People lie to themselves. They lie to themselves all the time. For instance, people SAY they want a frank discussion of racial issues in America, but when that candid discussion of our ethnic diversity begins those same people will stubbornly ignore the truth that racism cuts both ways. They suddenly dislike candor.
Likewise, people lie to themselves about health care in America. Oh, yes, they do! People in America shout out loud for universal health care. And, sure, maybe everyone really does want universal health care (especially for children), but it seems that everyone wants universal health care as long as somebody else pays the doctor bills!
And so it is with disabilities in America as well. We deceive just to convince ourselves that we’ve formed a deeply compassionate society that cares for its less fortunate, feeds its hungry, shelters its needy, and provides what’s “fair” for those less capable.
We build ramps for those folks bound to wheelchairs. We place Braille on drive-thru ATMs. (Why a drive-thru ATM needs Braille is just beyond me. Has Stevie Wonder ever driven up to an ATM?)
We develop voice-activated software so the visually impaired can post Craigslist ads.
Sometimes it seems we designate nearly half a parking lot just for handicapped parking only.
In short, we as a nation rightfully go out of our way to accommodate those who aren’t quite as capable as the average citizen.
Sometimes, though, we go a little too far to create a T-ball world where nobody wins and nobody loses; a world where nobody’s feelings get hurt because they just didn’t do so well in the competition.
Allowing extra time for learning disabled students while taking the SATs is one such case where well-intentioned people have gone too far to pad the wicked world we live in.
Let’s give this topic a little perspective.
Say you’re in line to buy tickets to a concert. There are similar lines on either side of you for buying tickets to the same concert, but your line isn’t moving as fast as the other lines. The annoying delay has you feeling as though you might not get the best seats for the show because folks in the other lines are snapping them up before you can even get to the cage. When you finally do get to the ticket booth you find that you’ve chosen the line where a learning disabled person works, and that person needs more time than the other clerks to process ticket orders.
There are hundreds of examples where the average person would automatically feel irritation from poor service.
Now, we all know that barely anyone relishes the prospect of a frank discussion of just how far society should go to accommodate disabilities. None of us wants to dash anyone’s hope against the rocks by plainly stating that some people do not belong in certain jobs. Nobody wants to “pick on the crip” by candidly listing areas where the disabled simply cannot function. (Blind people, for example, should not call NHL play-by-play for a television audience. That would be a disservice to the fans of that NHL franchise.)
But poor service is exactly what we’ll get when we try to level the playing field at all costs.
When we allow learning disabled aspirants more time on the SATs then we’ll end up with college students who need more time to take finals. We’ll have college students who need more time to write papers. We’ll get college students who’ll need more time to study for mid-terms.
Beyond that, college students usually turn into college graduates. Graduates turn into job applicants. And job applicants turn into new hires.
And there you are, nervously waiting in the slowest line ever for the hottest concert ticket of the year! Meanwhile, the college student clerk behind the Plexiglas needs more time to process your order. And someone in the other line just got the tickets that were rightfully yours!
Extra time for the learning disabled while taking the SATs? Don’t be ridiculous.