Sunday, January 25, 2004

Harrison Bergeron alive and well in Nashville

In another case of life imitating art (not very surprising, after seeing the US so quickly adopt standards right out of George Orwell's '1984'), Kurt Vonnegut's 'Harrison Bergeron' has apparently been adopted as an educational model in Nashville. Nashville schools have already done away with honor rolls and are considering cancelling spelling bees because announcing the results might make the people who don't place well feel bad.

It comes as no surprise that the whole thing was started when some parents complained that their children might be ridiculed for not making the honor roll... which got the schools thinking about their legal liabilities, so they talked to the school lawyers, who said that any disclosure of a student's academic results (even in general terms, as with the honor roll) is a violation of the student's privacy. So the screws get tightened just a little bit more, and American mediocrity triumphs once again.