Have You Ever Been Tested for Stupid?

As a teacher, I’m sometimes faced with students with horrible learning impediments. Some of them have medical problems that keep the children from achieving in school, others have family and home life problems that make them into not-so-stellar pupils. But there’s the whole other category to consider: just plain stupid.

Oh, stop gnashing your teeth. I’m not suggesting that we wash our hands of these youngsters and put them to work in the factories straight away. I’m merely pointing out that once upon a time people recognized that humans are born with varying levels of intelligence, but now we’re not having any of that.

If your child just cannot understand fractions, a long time ago we would send him to the lower math class where he would cut up plastic pizzas into different sized wedges until he understood it better. Odds were awesome that he was never going to grow up to be a pharmacist if he couldn’t figure out how to divide doses, but that was okay. He could do something else.

If your daughter struggled with reading, she used to be in the Blue Birds reading group and she got extra attention from the special reading teacher. Chances were excellent that she wasn’t destined to be an author if reading wasn’t her favorite subject, but there were plenty of career paths still open to her.

Now, there’s something wrong with your child and with you if he’s just stupid. You didn’t use enough flash cards or he’s not on the right medication or you didn’t breastfeed like you were supposed to. It can’t just be luck of the draw that he can’t remember to keep his shoes tied, it must be because of asbestos in the walls of your house.

Years ago, Governor Fob James made a startling announcement on the news, “ALL children in Alabama can be above average.” Wow, the governor sucked at math, too. Apparently, you can be in the stupid-kid math class and still succeed in politics. That’s a career path that thrives on stupid.