As is often the case with my blog, something I read got me going. So, before you hear me out, you should read the article as well: http://www.dailynews.com/news/ci_3866254.
There, now you hopefully understand that I am bothered by a law suit claiming discrimination on the basis of failing a test. I don’t know enough about the test to determine if it was “fair” or asked questions that were legitimate, etc. But the gist of the article does not center around that. The gist of the complaint in the suit is that knowledge is discriminating. Duh. I thought that was the point. Does a test determine if the taker does or does not know the material? I thought that was the point.
But wait, not all the students knew English or not at the same level anyway! Okay, so perhaps they need more instruction before being ready to “graduate.” But its not their fault! They weren’t born here, how can you hold them to the same standard as those born into English? And the complaints continue perhaps ad infinitum because most folks just don’t like the dirty word “discrimination” these days and get all scared when it is applied to them.
It is not discrimination that is bad, but the basis of said discrim. If we simply draw lines of value and demarcation upon false premises, we are wrongfully discriminatory. But at the heart of teaching is the inculcation of discrimination between right and wrong, good and bad, ugly and beautiful, and in many ways we could simply say developing proper “taste” in the student.
I am not trying to enter into the politics that are behind this story (probably the motivating the writer to even write the article at all) but rather the constant abuse and misuse of the notion of discrimination. It is a good word; let’s not be shy about it!