Within the span of one day, I learned just how poorly educated some inner city children are through these two situations:
1. The kids were reading Ray Bradbury's "All Summer In a Day," a story in which there are children living on the planet Venus, where it rains every day and the sun never comes out. One girl, Margaret is fascinated by the sun and spends all her time thinking about it, but the other asshole kids thought it would be funny to lock her in the closet. And while in the closet she misses that one time the sun actually made an appearance. Moral of the story: Kids are fricking mean. Even on other planets.
So back to Chicago, one girl in the class asks, "So are there really schools on Venus?"
The girl that asked this is in the 7th grade, so roughly 13-years-old. I had to just answer the question and let her no that there isn't any life on Venus or on any other planet other than Earth in our solar system. But you know, it's good she asked because now she knows. It's totally not her fault that her parents somehow raised her thinking there are schools on the planet Venus.
2. Some 5th graders (around 10-years-old) were talking about the movie "Friday." I said to them that it's wild that a movie from 1995 is still popular with them. One girl said, "No, it's not from 1995. Then why is it in color?"
Wow. She actually thinks all movies made before roughly 2000 were black and white.
Again, the only way to handle this is to just clear that up for her without making anyone feel stupid. They're just kids, after all. Both pretty great kids that just need more people around them being better examples, making them read, and having conversations with them about things other than reality television.
There's still hope, people. Maybe we just need to be more progressive like those schools on Venus . . .