"Young man," the principal said, "your teacher tells me you've been acting out again. She says you have criticized her teaching style, her sincerity and even her competency. Before I decide what to do about you, I'm going to give you a chance to tell your side."
"If you don't mind, sir, I'm going to use my time a little differently, I'm going to give the teacher some credit. I think she has done some good things, and she's entitled to credit for that. What I think we need, however, is to move forward, not just congratulating ourselves. I like my teacher, but -- and this is not personal -- there are deep differences between us."
"That all sounds very good, but that doesn't explain why you had to call her 'ignorant.'
"Well, I guess I'm reminded of what Will Rogers once said of another leader. 'It'snot what she doesn't know that bothers me, it's what she knows for sure that just ain't so.'
"Bite your tongue, young man. By the way, your teacher tells me that your classroom participation has fallen off. If I let you stay in school, what assurance can you offer that you will do better next term?"
"Well, some of her facts and figures just don't stand up. Yes, there has been an increase in my nonperformance, but it is a lower rate of increase than it was in the preceding semester. It has begun to decline, but it's still going up."
"What kind of answer is that? And why in heaven's name are you wearing makeup?"
"Certainly education and training are crucial. But if young Americans are not attractive to employers, theyre not going to get jobs."
"That's all very well, but the fact remains that your classroom protion is down. What's the reason for that?"
"My answer is that the semester isn't over yet, and at the end I think you're going to see a strong verdict in favor of the approach I'm taking. The American people want their children educated. The problem is there has been a tremendous influx of foreign students, and that is unfair to our children."
"I'm sitting here like the great schoolteacher letting you get away with things. May I ask in the future that your rebuttal stick to what the rebuttal is, and also, foreign policy is next semester. Stop dragging it in by its ear into this one."
"Well, all right, sir, but one of the key tests of leadership is whether one sees clearly the nature of the problems confronted by our nation. I respect my teacher, I respect school, and I think she knows that, but . . . "
"Young man, I've had about all I can take of your glib answers that have nothhand. The fact is you've been acting up in class, you've been smarting off with the teacher, and you've been absent so many times I've lost count. Why, if you have so much respect for education, have you spent so much time out of school?"
"The answer to your question is very simple about why I don't go to school. I have gone to school regularly all my life, and I started to here. But now there have been a lot of reports of child abuse and assaults on children, and, therefore, I don't feel I have a right to go to school knowing that my being there could cause something of the kind we have seen in other places. I miss going to school, but I think the superintendent understands."
"All right, son, I think I'm going to let you return to class, but on one condition. You can watch all the cartoons and situation comedies you want to, but I forbid you to watch any more presidential debates."