As a semi-retired business writer who taught in Detroit 35 years ago, I returned to the classroom because a local high school was unable to replace a Latin teacher who had resigned. I hold an advanced degree in medieval studies and renewed my certification to teach Latin, history, and social studies. Once in class, I witnessed firsthand the politicized atmosphere of today’s factory-style government-monopoly schools.My first exposure to school politics came when I renewed my certification.
The 1982 certificate only listed the courses I could teach. In contrast, the 2018 version had a 300-word “Code of Ethics” that amounted to a profession of faith in collectivism, egalitarianism, state schools, and diversity (typically limited to superficial things like skin color and gender, not ideas). Nonetheless, I proceeded, thinking that I couldn’t possibly make matters worse. That much was correct. Grosse Pointe South High School is architecturally interesting, sits in a higher-income community, and is considered a good school by locals.
After an interview and teaching a few “test” classes to first- and second-year students, I was hired. Within a few days, however, it was clear that many students did not understand English grammar, much less Latin fundamentals. In response, I taught remedial grammar and outlined how students could pass my course with a “C” or “D.” There were some excellent students, but test scores were not distributed in a bell-shaped curve. It was an “inverted” bell, or bimodal distribution – with scores clumped at the two extremes.