Acronymns and Education

EdAcThis week I attended my son’s SEOP appointment at the junior high school.

What does SEOP mean?

According to Google it means “Search Engine Optimization.” Apparently my son’s future success depends on his search ranking and visibility on the world wide web.

Well, that’s Miley Cyrus’ strategy, right?

Another meaning for SEOP that Google brought up waaaaay down the list was “Student Education and Occupation Plan,” which is what the appointment was actually about, of course.

It’s sad that SEOP doesn’t have a higher SEOP.

Maybe that’s why many schools are moving toward the new title of “College and Career Readiness Plan.” CCRP is a catchy acronym, but schools are going to have to share it with the government’s “Command and Control Research Program,” which googled at the top of the list for CCRP. It’s probably fitting that public education and career planning for children and a government program about “command and control” share the same acronym.

During the appointment, the counselor discussed the UHEAA, the UESP, the NCAA requirements and the CTE program.

OMGsh!

Then we went over my son’s ACT test scores. I don’t know what ACT stands for, but I do know it’s a painfully long testing process. Luckily, my son is a smarty pants and scored well.

But I’m no fool.

All mothers know that every smart boy is one bad girlfriend away from flushing his future down the toilet.

How do you test for that, huh?

Then the counselor asked my son what he wanted to be when he grew up.

He replied, “I dunno.”

I told you he’s smart.

He’s smart enough to know that at thirteen he doesn’t have to know exactly what he’s going to do with his life. Not that it’s a bad thing to get kids thinking about the future, but childhood is getting shorter and shorter in this complex world of acronyms, and as a parent I’m mostly focusing on building my son’s character right now and fostering good habits (and scaring away girls).

I have a friend who was born and raised in a communist European country. In the school system at that time, students were given assessment tests in their early teens, which determined their educational training from that point. Based on the test results, students were assigned to the programs that determined their future employment.

My friend said at that time in his life, “I wanted to be a rock star!”

He wasn’t doing well in school, had an unstable home life, and his test results slated him for menial public works. He said if he had stayed there he probably would have ended up being a street sweeper. Luckily, he was able to immigrate to the US of A and has become an accomplished business owner.

What this man wanted to be at age thirteen, what was decided for him at age thirteen, and what he became as an adult are three very different things.

Potential cannot always be determined by tests.

Success isn’t necessarily the result of a fixed plan.

Success is usually determined by making the most of opportunities available and hard work. A good educational system fosters an environment where kids have the opportunity to develop the skills, intelligence and maturity they need to create success for themselves.

If they screw up, there’s always the tried and true program of LTYM (Listen To Your Mother).

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