Dawn Reader

Dawn Reader
from Open Door Coffee Co.; Hudson, OH; Oct. 26, 2016

Saturday, June 22, 2013

It's a Mess

Education is messy--like a good marriage, if you think about it.  So let's do think about it.  What if we approached the institution of marriage the way we do another large public institution--say, schools?  Let's see ... what are the steps in assessment ...?
  • Okay, first of all we need to assemble a Panel of Experts to define what a good marriage is.  That shouldn't be hard.  I mean, all good marriages are basically the same, right?  We'll just assemble a few "representative" couples, give them each an iPad (will have to write a grant for this part), put them in a room with wireless and Starbucks and Danish (do not allow any Facebooking!), and in an hour or so, I'm sure they'll emerge, satisfied smiles affixed to their faces like decals, with a few brisk (but compassionate) paragraphs defining a good marriage.  (Maybe we'll pick up their lunch tab, maybe not; depends on how near it is to noon, you know?)
  • Now that the definition is settled (whew, that was easy), we need to break a good marriage down into measurable units. I see another panel here--a different panel.  Some scientific types (geeks, nerds, whatever) because they're really good at finding the parts of things.  Molecules and that stuff.  God particles, though I don't think we ought to get into religion during any of this.  What you believe is what you believe.  If you want to believe that a particle is the Almighty, go on ahead, but that shouldn't figure in our Integrated Assessment of the Marriage Process (IAMP).  Anyway, as I said, science types are good at this sort of thing--very businesslike, very rigorous--so I don't see any problems coming up with a good crisp list of Units of a Good Marriage (UGM), either, do you?  (By the way, it is not necessary that these experts have ever been married--I mean, we don't usually consult teachers about any education issues, right?)  Shouldn't take even an hour.  I'll bet, in fact, that you and I could come up with some right now ... you go first ...
  • Okay, that's done.  Now we need to craft the instrument to measure our UGMs.  There may be a little debate here.  Should we use multiple-guess format?  True or False?  (I never liked T & F--I mean, it gives you something like--what?--a 60-40 chance of getting it right even when you don't know the answer?)  Essay?  (Who wants to read all those papers?  Though, I guess, we could assemble a bunch of retired English teachers--they don't have anything to do, anyway--and let them have a go at it.  Though we've got to make sure they don't mark commas and junk--they love to do that--but commas aren't, you know, relevant on our IAMP instrument.)  I think multiple-guess is probably the best.  (See samples below.)
Whose responsibility is the alarm clock?
a. the husband
b. the wife
c. both
d. neither
e. I can't think of a fifth choice, but we really ought to have five, don't you think?

If a spouse forgets an anniversary, what is the most effective way to deal with it?
a. scream and yell and call him/her an ungrateful bastard/bitch
b. commit a certain level of violence
c. ignore it: love isn't about the calendar
d. treat it as another lovable quirk of your partner; snuggle and forgive
e. What is it with this fifth one?  I'm just not good at this.

What do you do when you discover your spouse has a private email account and has been using the name "LoveBunny"?
a. scream and yell and call him/her an ungrateful bastard/bitch
b. put all of his/her favorite stuff in a yard sale the next time he/she is gone
c. wait till he/she is asleep and do something with those heavy-duty German-steel scissors you got for Christmas
d. open your own secret account with an even better name--like "LoveRocketRideMe"--and start an online relationship with LoveBunny; arrange a meeting, and then ... you know ...
e. whatever

Okay, once we have the Assessment Instrument, once we've administered it to married couples all over the country, we'll need to hire some company to grade them, to interpret the data, and ... whatever.  Then we'll publish the results in the local papers (be sure to call CNN and Fox, too) and find ways to punish whoever it was who was responsible for any low-scoring marriages.  We'll have to figure out who those people are (the couple? their parents? their children? the economy? the schools?--yes, definitely the schools).  I know one thing for sure, though: We are not responsible for any of this!  And that's a fact.

PS--All of this will cost a little--okay, a lot--but you don't get nothing for something.  Or whatever.

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