Small minority

crowd reflection color toy

Photo by Markus Spiske on

Why should a small minority dictate to the majority what is appropriate and acceptable, or what is not?

Case in point: schools are closed in WA and they are trying to figure out how to go forward as this corona virus thing continues. It was communicated out from OSPI (our state superintendent’s office) that districts couldn’t continue to educate their students if they couldn’t guarantee “equity” for all students it serves. Or, at least, they couldn’t require students to attend because of equity (lack of internet, ELL, SpEd, etc.).

OK, on the surface, that makes sense and it looks great on the PR side of things. However, it doesn’t make sense when you start looking at the numbers. That closer look ends up making the policy a complete “F” in my book.

The closer look:

So, we’re not going to educate 90% of the students because 10% can’t participate because of various challenges?

What if it was 50/50? Is that still too low to continue offering education to those who can participate? You can play with the numbers however you like, but at just about any point you can’t justify depriving a larger group of people from something because of a smaller group. It just doesn’t make any sense.

Do you scuttle the sailboat because there is no wind?

Do you throw out the baby with the bathwater?

Do you cut off your hand because you got a splinter in your little finger?

Do you cut off your foot because you broke a toe?

Do you demolish an entire building because a couple rooms in it aren’t or can’t be occupied?

Catch my drift?

Why do we let small groups of people dictate what happens with the larger groups? Seems a bit backwards, doesn’t it?

Remember the saying, “Greatest good for the greatest number“? Why doesn’t that apply these days? Or any day? How did we get so far away from an idea that mostly works?Sure, I know we have to make sure the “minority” group doesn’t get abused by those who are more powerful or has the most resources, but there is still something true about this thought:

What is the greater good when it comes to educating our students?



  1. Jesska · March 27, 2020

    I have no idea about how kids with learning disabilities are taught so for this comment I’m going to ignore them.

    I think they can’t physically require students to do anything if some of them don’t have the means to do it. In normal circumstances you can require kids to stay in a classroom for X hours a day and you can require them to write essays (or answer maths questions or whatever) and require them to be handed in on paper. That doesn’t really work now, with the corona lock down. Theoretically, in an ideal world, you could require them to write those same essays at home and email them to you. The problem is, a handful of them won’t be able to comply because they don’t have a computer or internet access at home and can’t go to the library because they’re closed. Those kids will fail the assignment, even if they could have written better essays than the others. Those kids probably didn’t choose not to have the resources their classmates have, and automatically failing them doesn’t help anyone. All you can really do is offer the essay title (/question sheers/whatever) and correct anything the kids send in (and hope the rest somehow catch up later… :/ )

    That’s presumably what they are doing now. They’re not refusing to educate, they’re refusing to make that education a requirement. That

    It would be a much better approach to reduce the reasons for the inequality, maybe school tablets/laptops with internet access could be lent to the kids that need them. That kind of thing.


    • backuphill · March 27, 2020

      Thanks for the reply. Yes, there are some limitations and whatnot. I am a former teacher and there are lots of things teachers can do to make it work for those who can’t do what everyone else is doing, or you simply excuse those individuals from the activity.

      District were given a March 31 deadline to come up with a plan to educate their students via distance learning, but that is something that could have been going on for a vast majority of students already.


  2. Curt Gilman · March 27, 2020

    That’s the way the country seems to be going in general. We’re not allowed to bake a pie unless everyone gets the same size slice.


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