The Dumb Class
If we reversed the usual image of the school as mirror of society to make society the mirror of the school, and then tracked the school/society into an ability group—you know, high, high-average, average, low-average, high-low, low-low—the poorest undoubtedly would come out in the low-low group. That school, and all those in it, would be identified as failures, members of the dumb class. And with economic stimulus money flying out of Washington, some conservatives might legitimately wonder, Why put good money after bad?
After all, these kids are in the dumb class because they cannot achieve. They lack skills and cannot concentrate. They have low attention spans and are culturally deprived. They are brain-damaged, nonverbal, unmotivated, and lazy. Try as one might, making the dumb class learn to do what we say is impossible, despite hiring experts, devising strategies, and raising standards. Even if there were no limits to our budget, the dumb class couldn’t learn the standards or achieve proficiency in them.
Children in the dumb class are just not smart enough to succeed in school, at least according to Charles Murray’s best-selling book Real Education . It’s educational romanticism even to think they can learn what the school has to teach. In fact, let’s act on Murray’s recommendation and not be phobic about saying it out loud: There are reasons these kids are...
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