A frustrated mother wrote to a suburban school system in Texas about the gap between the grades of her new stepdaughter and her actual achievement. The girl has been moving through the system as an honor student for years. She received the highest marks and the most favorable comments on her report cards, usually with ” smiley ” faces. Now the child had reached high school and trouble was brewing; ” This ‘A’ mathematics student of asked her father and me a year ago what the lines meant to a ruler. She also was puzzled by fractions. Is not 1/4 bigger than 1/3,’ she asked,’ since 4 is bigger than 3?’ This student of ‘ A’ history had never heard about the Holocaust, the Prohibition or the Salem Witch Trials. Just a few weeks ago, she fought to reply,’ Who was Thomas Jefferson?’ only to finally answer,’ Has he not invented electricity or the telephone?’ Then I started reading some of her English’ A ‘ papers and realized that the work and the reward had little connection. I found errors in grammar and spelling uncorrected; incorrect logic and argument; no original analysis; inability to support a thesis; and a clear...

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