Skip to comments.(Vanity) An Analogy to Taxes
Posted on 08/21/2005 9:01:00 AM PDT by grey_whiskers
Congressman Dick Gephardt of Missouri has often spoken of "the winners in life's lottery" and feels that they should do more to help those less fortunate than themselves. He was speaking, of course, of the economic arena. But why not extend this idea to other aspects of life?
One of the areas of our society in which there are great inequities between the "haves" and the "have nots" is in the area of academics. And these inequities are not merely found in the chasm between failing inner city schools, with their poor facilities, drugs, violence, and overwhelmed faculty and administrators, and the lush, clean, safe, well-supplied suburban facilities. Even within any school, there is a hierarchy of achievment and success: from the superstarts who regularly ace their exams without effort, to the typical students who do their best, with the occasional triumph or stumble, to those for whom even completing an assignment is a struggle.
Wouldn't it be wonderful be able to assign all of the points earned by a class (whether on one assignment, or for a whole day, or a whole week) into a bucket, and to distribute those points among all the members of the class, in order to assure that "no child is left behind"?
Here are just some of the advantages:
--a shared sense of purpose. No longer would the classes be subject to relentless competition, wih students stabbing each other in the back to get ahead. Instead, all students would have a natural interest in cooperating, since all of the points earned would be shared for the common good.
--lack of stigmatizing. No longer would the students from underpriveleged backgrounds be left behind and humiliated. Rather, they could rest assured in the knowledge that their minimum requirements for passing a grade would be met.
--Ease of administration. No longer would the teachers have to laboriously track each student's progress, and spend precious time trying to tailor each lesson to each student. All that would be necessary would be to track the class's total points. And if, as the end of the quarter approached, a class was running short of points to make its goals, the teacher could simply hand out more assignments to the most advantaged students to be completed in time to bring the score to the desired level. ("From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs." What could be more natural?)
--Flexibility according to current needs. If a class is running ahead of plan, the excess points could be 'banked' for use when taking standardized tests, or when facing calls for tough new classroom standards. Conversely, if the class is falling behind, points can be 'borrowed' from future scores as needed.
Now I can just hear some of the naysayers calling out:
"This is done already. It is called grading on the curve."
While it may appear this way at first glance, an enlightened consideration shows that the new approach holds several advantages over the old-fashioned method.
--First, under a curve grade, there is still a hierarchy established between the haves and the have-nots which is potentially stigmatizing.
--Second, real students' scores are not always distributed along a normal distribution, and so there is considerable difficulty in deciding how to define the curve. Pooled grading eliminates this problem.
In fact, this approach of leveling life's unfairnesses between the haves and have-nots is so appealing, that I envisage its application to many other areas of life as well. For example, just consider the possibilities if sports stars and rock musicians were required to share some of their fame, and offers for, well, companionship, from adoring fans, with the less fortunate. Like frustrated computer jocks, or various FReepers. But we dont live in a perfect world.
Yours is a quite excellent and progressive proposal, but I prefer to cut directly to the equality chase:
"It was then that Diana Moon Glampers, the Handicapper General, came into the studio with a double-barreled ten-gauge shotgun. She fired twice, and the Emperor and the Empress were dead before they hit the floor."
What always amazes me about that story is that its author is a huge leftist (although he did serve in WWII, gotta give him credit for that). This story hits the mark.
Either the author had an epiphany regarding utopianism, or the story was meant as a mocking satire of conservative fears regarding socialist egalitarianism.
I prefer the former construction, just because I prefer to think well of people until shown otherwise.
Topical Shameless PLUG bttt.
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