Example A: The Intelligence Factor

Ever since I can remember all I ever wanted was to be “normal”.  As a child that was born with a physical disability my definition of normal was someone who could walk without twisting their ankles and falling down, someone who could hold their body weight with their wrists to use the monkey bars and someone who could run, all of the things I couldn’t do. I went to a grade school which had a strange system for sorting students into classrooms. I guess the idea behind it makes a little bit of sense but they hadn’t really thought it through well enough to realize that while the idea wasn’t totally wrong unfortunately by putting it into practice it brought out the “dark” side of the method they used for placing students into the three classes for each grade. They gave us a test when we first came to school in first grade and split the 90 students into 3 classes of 30 for the 90 first graders. I think this was the first year this school had done this, I don’t know this for a fact but they kept the approximately 30 students together from first grade through third grade that they had chosen to be in those 3 classes. After the “smart” kids class that I had been placed in from 1st grade which kept the same students together in 2nd grade and 3rd grade found out that the “smart” kids were so much more capable they totally disrupted class, so much so that they changed the whole system when I started 4th grade and separated the 3 biggest “trouble” making boys into 3 different classes and equally distributed the smart, medium smart, and the less smart kids into three classes not differentiated by intelligence. I am sure that their initial reasons for putting the children into classes based on their “raw” IQ was to give each group of children the proper education for their IQ. What they didn’t take into account was that the children who were pretty smart could also be pretty good “assholes” when they figured things like this out. So I had the benefit of being in the “smart” class even though I was physically handicapped so it sort of worked out good for me because the kids all knew that even though I couldn’t run like they could I was very smart so I didn’t get made fun of like possibly I could have had it not been a known commodity that I was one of the kids from the “smart” class. But true to form as kids will be, as soon as we figured out the classes were arranged in terms of intelligence like they were the kids took to referring to the different classes as the smart, stupid and in between. I am sure the intent of separating us kids by intelligence was to address the different needs of the kids as this was in the early 1960’s and addressing needs of kids based on their differing IQ’s and physical abilities was fairly new territory and I am pretty sure the school was trying to do the right thing but they didn’t know what that was yet, and maybe they still don’t but they at least have come a long ways from what they did when I was in grade school. There were 3 boys that were in my 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade classes that I believe were the reason for the teacher’s reevaluating the way the classes were divided. They were very smart and very busy boys, and disrupting class was their specialty and I think after 3 years of the teacher’s of us “smart” kids had they were all driven crazy by those 3 boys antics in their classroom. Besides the fact that they had also probably noticed that the kids had noticed that they were split into the smart, medium smart and “stupid” classes as we charming children referred to the class separations as. The motive on the part of the school administrators might have been a reasonable one but in practice it had a lot of problems, the least of which was “do you really want all the really smart kids in the same class?” When I started 4th grade each one of the “smart ass” boys was in a different class and all the rest of the kids were divided evenly and they started a system of the kids having three different changes of teacher’s in a day for Math, English and Social Studies to address the intelligence Factor. I don’t know what they do know because I have been out of school for a very long time but I suspect they don’t practice separation by intelligence like they did when I was in grade school.


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