It’s been decided: Nani will be attending a Danish school.
The placement process has been fascinating. First, we went to an Education and Job Center at the municipality, where we met with a woman who asked us some basic questions. Which are Nani’s favorite subjects and which ones she doesn’t care for? What does she like to do after school and on the weekends? Does she know what she wants to do once she’s done with school?
After this initial visit, we were referred to a guy named Ole. He’s a consultant with the municipality and helps them assess each child’s need. Because Nani will soon be turning 15 there is a lot of concern that she may not be able to learn Danish, that she won’t be able to keep up with her peers, etc. etc. So Ole sat down with us, for about four hours the other day, to complete his assessment.
Nani took a lot of tests that day. Most were standard intelligence (IQ) tests and then we moved on to supplemental testing. This is where things got really interesting.
The first question was pretty standard, as far as ethics go: “What would you do if you found someone’s purse abandoned at a supermarket?”
From there the questions got a bit more involved. “You see lots of smoke coming out of a window of a neighbor’s house. What do you do?”
Nani’s answer: “I call 911.”
Ole: “You mean: 112.”
Nani: “Okay. Yeah, that.”
Ole: “What do you do next?”
The questions continue:
“Why do we need public libraries?”
“Why is it important that everyone in the country receives good education?”
“Who was Charles Darwin?”
“Why do you turn off the lights when you leave the room?”
“To save electricity.”
“Yes, good. Why do you need to save electricity?”
“Ummmm… I dunno.”
“Well, where does electricity come from?”
[At this point I say something along the lines of: “I am so sorry. I failed as a parent.” Ole is Danish and does not contradict me.]
“But before it gets to the wall…”
“I don’t know.”
“Well, don’t know or don’t care? Electricity is a form of energy. Much of the energy we use is not renewable. But according to your quote unquote president that doesn’t matter! If you run out of energy, you just dig up some more? Is that right? Is that what you think?!”
At this point I can tell Ole is getting a little too excited. I interject.
“No, I’m sure she doesn’t think that. Most definitely not. She just doesn’t know a whole lot about energy and I’m sorry we haven’t talked about it much at home. The American schools probably don’t go in too deep – pardon my choice of words – about this issue. It’s a contentious subject in the United States. I’m so glad we moved here.”
Ole calms down after this and we more or less become best of friends. He even offers me coffee.