Going to Extremes

Next time you’re looking to kill half an hour, read this fascinating trilogy of pieces about an American family who placed their three children in a Russian-language school in Moscow.  They first floundered, but finally found their footing and flourished.  (Accidental alliteration?  Never.)

My thoughts about their experience were very strong, but also very conflicted:

  1. Good for them!  Not enough kids get to have an experience like that.
  2. Would the kids have wanted that experience, though, if they had asked them?
  3. Of course not.  Left to their own devices, most kids won’t even brush their teeth.
  4. Is education supposed to be stressful to the point at which kids don’t have enough energy to have fun on the weekends — only to recover?
  5. That kind of attitude has landed our country at the bottom of the test-score pile.
  6. Who cares about test scores?  Are they really learning?
  7. They’re learning a foreign language, and fluently!  You know you would have loved to do that as a kid.
  8. Yes, but I would have wanted it to be my decision, and I would have wanted it to be in a less insular and pampered environment.  For $10,000 in yearly tuition, they should be flying to the moon by now.
  9. Your own school costs more than that.  So does the school where you teach.
  10. My school’s not in Moscow.
  11. Moscow has the fourth-highest cost of living in the world.  Baltimore isn’t even ranked.
  12. Are you actually doing Internet research to support your argument against yourself?
  13.  … 

It disintegrated further from there, but I’m not settled, even if the odds seem to have won the day.  Anyway, it’s a pretty interesting story.