July 27, 2009

3 minutes, and about 180,000 numbers.

I just returned from two days in San Jacinto, Ecuador. It is a beach town and was unfortunately overcast and very windy the entire time. My friend Leo's family is there, and his mom of 66 years is absolutely lovely - wrinkly, sagging, dark skin with a strong, long hug and soft eyes.
A large number live in the house, including three grandchildren.

One, Stefania, is attending middle school. Her assignment is to write numbers from 100,000 to 1,000,000 by 5's. I figure that she needs to write 180,000 numbers, times 6 as each number is actually 6 digits - totaling 1,080,000 numbers. She has at least 50 pages, front and back, filled. An organized notebook. Calouses on her hands.

I have never heard of an assignment as ludicrous as this. EVER. I wonder if her teacher understands the English phrase "busy work," IE assignments which have no intrinsic value whatsoever.
Her mom says that some parents do not make their children complete the assignment. Her tone of voice implies that these parents are careless and not invested in their childrens' education.

I remain astounded.

Here's to education in a teeny pueblito in a third-world country.

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