Rick Jones, proprietor of Curmudgeon Central, launched his Curmie Award last year, “honoring” educational professionals who embarrass their profession. Rick discovered a Curmie-worthy story that he blogs on here, from the Beaver Ridge Elementary School in Norcross, GA. A teacher gave her third-grade class a Monty Pythonesque math test in which all the questions revolved around slavery:
- “Each tree had 56 oranges. If eight slaves pick them equally, then how much would each slave pick?”
- “If Frederick got two beatings per day, how many beatings did he get in one week?”
- “Frederick had 6 baskets full of cotton. If each basket held 5 pounds, how many pounds did he have all together?”
Naturally the school got an earful from parents, and naturally the school, which had no possible justification for such wretched judgement on its teacher’s part, apologized and backtracked. It’s not enough. Why are such incompetent idiots hired to teach anything more sentient than a poodle? How can a parent trust a school that allows teachers like this in the front door? If your child is taught by a moron—and technical definitions aside, that is not an unfair or uncivil description of a teacher who thinks it’s reasonable to give the question, “If Frederick got two beatings per day, how many beatings did he get in one week?” to a third-grader, your child’s likelihood of growing up moronic is vastly increased.
And yet, as Richard Dreyfus’s character says to Quint the shark-hunter as they compare scars in “Jaws,” “I got that beat.”In fact, Rick, I got that beat in Georgia.
Here is a tale of school administrator rigidity and stupidity so blatant that it may never be exceeded. For the Lanier Middle School in Gwinnett County has suspended one of its students for doing the right thing according to its own policies, while acknowledging that the student had also not engaged in any conduct worthy of punishment. Yet thirteen-year-old Jack Persyn now has to serve a four day, in-school suspension.
You see, Jack was given a military-style knapsack by his aunt at Christmas. She bought it at a yard sale, and apparently didn’t check it too carefully. In one of the pockest was a small knife with a one and 1/2 inch blade, and Jack discovered it after he had brought the knapsack to school. He immediately turned the knife in to school authorities as school policy required. The school policy, however, also requires that possessing a weapon of any kind be punished, even if the possession was accidental, even if it is self-reported. “We can’t ignore the fact that there is a weapon on campus somewhere that someone can use,” said system spokesperson Jore Quintana. “This is obviously to keep the safety of our students in our schools.”
Ah! Allow me to retort. You, and your employers, Mr. Quintana, are idiots. There was no safety issue. The weapon was turned in as soon as it was discovered. There was neither an intent nor an opportunity to harm. You have a student who did exactly as he was required to do under the rules, behaved responsibly in the interest of the safety of his fellow students, and who trusted the school to respond reasonably and fairly to his impeccable conduct, and you still claim that punishing him is the proper course! It cannot possibly be the proper course. Punishment will discourage other students from obeying the school’s policy, since obedience leads to punishment. Punishing a student for taking the only compliant course open to him once he discovered a knife that he did not know existed is neither fair, nor just, nor logical. It is just arbitrary and cruel, and can only lead the victim of such punishment to lose respect for authority, have contempt for rules, and to regard his own school as a kingdom ruled by fools.
Which indeed it is.
Laughably, the Gwinnett County school authorities claim that theirs is not a no-tolerance policy, a statement that is in clear contradiction of the facts. So they are liars too.
It is as simple as this. Idiots cannot and must not be entrusted with the education of our children. When an administrator, or a teacher or an entire system demonstrates beyond a shadow of a doubt such a deficit in basic logic, competence, judgments and common sense that there can be no other diagnosis than “Moron!”, that administrator, teacher or system no longer can be trusted with the instruction of our children and the molding of young minds. This is a place for no-tolerance. They have to go. We must not tolerate base stupidity in the schools. Stupid is beyond fixing; stupid begets incompetence, and incompetence is unethical. To the extent that unions, the school systems or governments protect the incompetent, they need to be condemned, opposed, and reformed.
Incompetent schools, run by stupid teachers like Beaver Ridge’s third-grade slavery fan, and idiotic administrators like those who admit to punishing innocent students at the Gwinnett school and yet defend their actions anyway, cannot be trusted to teach.
We have to stop tolerating them.