foundation to tour the world as an international music ambassador. Her parents created a portfolio of her musical achievements and academic record, and drafted an independent study plan for the days she would miss while touring the world.

In March, Avery traveled to Connecticut for a piano competition. She won the Grand Prix award for her performance of a Chopin Waltz and when she returned to school —a truancy officer was called. D.C. bureaucrats label any student with 10 “unexcused absences” as a truant. The truancy law gives school officials the option of deciding what an unexcused absence is. Not for a very young piano prodigy.  Rules are rules and all that. The truancy office and the school wouldn’t budge. Here she is in Munich last year.

Avery has been forced to spend her eighth grade year as a homeschooler, and the Gaglianos are not happy.

“We decided to home-school her because of all the issues, because it was like a punch in the gut to have to face the fight again this year,” Gagliano told the Post. “We didn’t want to do this. We want to be part of the public school system. Avery has been in public school since kindergarten. She’s a great success story for the schools.”

Avery’s accolades include studying in the Inaugural Lang Lang Junior Music Camp in Munich, Germany, as well as under Dr. Veda Kaplinsky at the Aspen Music Festival. She was also featured in a NPR broadcast program “From The Top” and a two-hour PBS documentary titled “Arts and the Mind” that was broadcast nationwide. All the awards would not convince the D.C. public schools to recognize or reward Avery’s talent. But a little publicity did.

After a column about Avery was published in The Washington Post, Chancellor Kaya Henderson issued a statement saying the column was wrong and they would like to have Avery back at Alice Deal Middle School. They claimed they had excused Avery’s absences for international travel. But during summer vacation the family received another letter telling them their daughter was truant, and enclosed a helpful brochure on the possible police and Child and Family Services intervention for students who are truant.

We have all been reading and clucking over the idiocy coming out of our public school systems. It hardly seems a week goes by without another case being reported. What is clear is that school administrators need some remedial training in plain old common sense. It seems to be missing. Political correctness and mindless adherence to regulations  is the order of the day—from children who are suspended for chewing a pop tart into a gun shape (or the state of Idaho) to punishing prodigies for their excellence. It goes on and on.

Let’s hear it for home schooling and charter schools. If the public schools cannot do a decent job of educating the next generation—fire them.



You Can’t Make Them Stop. Destroy Them With Mockery! by The Elephant's Child

bu-reauc-ra-cy n.1. Administration of a government chiefly through  bureaus staffed with nonelective officials. 2.Government marked  by diffusion of authority among numerous offices and adherence to inflexible rules of operation. 3. Any administration in which the need to follow complex procedures impedes effective action.

Economist Daniel Mitchell has been ranting lately about the pernicious effects of political correctness run amok. It’s really bad in The United Kingdom, but our own leftist government is working hard on their own version. It seems to be a characteristic of the left with their confidence that everything can be improved with more regulation. As you get accustomed to an increasing flow of regulation, the regulators—those appointed to actually enforce the rules quit arguing and just mindlessly regulate. Here are a few of Dr. Mitchell’s favorites from the U.K.:

— A job-placement center got in trouble for discriminating against incompetent people by seeking “reliable” and “hard-working” candidates.
— A Woman who was being threatened by thugs got in trouble with the police for brandishing a knife in her own home.
—A man got arrested for finding a gun in his yard and turning it over to the police.
—When the chief-starter at the London Olympics agreed to fire his pistol at a school sports day, parents thought it would be a treat for the kids. Health and safety officials ruled that the noise would be too frightening for the children.

Here at home, we are traveling down the same path. We really have to stop this:

—Maryland  has regulations governing the application of sunscreen at summer camps.
—A Rhode Island boy got in trouble for bringing a toy gun to school.
—The military was criticized for giving Osama bin Laden an Indian code name (Geronimo) as part of the operation to kill or capture him.

Back in the U.K., the world’s most useless sign is installed in Raynes Park in south-west London. The patch of grass measures only 3 ft by 2 ft, but has its own official sign, as ordered by the town council.  The warning appears at a time when officials are planning £70 million of budget cuts. A council spokeswoman said that the matter was being looked into, but the council was unable to determine how much the sign had cost, or why it was placed just there.

The most useless sign in the world, installed by a mindless bureaucracy. Think of all the steps that were involved in placing this particular sign in this particular place, and how many workers afraid to challenge directions, afraid to upset the proverbial apple cart. Mindless, utterly mindless.

And this, my friends, is what ObamaCare has in store for you. It is what Britain’s NHS has become, and people die because other people are unwilling to break the rules.  This is what those with experience in other countries’ socialized medicine schemes keep trying to tell us. The media wants you to chuckle at these funny little stories, but when they come for you, there may be nobody willing to upset the apple cart.




Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 6,733 other followers

%d bloggers like this: