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Sunday, September 25, 2016

EDITORIAL--Thoughts on Charles Osgood leaving Sunday Morning and his excellent poem on a "pretty good" education...

Editorial comment:

I will miss Charles Osgood on Sunday Morning.  #CelebrateCharlie

In celebration of his talent, here is a piece I have often shared and firmly believe is a warning we have failed to heed.  I posted it not long after it was written on a bulletin board in the local school superintendents office and heard several comments about how good it was.  Then after a short time it disappeared from the board with no explanation. 

Currently we are talking at the local level about the need to "develop our workforce," in order to attract new industry and jobs.  This is a conversation that has its roots in education. Tennessee's "Drive to 55" is an effort to increase the education level of our population above just high school, again as a way to attract jobs.  

The poem is 30 years old. 

Pretty Good
by Charles Osgood (1933-)
from the Osgood File, 1986

There once was a pretty good student
Who sat in a pretty good class
And was taught by a pretty good teacher
Who always let pretty good pass.

He wasn’t terrific at reading,
He wasn’t a whiz-bang at math,
But for him, education was leading
Straight down a pretty good path.

He didn’t find school too exciting,
But he wanted to do pretty well,
And he did have some trouble with writing
Since nobody taught him to spell.

When doing arithmetic problems,
Pretty good was regarded as fine.
5+5 needn’t always add up to be 10;
A pretty good answer was 9.

The pretty good class that he sat in
Was part of a pretty good school,
And the student was not an exception:
On the contrary, he was the rule.

The pretty good school that he went to
Was there in a pretty good town,
And nobody there seemed to notice
He could not tell a verb from a noun.

The pretty good student in fact was
Part of a pretty good mob.
And the first time he knew what he lacked was
When he looked for a pretty good job.

It was then, when he sought a position,
He discovered that life could be tough,
And he soon had a sneaking suspicion
Pretty good might not be good enough.

The pretty good town in our story
Was part of a pretty good state
Which had pretty good aspirations
And prayed for a pretty good fate.

There once was a pretty good nation
Pretty proud of the greatness it had,
Which learned much too late,
If you want to be great,
Pretty good is, in fact, pretty bad.

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