[rescue] Education (was: Mainframe on eBay)

Jonathan C. Patschke jp at celestrion.net
Wed Sep 21 15:08:01 CDT 2005

On Wed, 21 Sep 2005, Mike Hebel wrote:

>> "No child left behind" == "No child gets ahead"
> I will poke my nose in here as the father of a special needs child I
> will say that No Child is very very useful for getting the help you
> need for your child.

(forwarding to geeks@, as this is decidedly not rescue material)

While yours is a problem that needs to be addressed, the current model
of NCLB is not the right tool for the job.  Funneling everyone into one
tract of mediocre education doesn't benefit anyone.  No school would
-ever- think of applying such a tactic to athletic programs; why do they
do it for the thing they're supposed to do?

Children that are handicapped in ways that make learning difficult have
just as much (not more) right to the best education they can process as
"normal" children and "gifted" children.  I fail to believe that those
needs can only be met in a way that curtails proper education of
students with greater scholastic aptitude.

There are some people who will never grow up to be philosophers or
rocket scientists, but, you know what?  They might make excellent
craftsmen or other skilled laborers, making a living at something
enjoyable and productive and beneficial that they have aptitude for.
The stereotypical turbo-nerds who discuss math problems and assembly
language over lunch might never grow up to be professional athletes or
musicians, and, theoretically, the system is supposed to funnel them
into academia.

-Everyone- is differently-abled.  Why is it socially okay to encourage
athletics or scholarship or music, but not skilled labor?  Nobody says
"Ha!  You're just a musician because you're too stupid to understand
math," or "It's too bad he had to become a professor because he didn't
have the endurance to be a quarterback."  But, when you say "Perhaps the
best route for $child is to become a tradesman," people detonate.

To try to adapt -everyone's- cirriculum (which is what they're in the
process of doing in TX and some other states) to meet the needs of
people who were born with learning and/or developmental disabilities
that require special attention disenfranchises society as a whole.  We
don't need intense specialization in secondary school, but we do need to
realize that a one-size-fits-all education to protect the "self esteem"
of those whose disabilities are stigmatized.

I realize it sounds harsh and cold and almost eugenic, but you needn't
go further than a newspaper from 40 or 50 years ago to see how far basic
skills like reading comprehension have fallen in this country.  We may
be protecting self-esteem, but we're doing so at the expense of our

Jonathan Patschke   )  "When we are young, wandering the face of the
Elgin, TX          (    earth, wondering what our dreams might be worth,
USA                 )   learning that we're only immortal--for a limited
                    (    time."                              --Neil Peart

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