Robert Tighe

    A life not so simple ...


Education after High School:
    Post-Graduate Training in Education - Northern Arizona University
    Post-Graduate Training in Education - University of New Mexico
      While teaching in Arizona and New Mexico, I strengthened my skills and qualifications
      by taking classes in educational methodology, with emphasis on science, second-language
      and multicultural issues, and technology.

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    Masters Degree in Public Policy - University of California, Berkeley
      The School of Public Policy offers a challenging and useful 2-year program for analysts.
      Economics, sociology, government, current issues, the arts of persuasion and compromise.

    Bachelors Degree in Anthropology - University of California, Santa Cruz
      The idyllic campus location in redwood forests, bordered by broad meadows sloping downward
      to the southwest and the Pacific Ocean. The banana slug mascot, in honor of the unbiquitous
      land gastropod (Ariolimax californicus) that appears magically in large numbers on walking trails
      throughout the campus on mornings and rainy days.  This was a wonderful place to go to school,
      and academically excellent as well.  I studied (mostly) Cultural Anthropology and Geology.
      My attendance was made easier by support from the GI bill (taxpayers, I thank you).

    Associate Degree in Science/Math - Merritt College, Oakland

      At the time, Merritt College was in north Oakland, housed in a former elementary
      school just south of Berkeley, and almost as radical as "Cal" (UC Berkeley) itself.
      I thoroughly enjoyed my three years there (yes, three years) and in the process
      learned a great deal from many talented teachers.

And what about High School?
    Fremont High School, in Oakland, California

      You know how many people and media commentators like to complain about how bad our schools
      are "these days"?  They talk about the rebellious attitudes of students, about bad grades and low test
      scores and gangs and fights and students with weapons and high truancy and low graduation rates,
      and how this "never used to happen" back in some mythical previous era in the United States,
      whenever that was ... Maybe when they themselves were kids, back in the 1950's or 1960's.

      Fremont High School had all of those "qualities" back then, back when I was young.  Maybe it still does.
      It was about evenly split among three sociocultural groups; White, Black, and Hispanic.  It was mostly
      lower income, with all of the dysfunctional attributes that that characteristic brings to a school.  I didn't
      always feel safe there, but it wasn't that bad either, and we had dedicated, hard-working teachers doing
      their best with the raw materials they were provided.  In that way it seems that it was very much like
      the low-income schools I worked in as a teacher for 30 years, up until a few years ago.
      Have things really changed all that much?  I have my doubts.

      I suspect that virtually all of the people who complain about today's schools, particularly those who
      comment about such things in the media, in their youth attended middle-class (or upper-middle)
      schools in affluent areas--if they went to public schools at all. They never knew about the existence
      of high-poverty schools or neighborhoods, except, perhaps, through watching West Side Story or
      Blackboard Jungle.  I would like them to know that almost all of today's public schools in the U.S.
      are much like the ones they attended, with few discipline problems and high graduation rates, and
      that they shouldn't judge the current state of public education a "disaster" simply because, somehow,
      predictably, many inner-city school districts continue to suffer the ills endemic to their neighborhoods.