Although it’s too legally risky to acquire and release the academic grades and SAT scores of a gifted, stable genius with “the best words,” evaluating the last couple of years presents far less of a problem. Rather than risk violating confidentiality, we will refer to said genius as Student One, abbreviated as Stu-1.
Considering Stu-1’s achievement in a variety of disciplines (except discipline itself), we will limit this assessment to subject matter routinely included in a typical middle school. Individual instructor’s names have been redacted for fear of retaliation.
English: Although Stu-1 is able to communicate effectively with some of his peers, the majority have difficulty understanding what he is saying, and perhaps more importantly, the reasons he is saying it. Receptive language presents other, more serious concerns. Stu-1 has a distinct problems demonstrating his understanding of what others say, regardless of its importance. He frequently will ignore teacher directives, choosing instead to rely on what he refers to as his “gut.”
Vocabulary is another area of struggle for Stu-1, particularly since he insists on having the “best words.” He frequently replaces standard English with his own variations thereof, such as “Bigly” for large; “Two Corinthians” for Second Corinthians; “hamburder” for hamburger; and “Covfefe” for God knows what. His refusal to read, insisting on only picture books, will eventually create difficulty across academic settings. (Grade: F)
History: Stu-1 demonstrates a high degree of confidence in his knowledge of history, explaining “I’m like a smart person.” Unfortunately, this confidence is unsupported by a grasp of verifiable facts. For instance, in a class discussion about the Civil War, Stu-1 suggested that “Andrew Jackson would have put a stop to that” without realizing that Jackson had died 16 years earlier and was a slave holder from Tennessee. He also appeared surprised that Frederick Douglass was dead after citing Douglass was “doing a great job” and was being “recognized more and more.”
During the Lincoln’s birthday assembly, Stu-1 erroneously said that “many people don’t even know he was a Republican” and went on to misquote Lincoln as having said: “It’s not the years in your life that count, it’s the life in your years.” The quote is actually from a 1947 Chicago Tribune advertisement promoting the book “The Second Forty Years” by Edward Stieglitz. (Grade: F)
Math: While bragging about having gone to the Wharton School of Business, Stu-1 was asked to multiply 17 X 6. When he arrived at 112 he was informed that the answer was 102 but insisted that his answer was correct. His certainty that he is right when he is demonstrably in error is perhaps a more serious deficit than his lack of basic mathematics skills, rendering him unwilling, and consequently, unable to learn.
When campaigning for class officer, Stu-1 suggested that “two thousand” students came to the library to hear his speech. Told the school had only 500 students, making it highly unlikely that more would attend his speech, he responded that his numbers were “the best numbers”; his audience “broke all records”; and that he “had his own stats.” The problem was exacerbated by having a substitute in class since the original mathematics teacher never returned from a coffee break in January. (Grade: F)
Science: Again, Stu-1’s grasp of scientific principles is tenuous but immaterial in his estimate of his own knowledge, claiming, “I have a natural instinct for science” largely based on an uncle who “was a great professor at MIT for many years.” But other than this one example of genetics, Stu-1 does not appear to understand that science is based on evidence rather than ideology or simple opinion.
In a group discussion concerning the planet’s temperature consistently rising over the past several decades, Stu-1 questioned the climate scientist’s observations, saying “If they’re right, how come there’s still winter?” (Grade: F)
Behavior/Deportment: Stu-1’s educational team agrees that behavioral issues and lack of respect for peers and teachers contribute significantly to a sub-par academic performance while limiting his positive interactions with classmates. He often taunts or teases peers who “Can’t just call their dads and get $20,000 or $30,000” because they come from “s--thole neighborhoods.” (Grade — F)
Recommendations: There is consensus on Stu-1’s team that he would benefit from a psychological evaluation but doubts that he would willingly participate. Calls home to set up a conference resulted in his parents’ claiming to be childless. Aside from his wildly delusional perceptions of his own superiority, his dismissive attitude toward others creates an untenable classroom situation. There are strong indications that without an immediate intervention, Stu-1’s behavioral issues may very well lead to his becoming acquainted with the criminal justice system. Placement at an alternative educational environment should be considered. The Mar-A-Lago Academy may be more suitable than public school in meeting Stu-1’s vast array of needs.
Walt Amses lives in North Calais.