One in a hundred and fifty (No Child Left Behind)

I call bullshit. There is no way this toy actually exists.
A No-Prize to whoever debunks this.

Thank you for your eloquent comments. It’s late and I’ve been particularly busy; however Mr M got the old TVC-15 humming again and you gave me a nice prompt. You asked, ‘Where do you draw the line with utilitarianism?’

Specifically, in the case referenced here I believe it to be perfectly reasonable that the dogs be allowed into the classroom as long as they do not prove to be an undue disruption. These animals are very well trained and can make a remarkable difference in the ability of an autistic child to tune into their environment. Being integrated into society is essential for autistic people and seeing as how autism rates are on the rise everyone is going to have to start making accomodations. One in a hundred and fifty kids is diagnosed with autism by the age of eight and nobody knows why. Until we figure out the cause and thereby a cure we need to do the best we can with what we have. If an austic kid can handle a mainstream classroom accompanied by a dog rather than a one-on-one aide that saves money as the dog’s training and care will surely come to far less than paying a human to do essentially the same job.

To speak generally as to where to draw the utilitarianistic line requires the word ‘line’ to be reinterpreted as something indistinct and vague. This is not coy evasion or fuzzy wishfulness but solid pragmatism. The problem with the idea of ‘drawn line’ rules in terms of education is that it presumes that children are always rational actors working within predictable parameters. This is why ‘zero tolerance’ policies frequently backfire; the more specific responses to specific circumstances that are committed to the more prone to mindless stupidity one becomes. For example, while we can all agree we don’t want kids abusing drugs, one would think that a reasonable adult wouldn’t strip search a 13 year old because they might have ibuprofen. But it happens. Kids get suspended for having nail clippers and haircuts and all kinds of other nonsense. This is why we have teachers (and judges and doctors and so forth)-we have to trust professionals to do their job without being micromanaged by legislatures. ‘The line’ cannot be drawn accurately by people who have never met the students who have to toe it.

Gotta run.

4 Responses to “One in a hundred and fifty (No Child Left Behind)”

  1. Of course since 2001 when I stumbled across a comical website called Somethingawful the photoshop phenomena has exploded. But I believe this may have something to do with their “Photoshop Phriday”, or an off-shoot of the idea on any of the thousands of websites that have followed.

    In those first few years when comical photoshopping was in it’s infancy I probably laughed til I cried every Friday when I visited the site.

  2. The above post was in reference to the toy.

    Now down to business. I enjoyed your comments on the “Drawn Line”, it’s inspired me enough to say that we as a society have far too many drawn lines, but if you’ve read any of my preceding posts since I discovered this website (entirely by accident) you’d already know that.

    I feel exactly as you do, the animals help children who are by far more challenged than a child who is allergic to dogs. By bringing the dog in to the school you’ve simply made another student, with dog allergies, in need of special provisions. Now at that point ideas must be formulated, arguments must ensue, and the best possible course of action must be taken. Will it negatively impact the education for a time? Probably, if you view education from the hard line lesson plan looking glass. But it’s my personal hope that the students learn something no textbook teaches, and that is that they too can be treated as an individual, and hope that their peers will show the same compassion when the need arises.

  3. Huck,
    Another child being severly allergic to the dog was one of the circumstances I had in mind when I used the phrase ‘undue disruption’. The devil is in the details but God can see through the eyes of a gnat; in any case these sorts of things are usually best worked out between the specific individuals involved rather than before a judge. It is because of the lack of ability of someone involved to compromise, problem-solve, or consider what is best for the students. Of course, there is also the problem of balancing fiscal realities with the demands of the students which is only going to get worse before it gets better. It’s no surprise there’s so much argument over education as it is such a personal subject despite being a public institution. Health care is the same way; these are things we all have to deal with so naturally they are the things that divide us.
    Thanks for stumbling into the teahouse. Dialogue is ever so much more stimulating than monologue.

  4. Thanks Winston. Since I’ve started reading and discussing on this blog I feel like I’ve come to a better understanding of our current events. These discussions have broadened my perspective on how real people feel, and brought me to the unfortunate realization that our minds are a battleground for the intelligent sane ones (I like that, Prof). I remain hopeful that our philosophical backgrounds allow us to escape these chains that some in our society are so vigorously shackling us with.

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