Psuedo Equality in Public Education

Imagine that you work in an office where some lout across the room chatters incessantly, badmouths other employees, curses and threatens anyone who so much as cast a disapproving look in his direction, and he cannot be removed or fired, no matter how obnoxious he becomes. Nor can you ask for a transfer to another office or quit to find another job. You are stuck in that office with that lout or others like him for the next ten years. Imagine further that more attention and benefits are lavished on the lout than on conscientious employees like yourself who do their job without bothering anybody. Unless you had an unusually strong or saintly personality, you’d probably develop a bad case of stress, become demoralized, and lose all interest in your work.

Such a workplace environment could not exist in the real world. But In the surreal world of public education, it’s par for the course. School officials since the 1960’s have taken great pains to protect students from psychological as well as physical harm. They train teachers not to raise their voice in anger, to respect cultural differences, to be sensitive to learning disabilities, and so forth. Yet, they seem blind to the mental anguish they cause by mixing normal and unruly kids together in the same classroom.

The theory behind this long-standing practice is that when unruly kids are integrated with normal kids, they uplift one another. The unruly ones supposedly pick up good habits from the normal ones, and the normal ones, in turn, learn valuable lessons in human relations by serving as tutors and role models for the unruly ones.

But what really happens is that the unruly ones, unable or unwilling to keep up, become more unruly than ever. while the normal ones, unable to concentrate, become demoralized and, over time, dumb down. The more sensitive ones often develop lasting emotional problems.

Public school higher-ups, however, are not wont to give up a bad idea. The reason their social engineering doesn’t work, they insist, is that teachers lack the necessary skills to carry it off. So they force teachers to attend frequent staff- workshops and meeetings on "mainstreaming," “differentiation,’ “inclusion,” or whatever the latest jargon calls it. The experts brought in to conduct the workshops, though, never stay around to demonstrate their alleged expertise in a real classroom with real students. Once they are done lecturing, they hightail it back to the security of their offices.

These experts and those who hire them work in places where there are no unruly colleagues around to make their lives miserable. Why they persist in denying the same to K-12 students, who, after all, are much more impressionable and vulnerable than adults, is a question begging for a clear answer.

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