Official website of Seattle-area actor and writer Nathaniel Jones

• Parental Press Conference •

            Mikey? That was your principal on the phone. Can you come out here for a second?

            You do what your mother tells you! You get down here or I'll make you get down here!

            (enters) Mom. Dad. Please, have a seat. I understand that you have just been informed of
            some perceived trouble at school. I don't know the specifics -

            You're failing almost all of your classes, that's the specifics!

            Dad? Please. Like I said, I don't know the specifics, but I want to take this opportunity
            to explain how we view the situation. First off - when we began this term, I made some
            bold promises about expected grade point averages, test results, and date of graduation.
            Unfortunately I've since discovered that the intelligence I used to make those predictions
            was faulty.

            It's not your intelligence that's faulty - you're not doing the homework! Your teacher
            said you've only turned in three assignments all semester!

            Please - I'll have time for questions and answer at the end. Right now I'm passing out the
            syllabus for Mrs. Parsons 9th grade English class - if you look at the required reading list,
            in addition to the essays, tests, and the semester-long project, you can see that this
            syllabus was optimistic at best. This, added to four additional classes, meant that our
            resources were simply spread too thin. We had to scale back our operations.

            This reading list doesn't look unreasonable.

            Can I finish? While it's true that we have not completed the number of assignments
            required for a so-called "passing grade," I want to draw your attention to the grading scale
            used. In an alphabet composed of 26 letters, only three of them are considered "passing
            grades." You can't expect a student to hit such a narrow target every time. 
            Despite the overwhelming odds against hitting one of those three letters, I am getting A's
            in two of my five classes.

            You're getting A's in P.E. and Band.

            Both classes which require far more physical activity and mental dexterity than English,
            Math, or Science. And with the obesity epidemic getting worse every day, I think it only
            fair that these two  classes are being used as the strong foundation for the rest of my
            education. Think about that - I'm getting A's in the two most difficult classes, yet the
            principal never calls home to report that, does he? Doesn't that seem biased to you?

            You can't make a living on dodgeball and playing "Woolly Bully" on trombone.

            As if you can make a living reading books? Mom - you were an English major. Back me
            up here.

            I agree with your father - school is important. If you don't get your grades up, you'll lose
            all sorts of opportunities in life.

            Look at the facts: in the past three months, I have read three of the greatest works in
            literary history. I have worked to advance the cause of bio-fuels by effectively creating a
            battery out of a lemon. And I have helped global relations and the local economy by
            paying the Asian kid that sit next to me in math to let me cheat off him. But the teachers
            still want to fail me? I say, we should be graded on what we have done - not what we
            haven't done.

            Well gosh - I never though of it that way, son.

            How could we have misjudged you so?

            I'm sorry, I'm out of time. But I'll leave you with this question - have I failed the
            education system? Or, has the education system failed me? Now, I've got to go - Guitar
            Hero isn't going to play itself.


2009 - Nathaniel Jones