the Nashville Schools
January 28 2004
At the Catholic
school we attended long ago, the school year was divided into eight
marking periods. At the end of each, a report card was handed out. Each
student was graded in each of half a dozen subjects. The grades ranged
from A+ to C- for passing, to D for failure. Enough D's, and you were
off to the D.C. public schools.
At the end of each semester, a huge honor roll appeared in the main
hall. On it were boldly inscribed the names of all students who had
maintained an A average. Parents, students and teachers all congregated
to read the honor roll. It was not long before everyone in the parish
knew who the best students were in every grade.
In Nashville, the honor rolls are coming down.
"Law Erases Student Honor Rolls," ran the headline over the Associated
Press story in the Washington Times. Sub-head: "Nashville Schools Want
to Protect Underachievers."
Seems a few Nashville parents whined to school officials that their kids
could be subject to ridicule for never having appeared on an honor roll.
Therefore, the rolls must go, they demanded. Lawyers agreed, pointing
out that state privacy laws forbid releasing any academic information,
positive or negative, without permission.
"As a result, all Nashville schools have stopped posting honor rolls,
and some are also considering a ban on hanging good work in the hallways
– all at the advice of school lawyers."
Following this logic, every measure of academic distinction and
excellence, which shows some students are brighter or more accomplished
than their classmates, must go. And that is exactly where Nashville and
Tennessee are headed.
"Some schools have since put a stop to academic pep rallies," the AP
reports, "Others think they may have to cancel spelling bees. And now
schools across the state may follow Nashville's lead."
And so the corrosive ideological and cultural war against excellence and
distinction in the pursuits of the mind continues in America.
Egalitarians cannot tolerate the idea that some children are born with
far greater natural ability in academics, just as some are with greater
natural ability in sports, music, dramatics and art. Unable to accept
the truth, these ideologues must eradicate all evidence, from geography
and spelling bees to tests and exams, that expose their dogmas as
fabrications and lies. They must destroy any and all records that prove
that when it comes to intelligence, all men are not created equal.
Nor did Jefferson say they were. His words in the Declaration of
Independence deal with equality of rights under law, not natural
ability. Jefferson was not a fool. As he wrote Adams in 1813: "I agree
with you that there is a natural aristocracy among men. The grounds of
this are virtue and talent."
Indeed, the purpose of tests and examinations is to tell us who has the
superior mind, who is working, who is achieving, so the best can be
advanced and a natural hierarchy of excellence may be established. For
without hierarchies, a society is finished. Without hierarchy, armies,
companies and countries perish.
Parents who demand that honor rolls be removed, lest their children be
exposed as dullards, are deceiving themselves and cheating their
children. Schools are laboratories of life. They are the mirrors of
If children do not have leaders to set the pace, if they are not shown
where they are deficient, if they are not motivated by competition, what
do parents think they will discover when they get out of school?
While difficult for parents to admit, all children are not born with
equal mental capacity to excel in a classroom, any more than they are
born with equal ability to excel on an athletic field. Though reviled
and hated by egalitarians, IQ tests do not lie. And that is why they are
In sports, we accept distinction and excellence. We demand it. There are
few objections to high-school teams "cutting" some kids, leaving others
on the bench, playing others. When parents rage at coaches for not
playing their sons or daughters, it is because they think their sons or
daughters are better than those on the field, not because they do not
want the best on the field.
Americans were once a ferociously competitive people. We wanted to be
the best. And we were, from the Olympic Games to the Nobel Prizes. Other
nations, however, know how we got to be the best. And, especially in
Asia, they are emulating the way we were, not the way we are – because
they wish to displace us.
And if the Nashville mindset prevails in America, they soon will.
© 2003 Creators
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