How did we develop such unrealistic expectations about our educational system? I believe one of the culprits is IQ. Despite scientific studies of IQ that have continued over the past 100 years, we are in denial about the fact that some people have higher mental abilities than others (for whatever reasons). Do we look the other way because IQ does not fit our self-concept as a nation? After all, we were founded on the principles that all men (and women) are created equal, and all have a right to happiness –– or at least the pursuit thereof.
This fear of differences leads to unrealistic school policies. There is pressure for all students to succeed in academics, regardless of their ability, motivation, or lack of early support and stimulation in the home. This pressure for all to succeed translates to everyone needing to attend college, which in turn means pressure for all students to prepare for college. This in turn means everyone should graduate from high school and that American schools have failed because some students are below grade level in reading or math. There is also a denial of the fact that a high academic mental ability is necessary to achieve in academics. Critics of our school system say: “surely everyone can at least learn to comprehend reading and math at grade level.” But they can’t.
When we pull back and get some distance from these school policies, we can be more objective and accept voluminous research showing that about 35% of our students are capable of a true college education, and that a good number of students are not capable of completing an academic high school. If all students can complete high school, then what is high about high school? Wouldn’t it more correctly be called middle school? And if the bottom 25% ability-wise can graduate from middle school, then what is middle about middle school? Perhaps we should call it lower school.
TO BE CONTINUED . . . . . .