by David Safier

The headline promises a whole lot, but I'll tell you what. If you read a better story today, send it to me, because I want to read it too.

The story is about a 90 year old woman named Estelle Manorek who lives in New Jersey. She had never gone to high school, until this week.


You have to watch the video. You can also read the article that goes with it.

The local angle is, she's Andrea Dalessandro's mother. If you don't know Andrea, she ran — and ran, and ran — for LD-30 state rep last election and lost in a "safe Republican district," pulling more votes than anyone imagined was possible for a Dem in LD-30.

Financial circumstances prevented Estelle from attending high school, not lack of ability. According to Andrea, "My mother graduated first in her 8th grade class at St. Anthony's School in Jersey City, NJ." Her skills and interests? "She's bilingual, a voracious reader and opera fan. She went to the Metropolitan Opera House once with me and was able to discuss libretto with other attendees."

The next time anyone knocks our public education system, think about the fact that it would be virtually impossible for a woman like Estelle not to attend high school today. When she was high school age in the 1930s, only about 30-40% of the kids attended high school. Today it's in the 80% range.

If anyone says to you, "Back then, kids knew how to behave in school, unlike today," ask them if today's high school kids would be better behaved if 50% of them weren't in school. We have never attempted to educate as many people as we do today. Never. We have this idealistic vision of universal education, and naturally we're having all kinds of problems trying to achieve it.

Anyone want to go back to the days when Estelle Manorek didn't go to school?