In the first place God made idiots. This was for practice. Then He made School Boards.-- Pudd'nhead Wilson New Calendar.
SUPPOSE we applied no more ingenuity to the instruction of deaf and dumb and blind children than we sometimes apply in our American public schools to the instruction of children who are in possession of all their faculties? The result would be that the deaf and dumb and blind would acquire nothing. They would live and die as ignorant as bricks and stones. The methods used in the asylums are rational. The teacher exactly measures the child's capacity, to begin with; and from thence onward the tasks imposed are nicely gaged to the gradual development of that capacity; the tasks keep pace with the steps of the child's progress, they donapos;t jump miles and leagues ahead of it by irrational caprice and land in vacancy--according to the average public-school plan. In the public school, apparently, they teach the child to spell cat, then ask it to calculate an eclipse; when it can read words of two syllables, they require it to explain the circulation of the blood; when it reaches the head of the infant class they bully it with conundrums that cover the domain of universal knowledge. This sounds extravagant--and is; yet it goes no great way beyond the facts.