Sometimes it takes everything I’ve got not to weep, laugh, bang my head, etc. when the cultural currency deficit of some of my students comes to light. Example of the day- I was acting out a little skit involving three businesses (leather tanner, rubber maker and shoelace maker) being bought by the same company. The 16 year olds had to yell out vertical merger, horizontal merger or conglomerate. They got into an argument about the answer because many of them thought leather came from rubber, alligators, lizards or cotton. Only 3 out of 40 knew it came from cows. Then they were really upset that cows died to make shoes. “Why would anyone kill a poor cow?!” “How do you think you get bacon you idiot” “Bacon comes from chickens!” As soon as I changed the example to tires, radios and steering wheels they all yelled Vertical Merger!!! They had all learned the lesson but they still couldn’t apply the knowledge because they didn’t have the background to understand the examples. You read about urban kids scoring poorly on standardized because they haven’t ever seen a farm or visited a zoo or whatever the question is about. Well, it is really true. I see it everyday and they are not the poorest or the most urban kids around by any stretch of the imagination. They just aren’t exposed to much and the more they stare at phones and don’t even get accidental exposure on TV or the internet thanks to aggregated data responses the worse it will get. What they see is getting smaller and more refined all the time.
And Finn loves the new “enchilada” stamps.