two female faces superimposed upon a desert landscape

The Glass Castle

by Jeannette Walls

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What is the quality of education in Battle Mountain in The Glass Castle?

Quick answer:

The quality of education Battle Mountain is low, particularly for an advanced child like Jeannette. When she submits an arithmetic assignment in binary numbers, her teacher does not understand and has her do it over. When Jeannette's mother begins teaching, it is quickly apparent that the students in her class are not getting a high-quality education due to her lack of motivation and organization.

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The quality of education at Mary S. Black Elementary School in Battle Mountain is suboptimal. Jeannette's teacher, Miss Page, has an unfortunate habit of issuing thrashings with her ruler when she gets into one of her "sudden rages." The big problem for the protagonist and her siblings is that they are far ahead of their classmates due to what they have been taught at home.

A conflict arises when Jeannette's father tells her to avoid "coasting" by doing her arithmetic homework in binary numbers. Miss Page does not understand binary numbers and is suspicious that a joke is being played on her. She has Jeannette stay late and redo the assignment.

The other kids in Jeannette's class are described as "scabby-kneed and dusty from playing in the desert." They are definitely not as academically advanced as Jeannette, who avoids putting her hand up in class because she wants the other kids to like her.

I would argue that the quality of education in Battle Mountain has a negative impact on Jeannette's development. Miss Page should realize how far ahead of her classmates she was and support her being moved up a grade. Speaking of this particular teacher's shortcomings, she later gets fired for having been caught carrying a rife into school, with the apparent motivation of encouraging her students to "do their homework."

When Jeannette's mother gets a job at another school in Battle Mountain, she does not contribute to any upliftment of local students. She proves to be demotivated and disorganized, and Jeannette, Lori, and Brian soon have to help her with her work to prevent her from getting fired.

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