Monday, June 11, 2012

special legitimises normal

It seems to me now that that was the beginning of two tactics used by public schools to win their battle for existence; first, to establish special groups of kids in various categories ranging from "immature" through neurogically or emotionally or educationally "handicapped" to "deprived" to the marvelous, blatant "non-achiever", and second, to take teachers who wish to teach in some odd way and let them teach these odd kids. For all the terms for special kids really just mean kids who can't or won't or don't do things the way the school thinks they ought to be done; once labelled as special, the school can pretend there is a normal group which is well served by the custom of the school. The school's obvious inability to satisfy many children can then become natural, since the kids are "special" and shouldn't be satisfied by any normal procedures and the school does not need to change its ways at all, has only to create some arrangements on the outskirts of the school to keep them special kids and special teachers out of the way
p. 64, How to Survive in Your Native Land (1971) by James Herndon

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