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Location:near Houston, Gulf Coast, United States

Conservatively liberal, moderately well-educated, and highly opinionated...

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Wednesday, February 15, 2006

American mediocrity

The Houston Independent School District has been fretting lately about how to improve math and science scores, and widen the district’s Gifted / Talented programs. Like George Bush’s SoTU speech writers, they seem to finally be waking up to an unpleasant truth: America is producing mediocrity.

We’ve lost our edge.

Polimom keeps wondering when somebody will just come out and state the obvious, so we can have a National Hissy Fit and move on. Since it’s pretty evident everyone’s going to pussy foot around this indefinitely, I thought maybe I’d help the process a bit.

We are NOT all created equally – at least not in terms of intellectual ability.

(Gasp. Polimom! What are you saying?)

I’m saying that little Johnny, who was reading books at age 3 or working negative numbers at 5, has much different educational needs from little Jimmy who learned letters and phonetic sounds via circle time in Kindergarten... and those needs are not being met.

We're producing mediocre thinkers because the Holy Grail is the middle of the Bell Curve. We've forgotten that the curve is very wide; in our zeal to bring the left side toward the center, we've ignored those on the right.

America does a pretty good job educating “to the middle”, and public schools have also made enormous strides toward helping those who have learning disabilities or are otherwise "at risk". These are laudable achievements, but we've sacrificed the children who have the capacity to soar along the way... and everything has a price.

We’re failing them, we’ve been letting them down for years, and now it's time to pay the piper.