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What happens when the Bright meets the Dunce

I attended a particular primary school where there was streaming. There was Bright Class, Second Bright, Average and Dunce.  (It was a small school).

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The kids were given I.Q. tests and those who scored over 130 were sent to a special program at a particular Junior High in which they would skip 8th grade.

That meant that 7th Grade was a blend of 7th and 8th and that 9th grade had a number of High School level subjects so that the child who left that Junior High would be streamed into an Advanced Class at High School in which they would be able to gather University Credits.

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This meant that these children, who succeeded in that Special Program at that Particular Junior High would enter High School, not at 15 but at 14.  They would graduate that High School at 16 and enter college with credits. Where one needed 120 to graduate they would enter with about 16/20 credits, meaning they only needed 104/100 credits to graduate.

They could elect various courses so that they would graduate a year early and could enter Professional School at 19 or begin their Masters; instead of graduating High School at 17/18 entering University at 18 and graduating at 22.

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You see where I’m going with this?

So I entered the Special School at the age of 12, to do 2 years instead of 3.

The Special School was very large. There were 17 classes in each grade. 7-1  to 7-4 was dunce. 7-5 to 7-9 were second dunce.  7-10 to 7-12 were average, and 7-13 to 7-17 were the high pressure super bright.

This meant that the bright and dunce were not segregated from each other, save inside a classroom. They’d pass each other in the hall, have lunch together, be in the yard together.

While I was lugging around a huge bag of books and had so much homework I had no life, the Dunce kids were having fun.

They’d carry a notebook, one or two books, and be playing in the yard, had week ends, and were under no pressure.

So here was I, losing my childhood so that I could graduate early and start work early.  Two years of my childhood were being eaten.

I decided to fail my subjects so I would be kicked out of bright class and put into dunce where I could coast.

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Sure my parents killed me, but so what?

There I was, having a life, all the subjects so easy I did my homework during lunch break and spent my evenings and week ends riding my bike, running around, watching T.V.


What do you think?

Written by jaylar


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  1. They had technical schools here too, and my Father advised us all to go to it, so we would have an easier ride, through our secondary years.

    He had four kids, and two obeyed him, and did well at Technical school.

    The other two, including me, the Dunce, went to the local High school, but unfortunately, the Dunce teachers were all at this school, so we both never did any good.

    The good teachers, who cared for teaching, and for the kids, were at the Technical school.

    Maybe, my father knew that all along, and so I should have followed what he wanted of me.

      • My brother, though, went from Technical school, to a Technical college, and then onto University.

        He turned out to be the only one in our family to end up with a degree.

        He had the right attitude to learning, fostered into him by some good teachers, along the way.

        He still talks to me about some of his teachers, whereas me, I have done my best to forget about all of my horrible ones.

  2. interesting story
    In my country, there is no such schooling. For 7 years, you are in school, 8 years of age are compulsory for primary education, after 4 years of vocational school. An example of a school for accountants, nurses, construction technicians,
    Faculties are mostly state, there are also private … but in employment, priority is given to a completed state school

    • They stopped streaming so that in every class there is a mix, and the dumbest kids rule. In the old days those kids in dunce class went to what could be called a technical high school where they learned trades… some could be nurses, some plumbers, some book keepers.

      The point is, when you have bright kids you have, if you want to keep them bright, keep them away from the dunce kids.

  3. They actually had or have programs to stream the brightest into grade skipping and taking college courses while in High School. These means those bright kids lose two years of their childhood.

    If once is bright, why do it?


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