In "Welcome to the Monkey House", Kurt Vonnegut writes about a future where all men are finally equal, thanks to the unrelenting efforts of the United States Handicapper-General. It seems the Handicapper General was at work in Sweden this week, as we read what happened to the head cook in a school cafeteria who was reined in for daring to prepare better food for her students than the other cooks in neighboring schools.
My readers will know that last year I was expelled from the Teacher Certification Program at the University of Winnipeg. While I was in the program I learned a lot about what is wrong with the system. One aspect is the enforced mediocrity similar to what we read about in Sweden. I have a small example in front of me. I am looking at a Unit Plan I prepared for teaching Grade Nine Static Electricity. I was docked five marks because my work failed to satisfy the following criterion:
"Could this Unit Plan be used by a Substitute Teacher for 2 weeks?"
Apparently the fact that I know more about electricity than the average substitute drawn from the random pool should not be a factor in how I teach. Presumably if I had stacked my lesson plans with two weeks worth of worksheets on Ohms Law I would have gotten full marks for this line item.
I knew when I wrote my lesson plans that a typical substitute would not be capable of what I could do in class, but I refused to limit myself according to the philosophy of the tin-pot Handicapper-Generals who make up the Education Faculty at the U of W. I gladly sacrificed the five marks. This apparently enraged the professors, because I was given a failing grade (almost unheard of in Education) on the next set of lesson plans I handed in. I think I'll have more to say about that later.