Monthly Archives: October 2010

The Other Side of the Coin.

What I am going to say here will be unpopular to some, downright offensive to others, and – dare I say it? – cheered by at least a few.

Anyone who knows me knows (I hope) that I am a champion of the underdog, that I want the best educational opportunities possible to be provided to children of all abilities, etc.


Laurel got chewed on earlier this week by her PE teacher. Her offense? Trying to ‘steal’ the soccer ball from a special needs student during a soccer game. Which is, you know, part of soccer.

Laurel told the teacher she didn’t realize the student was special needs.

The teacher’s response? “Well, I thought you would have figured that out by now.” (Editor’s note: Eyeroll. This is, like, #1 on the list of Things You Aren’t Supposed to Say to Gifted Kids, Who Are Also, Quite Arguably, Special Needs.)

So Laurel got angry. I can’t blame her. After school, telling me about her experience, she said, “Mom, I just don’t understand. There are so many people advocating for special needs children to be treated like everyone else, but when I do treat them like everyone else I get in trouble. I didn’t know those were special needs kids, I mean, I’ve talked to them and they just seemed like nice regular kids.”


Why should my daughter perform at less than her ability in order to avoid hurting another student’s feelings? Isn’t that already enough of a problem today? Much of the problem with our country’s education quality is that the bright students aren’t allowed to excel. They’re held back because teachers are trying to perform to a standard that encourages them to remediate failing students rather than push the ones who excel.

And when that happens, the best educational opportunities possible are not being provided to children of all abilities.

That really chaps my hide.

How to Enjoy St. Louis on Fifteen Bucks*

1. Purchase a $15 Groupon good for two tickets on a one-hour riverboat tour.

2. Park a little too close to the Mississippi River for Ethan’s comfort.

Ethan was pretty nervous about parking this close to the river near the water

3. Eat a picnic lunch while waiting for boarding.


4. Snicker to yourself when Ethan flatly refuses to pose on command for the ship photographer.

5. Take lots of bridge and bridge-related photos because the writing-intensive course you chose in college was Art History and Architecture and you surprised yourself by really enjoying it.

Eads King Bridge, Eads Bridge, Poplar Street Bridge MacArthur Bridge Piers for the new river bridge

6. Admire the old electric company and its history (built in 1902 solely to provide electricity to the 1904 World’s Fair, now produces all the steam for the downtown buildings).

Built 1902

7. Take the obligatory photo of the Arch.


8. Enjoy a snack on the Arch steps.


9. Wordlessly challenge seasoned athletes to a run up the stairs, Rocky style.

Rocky 1 Rocky 2

10. Frolic in the shadow of the Arch.



11. And most importantly, say yes when the nice lady offers to take a photo of you and your son, because – as she said – it “means a lot later.”




*plus fuel. If you drive a big honkin’ gas-guzzler like we d
o, this becomes significant.