Common Error No. 9


9. "It is wrong to allow bright children to go to special schools. This deprives the ordinary schools of their beneficial influence." 

duncehat.jpgIf you regard children as the property of the state, existing to serve it, then it is explicable why the bright ones should be regarded as a scarce commodity, and rationed accordingly. The idea of allocating their "beneficial influence" equally through society follows from the same twisted logic. It is a pity that this is only applied to intelligence. Why should not the good-looking children be shared out equally, so their peer group has equal access to the pleasant sight of them? Perhaps the kind ones should be spread so that all may benefit equally from their sweet disposition?

The vicious notion is that children, whether bright or not, should be regarded as the instruments of the ends of others, instead of ends in themselves. Children do not exist to serve the purposes of the state, it is the other way round. The concern should be with what is of benefit to the individuals concerned, rather than with how they can be made to serve some ideological view of society.

Behind the idea often lurks the doctrine of egalitarianism, and the feeling that children really ought not to be brighter than each other. With this comes the determination that nothing should be done to encourage it. And this involves the rejection of special schools where the bright children can feel the competitive challenge of their peers, and be pushed even further.

Not only is the view a malicious one to the children concerned, it is adverse to the betterment of society. It is very often the bright children who go on to become the achievers, and develop the new products and processes, and the new ideas that benefit the rest of society. By holding them back when they are young, we may prevent the development of that ability.