Marc Landry’s lament (“The false goal of equal results,” Nov. 13 column) that we neglect our brightest students trying to narrow the gap between them and the rest is laden with mistakes. He begins by stating the obvious, there is a bell curve of performance among us.
He errs when he equates expending extra effort to help “challenged groups” with trying to pull up one end of the bell curve. “Challenged groups” are just that, groups who need extra help not because they belong at one end of the curve, but because their innate ability has been challenged by unequal opportunities to develop. We give them extra help so their innate abilities can be realized, and they can assume their rightful place on the bell curve, not languish at one end because they missed out on early opportunities to thrive.
Landry showcases his intolerance by claiming our future well-being “lies mostly in the dreams and aspirations of the top 5 or 10 percent of our students.” First, well-being itself might best be defined by how many of us reach our aspirations. A 90 to 95 percent failure rate would hurt. Second, a democracy needs its entire population well-educated, not just the top 5 to 10 percent.