Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Least Common Denominator

We seem to live in an LCD society. As a group of people, we strive so hard to make sure everyone is happy that we end up catering to the complainers who are often the "Least Common Denominators" or LCD's.

What happened to cause this? I don't know.

Are you having trouble following my logic? I know I am.

I'll give you examples.

Take the teacher who was nearing retirement that took her bus load of choir kids to Hooters. She has been suspended. Why? Are Hooter's girls dressed any more provocatively than high school cheer leaders? Not in my experience. This teacher has been suspended because of the LCD rule. Out of the 40 kids there were maybe 1, maybe 2 who thought it was offensive and went and told their offensive parental units who got the teacher in hot water. We have to strive to take care of the most easily offended.

A bigger example? Take Bush's "no child left behind" policy which seems to still be plaguing Texas schools. That just screams LCD. We'll slow all learning down to the most unwilling to learn student so that he or she is not left behind. I mean even children that can't keep up or don't want to keep up should be catered to. It's classic LCD.

We lower our expectations so that our expectations don't exceed the talents of the least talented.


  1. I want to be your friend, dear, but geez... The premise behind No Child Left Behind is basically good, it's how Texas responded to it is what's bad. Other states have to deal with the Federal Mandate as well, and yet they don't have this ridiculous state testing. Texas law makers saw an opportunity to kill two birds with one stone; teacher accountability & student achievement. We are not created equal, but access to education in America is a guaranteed opportunity. Is it a child's fault that he/she is born into the world of a crack addict mother? Is it her fault that the drugs in her mother's system caused a few things to not develop properly? And yet, you'll label this child as the Lowest Common Denominator of society. Do you want to know why these schools in Texas are now forced to include these children in the general ed class? Because for decades, exclusion classes were nothing more than a big fat lazy teacher sitting behind an oversized desk passing out coloring packets with him reading his morning newspaper and drinking coffee. How is that teaching? You my dear, need to stick with installing video cards, cuz darlin' you are ill informed...

  2. So you would punish kids who have an aptitude to learn and a desire to learn?

    Where is the fairness in that?

    In your world we all must slow up and be patient because there are kids born with a crack mom. Sad, yes. Needs to be fixed, true.

    But don't take it out on the normal kids by making them achieve at the level of the least common denominator.

  3. It is only your imagination that lets you believe that because of No Child Left Behind that we are not allowing other kids to achieve more than what they are capable. EVERY lesson plan should have ENRICHMENT activities for those "BRIGHTER" students you so love to spout to everyone that you were one of when in school. If these ENRICHMENT activities are not there, then the teacher and the administrators are at fault for not addressing the needs of those talented students. How does one learn? The most effective way of learning is by teaching.

    In your world, these slower students would all be grouped in one school, abandoned and scorned by society...oh, yeah that already exists...slums, ghettos, low income housing, prisons...but you're okay with your tax dollars being spent to deal with the end result of a broken system.

    In my world, the brighters would use their talents to teach the lessers, and while this teaching occurred, with me the facilitator in the mix, providing resources and encouragement and guidance, new bonds and creative learning would transpire. All those involved in the process would acquire knew knowledge, an appreciation for learning, and perhaps dear boy...your lessers would gain what the brighters have...a respect for education and the nerds that use it.

  4. CT2---
    Dear ol' Gar way too often sort of makes it clear his thinking is a product of a Texas education. As in faulty. And painting a picture with way too broad a stroke. I hope you've been able to educate him with your well-reasoned logic.

  5. If making personal attacks gives you the perception that you have a valid point, then please, continue to do so. I won't get in your way.

  6. I didn't think I'd made a personal attack against you, but if you feel wounded then of course, I apologize. We already treat people as if they were a bunch of numbers anyway, and to add injury to insult you refer to them as a number, by naming them the lowest common denominator. If you really look at it, the LCD is what the two numbers have in common. Ironic, huh?

    What you're suggesting, segregation, has already been done. It was outlawed by the significant Supreme Court ruling, Brown vs Board of Education. But that's okay, I realize that folks in Texas take some time to catch on, I believe the last schools that had to be desegregated were in Ector County, in the late 80s (I'm only going on memory).

    I realize that you were only speaking of the undesirables infecting the desirables, not alluding to their ethnicity or race, but studies show (research that is--not emotional blabbing) the undesirables you most commonly refer to...those at risk students...come from minority and/or low income families.

    Again, I'm baffled that you suggest I made personal attacks against you, that the only way my argument is valid is because it was based on a personal attack.

  7. Personal attack #1:
    "You my dear, need to stick with installing video cards, cuz darlin' you are ill informed..."

    Personal attack #2:
    "It is only your imagination that lets you believe that because of No Child Left Behind that we are not allowing other kids to achieve more than what they are capable."

    Personal attack #3:
    "...for those "BRIGHTER" students you so love to spout to everyone that you were one of when in school."

    Personal attack #4:
    Durango's entire comment.

    I also never mentioned segregation although that's not a bad idea (at least after a certain age/grade). Ector High School was segregated because of race and has nothing to do with this discussion. I'm kind of appalled that you link the two.

    You have a wonderfully optimistic view of the world (really). From experience, kids are mean.

    If 13 year old Joe gets picked by the teacher to help educate her class because he's bright. He'll be ridiculed into submission as soon as the teacher turns her back.

    But we'll have pity on the ones that ridicule because they can't be left behind.

    Maybe we are born with the right to be educated, but at some age, you must be held accountable for your lack of desire.

    Where would be the harm if, at the age of 11, you are put in the advanced school where they teach Latin, Physics, Chemistry, a slew of foreign languages, Computers, Advanced Math, etc? And you don't have to deal with the Least Common Denominators that don't want to learn and would rather ridicule the kids that do.

  8. CT2---
    Did Gar get picked on a lot in school? His description of school does not resemble my experience at all. There was not much toleration for kids picking on kids, at least by high school. And smart kids definitely didn't get picked on. Maybe I was blind.

    Gar's characterization of your (and my) comments as being personal attacks, well, I'm thinking he's having post traumatic stress syndrome flashbacks to when he, apparently, got picked on in school for being the smartest kid in Texas.

    Gar, CT2 was being amusing, suggesting you stick to sticking in video cards. You did/do come across as poorly informed.

    She was correct to say that only in your imagination does No Child Left Behind somehow stifles smart kids.

    You do know she's a teacher, don't you?

    You do seem to have an attitude of superiority which makes it fun to skew you when you are so erroneous.

    Gar, you may not have used the term 'segregation' but that's what you were describing, separating by some criteria of who's determination I can't imagine. Segregation is not only a racial thing.

    It's the basic premise of what you had to say that is so wrong-headed. Least Common Denominator. Drug down to the LCD. The type school you are wanting is the German method, where it's decided by what, age 12, if you're gonna be a brainiac or a manual worker with tech training. That method would never fly in America, cuz, well, it's un-American. And way too Germanic.

  9. Gar, Gar, Gar...I wouldn't pick Joe to educate my class, I would put the class in groups of four, heterogeneously, I would then assign each member in the group a role...such as time keeper, recorder, team leader...so on and so on. It would be within the group that Joe would shine, bringing his little group to greater heights. Then during this whole ejumeecation process...I'd be walking around the room to ensure that my groups are on task...nope, I wouldn't be sittin' at my desk playing WOW, I'd actually be doin' my job, but...yuck, yuck, yuck...someone really doin' their job? How bizarre! So, we understand how this works? No one picks on Joe in my class (get it...sorta like...no one puts baby in the corner)

    Personal Attack #1
    You are ill informed on this subject, that's not an attack, just fact.

    Personal Attack #2
    It is in your imagination. If No Child Left Behind is followed in the spirit of the law it was created, then ALL STUDENTS' needs are addressed...just not the slow ones.

    Personal Attack #3
    Well, weren't you a bright student?

    Gar was too smart to go to my school, he was enrolled in the Highest Common Factor Academy...where they did smart things and learned smart stuff, unlike my school where we catered to the LCDs...they only taught us how to read and write and do something...i dunno...arithmetic? I'll have to dig up one of my report cards and check.

  10. Dear D,
    Gar did get picked on in school. He got pushed down the stairs in Junior High for being a nerd and it continued relentlessly through high school. Thanks for asking.

    No child left behind does not stifle smart kids. It stifles the entire education system.

    I know I need to work on my attitude.

    I do know she's a teacher. I never said anything derogatory about teachers.

    Discipline is the key.

  11. Gar---
    I am sorry you got picked on in school. Getting pushed down the stairs is unacceptable.

    Had I been a classmate of yours I would have bitch slapped your tormenters. It may have been a good plan to stifle the being a nerd thing.

    I know you did not say anything derogatory about teachers, but you were pretty derogatory about how the teaching is practiced. CT2 was simply trying to enlighten you as to how the real teaching world works.

    I have no idea what you mean by "discipline is the key."

    I think having good, empowered teachers is the key, not discipline. They need to be paid way more and encouraged to be innovative. Like CT2 is.

    I know I am not remotely as smart a guy as you, but somehow I managed to get thru the public school system without feeling as if I was somehow being impeded by all the dummies.

    Of course, there were those 2 years when I was in Special Education. Segregated from the rest of my classmates. That was traumatic. I survived.

  12. I've tried all my life to stifle the nerd thing. I think I almost figured it out at the age of 30, but not quite.

    Anyway, all this commenting has made me come to the conclusion that I need to pay a psychologist some more money.

  13. Despite popular belief...drinking does not make one less nerdy...