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"Democratic Learning?"

This week's soapbox addresses a hot topic in the Plano school district right now -- whether or not schools should have accelerated classes. Both sides have valid points, so somewhere, they'll have to compromise to make it all work.

I am a product of the Plano school system and have taken honors and advanced placement classes all throughout middle and high school. Students like me are the ones in question, but luckily, I will graduate before any of the bureaucratic crap is installed into schools.

Some children are extremely gifted and talented, and they need classes which are more advanced than the regular ones. In order to keep up with the intellectual growth of the children, schools must put in faster-paced classes like honors English and honors algebra II. The regular students stay in the ordinary classes which are more suited to their pace.

Recently, people have been raising a stink about the said accelerated courses. Apparently, regular children aren't receiving the same advantages and are being held back from going into advanced courses (which usually have better equipment and better materials in general). The regular children aren't being treated equally, parents say, and think that schools are being segregated.

Well, yes, they're right. Schools are being split up into courses which match the children's educational pace. What's wrong with that? If people want their children to be in the same classes, we're back where we were in the first place. Splitting children up increases efficiency, as the smarter children get the courses for their pace, the regular children get courses for theirs, and so on. In this case, democracy is NOT the answer.

Look at it this way: say you have a Honda CRX (V4) and a Toyota Camry (V6). The Camry has a much more powerful engine, so the CRX owner wants it too. The CRX owner whines about getting a V6 and the car dealer finally lets him have it. However, the V6 engine is too bulky for the CRX's small frame and the CRX actually LOSES efficiency. The CRX would have benefitted more from an engine which suited its size.

Accelerated classes need better equipment because the students will be handling more involved labs and computers. It's not because they're so good that they get all the "good stuff."

The parents who are encouraging this kind of democratic crap are setting bad examples for their children. Yes, democracy and its values should be taught to our children, but should not be used in every case. Democracy teaches us economic efficiency, something we should apply to education as well. In the case of higher vs. lower education, joining all classes is NOT equality and is NOT a good method of teaching our children.


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