Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Pigs in the Schoolhouse: Some are more equal than others

Did you see this article? Why We Banned Legos?

This reminds me of another favorite quote:

The moment the idea is admitted into society, that property is not as sacred as the laws of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence.
-President John Adams (1797-1801)

Wanting not that anarchy and tyranny should commence, but more importantly wanting not that a good time should not be had by all in an inequitably distributed way, I ventured to ask the authors of this article, Ann Pelo and Kendra Pelojoaquin, a few questions.

Hello Ann,

I read your article Why We Banned Legos? with interest, and I have a few questions for you.

  1. Why is the Hilltop school mostly white in its demographic?

  2. Should it not actively seek to provide equitable educational resources to other disenfranchised social and cultural groups that aren’t represented by the descendents of white European hegemony?

  3. Does Hilltop provide a superior educational experience or is it equitable to the surrounding educational environment?

  4. If Hilltop does provide for a superior educational experience, how do you ensure that such experience does not provide an undue privilege or inequitable power distribution to the white kids that get to experience it and consequently put lesser advantaged people to even greater disadvantage to the white Hilltop attendees?

  5. If Hilltop does not provide an excellent educational experience beyond the norm, then why provide Hilltop at all except as a day care center, and at that only as a day care center free of charge to disadvantage people if you so believe that resources, such as the ability to provide after school care, should be equitably distributed?

  6. Should Hilltop provide its resources free of charge to all who desire to learn from it? Can Hilltop afford to relinquish its tuition so that all can freely learn from it without overcoming the burden of inequitable power and financial resources?

  7. Who should pay for Hilltop attendees to attend? Only the powerful, well heeled parents of students who can afford to pay the ~$14,000 annual tuition for preschool?

  8. To be fair, I see that you provide assistance to the underprivileged children through subsidy provided by the tax paying citizens of Washington. However, since you obviously have limited resources, and the state only shares enough to pay for approximately half of the $14,000 annual tuition, you limit the number of such subsidized children. Why don’t you provide the other 50%-40% of the tuition so that all can have equitable access to the Hilltop experience? How and why do you prioritize who actually gets in?

  9. Do you believe it should be the goal of the Hilltop school to ensure that all graduates of the Hilltop programs have an equitable distribution of talent, intelligence, motivation, and aptitude? How would you theoretically and practically correct the inequitable distribution of talent, intelligence, motivation, and aptitude in the broader community such that people aren’t burdened or threatened by the inequities that often result from the inequitable distribution of talent, intelligence, motivation, and aptitude?

Thank you in advance for your kind reply.

Best regards,
Rob Brown

No response yet. I'll let you know...

To me, this was one of the most telling statements of all: "...class-based, capitalist society — a society that we teachers believe to be unjust and oppressive."

Yet, at nearly $14,000 per year to attend pre-school, the Hilltop Children’s Center ensures that only a certain class of privileged students can attend. Their website clearly states that even with a state-funded subsidy of half the tuition, they are still going to turn away some applicants due to limited space. Hmmm. Price-prioritized application of limited resources. Sounds like capitalism to me. Class-based, capitalist, high society.

So I mentioned this breaking story to my friend, George P. Burdell, a man known for the equitable distribution of his talent, intelligence, motivation, and aptitude. I asked him what he thought. There was a long, thoughtful pause.

"Apparently, at the Hilltop Animal Farm, '...all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.'"

I wonder if Napoleon has been rooting around.

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