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The Tyranny of Equality in Education

The Tyranny of Equality in Education

It’s growing increasingly clear that America’s students aren’t the little geniuses we’ve always thought them to be. School after school in states across the country produce abysmally poor results. In fact, many schools are lucky if their students achieve more than 50% proficiency in the basics of reading, math, and science.

Such a scenario calls for drastic action. But not the type of intensive academic intervention one would expect.

No, instead of seeking to boost test scores, some schools are trying to hide the evidence altogether, as a recent article from Epoch Times explains:

Oregon high school students are exempt from showcasing fundamental competence in reading, writing, or math until 2029, as per the state Board of Education’s unanimous vote on Thursday,” Epoch Times reported. “This decision aims to support students from marginalized communities and those with a history of poor academic performance.”

“Do you see terrible test scores? I don’t see terrible test scores! Nothing to see here!” seems to be the gist of this move.

When pressed further on such a move, supporters said “that the state’s proficiency requirements pose an unnecessary challenge for non-native English speakers or students with disabilities, robbing them of the opportunity to take an elective.”

Put differently, Oregon schools are putting the words of C.S. Lewis’s demon creation, Screwtape, into practice.

Those familiar with “Screwtape Proposes a Toast” will recall that the demon Screwtape praised democracy for its ability to pull down the bright, high-achieving students to the level of those at the bottom, all in the name of equality. Such moves, Screwtape explained, were simply tyranny that would eventually take out education altogether:

In a word, we may reasonably hope for the virtual abolition of education when ‘I’m as good as you’ has fully had its way. All incentives to learn and all penalties for not learning will vanish. The few who might want to learn will be prevented–who are they to overtop their fellows? We shall no longer have to plan and toil to spread imperturbable conceit and incurable ignorance among men. The little vermin themselves will do it for us.

According to Screwtape, such an accomplishment needed one element for demons like him to succeed, namely, public education.

That demonic admission, combined with this recent news out of Oregon, should get us to consider the need for school choice even more. If we genuinely care for children–indeed, care about our nation and its future wellbeing–we will flee the state schools which Screwtape praised for making all students equally dumb, choosing instead schools that demand academic excellence, that teach character, and that will advance truth even when it’s hard to take.

If you’re pro-tyranny, then by all means, stick with the public schools, for they will eventually lead to “the virtual abolition of education.” But if you’re not for tyranny, then it’s time to seek a new way to lead today’s students out of this present mess.

A version of this article appeared first on OAKMN.org under a Creative Commons (CC BY 4.0) license.

Image credit: Pexels


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  • Avatar
    October 26, 2023, 4:24 pm

    When I student taught in 1962 (yep, 62 years ago) there were 3 or 4 students who could not write even their names. I was horrified. I taught in a very low performing high school in the 1990’s but there were no students who could not write (or print) their names. However, one teacher in 11th grade had students paste photos on colored construction paper and then label the photos. That was considered “group work.” That was considered a worthwhile academic (sic) project. I’m teaching philosophy at the college level now. Post Covid absence and lateness for class is remarkable. Students look at cell phones throughout class. There is an atmosphere of stupor and torpor. I don’t believe it is because of me. Other professors talk about the same issues. Also I was listed four times in Who’s Who Among America’s High School Teachers.

  • Avatar
    October 27, 2023, 1:09 am

    I know a passel of kids in the 12 to 15 age range. Every one of hem is well read, articulate, and I'll bet any amount at long odds each one of them can beat any high school kid on the SAT tests. And do it in half the time. Not only that but all of them are fun to be with, look out for each other, relate well to others, are applying themselves to non-school activities such as sports, music, dance, building, animals, cooking, etc. Not a boring one in the lot of 'em. Far more fun and interesting to be around than the average adult of today.

    These kids are proof that it s not the kids, but the corrupt and rotten gummit skelwz for which we are being robbed blind.
    I believe firmly that the first step is to get FedGov completely OUT of education at every level.

  • Avatar
    Bill Howard
    October 27, 2023, 5:17 am

    Indeed, finding alternatives to public education will remain a top priority for parents in the coming years. The challenge will be affordability. I suspect the demand for such a service will grow. Hopefully, that demand will be answered.

  • Avatar
    October 27, 2023, 12:57 pm

    NASA worked with Dr. George Land to develop a test that could measure the creative potential of NASA’s scientists and engineers. The test focused on identifying divergent thinking capabilities—in other words, the ability to look at a particular problem and suggest multiple solutions. The test required participants to come up with as many ideas as possible to solve a problem, and it was very effective for NASA’s purposes.

    The same researchers then decided to give the same test to 1600 children between the ages of 4 and 5. What emerged is quite interesting: 98% of the children fell into the genius category of imagination! This led to a longitudinal study that followed the same children years later to redo the same test. When those same kids turned 10, only 30% were considered creative geniuses. When they turned 15, that number dropped to 12%. When the same test was conducted for adults, it showed that only 2% qualified as geniuses.


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