17-year old wisdom

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We have an expression we use around the office: adult in the room, that person in any organization whose cooler head usually prevails when panic, or sometimes silliness, otherwise would. For example, the Patrick Administration didn’t have an adult in the room last January to say no to the Governor when he wanted a new Cadillac and damask drapes. That’s why Doug Rubin was brought in.

Why the exposition of internal Pioneer lingo? Because of the report in today’s Globe on replacing the”underperforming” label for schools with a gentler euphemism. It seems the Massachusetts Board of Education has devoted parts of its last three meetings to debating nomenclature. Now, I’m not one to dismiss the significance of language, but this does seem to me a bit silly. Fortunately, there was an adult in the room. Who, you might ask? Zachary Tsetsos, Oxford High senior and the student pick to the Board.

“Why are we spending time on this?,” said the 17-year-old. “I don’t want to tiptoe around the issue. I’m not concerned about what title we give these schools. Let’s work on fixing them.”