You can’t fake curiosity

Every once in a while there’s a story in the paper that just makes me feel good. Here’s one about a local student who got a perfect score on the SAT:

“He’s very bright, but he’s always been one to read everything he can get his hands on,” [his mother] said. “As a kid, he would take 50 books out of the library at once and read them all in a few days. He would walk to the store reading a book, and he’d remember everything he read. When he was 5, he would recite passages at dinner from a book he just read.”

Today, James Barger reads whenever he has a free moment, and he devours National Geographic, Time, U.S. News & World Report and Sports Illustrated cover to cover every week. He also loves classics such as Ernest Hemingway’s “For Whom the Bell Tolls” and just finished the four-volume set “History of the English Speaking Peoples,” by Winston Churchill.

“I like to read because I’m interested in a lot of things,” he said. “I like sports and music and keep up on world and current events. And I’m good at remembering and understanding what I read, so I usually do well with critical reading.”

Yeah, they still do make kids who love to read for the love of reading. James attends F-M, which is surely one of the wealthiest school districts in the area, if not the wealthiest. You can’t create a love of reading — particularly, you can’t create innate curiosity — with money alone, or else students like him wouldn’t stand out so much. But the money in the district sure must help bring it out. Which is why it’s imperative that we get more funding to any and all of the James Bargers who are attending the less well-administered schools in our area. You can’t synthesize these diamonds — you can only make sure they aren’t buried in the dirt.

One Reply to “You can’t fake curiosity”

  1. Well, I love to read and I went to F-M. But I most certainly didn’t get a perfect score on my SAT’s. My reading didn’t extend to anything mathematical. (Did great on the reading portion, though.)

    Two things about this article:

    F-M is the kind of school where success is expected, encouraged and never ridiculed. That environment is hard to establish in districts where economic issues intrude on educational issues. (It’s also why schools such as KIPP and the Harlem Children’s Zone are so successful.)

    When did the SAT change from 1,600 max to 2,400 max?

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