I spent the first seven years of my educational life in catholic schools, k-6.  It was a well know fact that I was retarded and couldn't be expected to perform at the same level as the other children, so whatever I did, the nuns just accepted and for the most part left me alone.  In the seventh grade I transferred to the public school system, and discovered the library.  In the ninth grade they tested all the students as to level of proficiency.  My parents were asked to come and meet with the guidance counselor.  When the guidance counselor told my parents that I should probably skip high school,  my parents asked: "is there no point? can't he at least learn some of the material?"  She said, you don't understand, he's performing at a 16th grade level, he's too advanced for the material in high school.  

I have always been confused by this, I didn't change, I didn't feel any different, but suddenly the things I talked about weren't the confused ramblings of a developmentally disabled (back then they just said retard) child, but I was some sort of genius.  I am dyslexic, something I didn't learn until my early thirties, and maybe that explains some of it.  But I think that the mindset of the nuns in a parochial school just made them assume that if they couldn't understand what I was talking about it must be gibberish and the fact that my handwriting is illegible (I still cant read it!) only added support for this opinion.

I have always heard how much superior a catholic school education is compared to the public school's, and maybe that's the answer: "In the land of the blind, the one eyed man is king" and I was just an ignoramus among all the towering intellects that I left behind but shone compared to the feeble minds in the general public.  But I always felt that I learned in spite of catholic school.  

Surely I'm not the only one to whom this happened, any similar experiences? 

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Tags: education

Comment by Paula Rose on April 11, 2011 at 12:44am
I was in a catholics girls school from prep to yr 12, I went to the local public kindergarten. I hated the catholic school, they are so clever with their sexism, in yr 3 I was told by the teacher girls don't build things (I was playing with blocks at the time). By yr 12 maths, I was told that girls are not as good as boys at maths, especially geometry yet it was my best subject! The worst thing I felt from catholic schools is they don't treat girls and boys equally at all and that women's role is to get a job as a secretary then quit that job when married and have as many babies as possible. Luckly we had a health teacher in yr 9 who went against the church and taught us about birth control and STI's so we had an almost non existant teen pregnancy rate. I hate the fact that, teachers who are trying to do their job in the best interests on the students are pressured not to by the Roman catholic corporation.

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