The Dumb Teaching the Blind

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Reader Daniel Scheeringa sends along this true tale of tax dollars at work from The Chicago Tribune:

Mayra Ramirez scored an A in driver's education this year, but sitting through the 10-week class felt like a bad joke to the Curie Metropolitan High School sophomore.

Ramirez is blind. She knows she's never going to drive. She can think of a lot of things she'd rather be studying than rules of the road, but she didn't have a choice.

Chicago Public Schools requires all sophomores to take the class and pass a written road-rules exam–a graduation requirement that affects about 30 blind and visually impaired students in specialized programs at Curie and Payton College Preparatory High.

Whole bit here.

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  1. I’ll resist the urge to rant about the pitiful state of driver’s ed. Grads can (sometimes) parellel park, but have no idea how to control a skid, perform threshold braking, nor do they have even a rudimentary understanding of vehicle dynamics.

    The blind thing just adds insult to injury.

  2. Mandatory publicly funded driver’s ed? Is this common? Back in the day, we used to have to pony up $150@ for the privilege of taking long trips with an instructor who smoked.

  3. That’s hilarious… and sad.

    The trouble is, no matter how many of these sorts of stories are published, there will still be people who devote their lives to transferring more and more power and control to government. It simply defies all logic.

  4. From the article:

    Istanbouli, a DePaul University professor who is blind

    Man, I wish I had that teacher. Open book tests, no essay questions, don’t have to show your work…

  5. Y’know, she’d probably still drive better than some of the asshats around where I live…

  6. In other news… all Illinois students are required to learn both Braille and American Sign Language. 🙂

  7. All Hit and Run does is piss me off.

  8. “The trouble is, no matter how many of these sorts of stories are published, there will still be people who devote their lives to transferring more and more power and control to government. It simply defies all logic.”

    Change “government” to “corporations” and more people will probably agree with your statement. Remember, most people think that “government” can be much better than “non-government,” at least in theory, even while they think that corporations are inherently much more malevolent. I’d tend to say that both government and corporations are inherently malevolent, as are unions, religions, and any other large organized group. The best thing to do is to not give any group too much power, while relegating some to all of them so none feel disinfranchised. I think too many people on this site (not necessarily you, Matthew) feel that government is the worst of all because of its monopoly of force. But what about corporations/plutocracies with their monopoly of capital? I’m not trying to sound like a Marxist here, but I think libertarianism’s fundamental flaw is it’s willful ignorance of the utter disparancies in life circumstances (what family you’re born into, how much capital/wealth they/you have). Now I’m certainly not advocating any extreme form of state redistribution of wealth, but until more libertarians talk about this issue, they will stay marginalized. Why do you think so many people think that we’re “Republicans who smoke pot?”

  9. I guess everyone should’ve seen this one coming.

  10. >perform threshold braking, nor do they have even
    >a rudimentary understanding of vehicle dynamics.

    Knowledge of vehicle dynamics such as the fact threshhold breaking on any car with ABS (i.e. pretty much any car made in the last 10 years) is a good way to get yourself killed.

  11. Ramirez is blind. She knows she’s never going to drive.

    Is she sure about that? Then why do they put braille labels on drive-up ATMs? Hmmmm?

  12. Mandatory publicly funded driver’s ed? Is this common? Back in the day, we used to have to pony up $150@ for the privilege of taking long trips with an instructor who smoked.

    It is mandatory for the Chicago Public Schools and is nearly universal for the rest of the high schools in Illinois.

    I have heard of schools in fiscal trouble cutting driver’s ed so I assume it is not mandatory statewide. OTOH, when I was growing up in downstate Illinois, I knew of no high school that did not offer driver’s ed.

    Although I don’t defend teaching the blind driver’s ed, I can see some utility in requiring driver’s ed for graduation. Not everyone has access to a car to learn how to drive in the big city. Also, I believe Curie High School’s students are mostly poor and fall into the category of not having access to a car.

  13. threshhold breaking on any car with ABS is a good way to get yourself killed

    What, resting one’s foot on the brake? How so?

  14. depending on how the curriculum is presented, I can see (no pun intended) the utility of everyone knowing the rules of the road, pedestrians as well as motor vehicle operators.

    tangentially related: I tried riding a bicycle to class when I was an undergrad, and other bike riders that apparently didn’t know that they were supposed to ride with traffic would run me off the road.

  15. but I think libertarianism’s fundamental flaw is it’s willful ignorance of the utter disparancies in life

    What are disparancies?

    nmg

  16. >What, resting one’s foot on the brake? How so?

    That’s not what threshold breaking is. Threshold breaking is varying break pressure on the brake pedal in order to just keep the wheels from locking. This doesn’t work on a car with ABS though, and also prevents the ABS from doing its job properly.

  17. I think too many people on this site feel that government is the worst of all because of its monopoly of force. But what about corporations/plutocracies with their monopoly of capital?

    1. They do *not* have a monopoly of capital.

    2. The monopoly of force is what enables the worst abuses by those wielding the capital. Government is indeed the worst of all.

    nmg

  18. My advice to Mayra is to buck up, suck it in and get jiggy.
    This reminds me of my experience with mandatory shop classes.
    Seems that most of my seventh grade was consumed by playing Alfalfa (Our Gang) in a locally written and produced version. That got me excused me from the seventh grade shop teacher’s class so often he had to give me a bad grade. (That and I could never get a 2x4x1 block perfectly at right angles.)
    In the eighth grade you gun nuts will be pleasured to know I attempted to build a gun rack from some fine black walnut.
    As the end of the year began to sneak up on me, some dude who was good at this sort of thing finished it off in no time. Bless him. I am just no good with my hands, except around the ladies.
    I hope this semi-treasured walnut gunrack is still mounted on chestnut studs in the house where my grandparents used to live way out in the boondocks of middle Tennessee.

  19. nmg,
    I feel a twinge of responsibilty for bringing communists like andy to H&R.
    I mean it’s good communists post here. We need all points of view.
    It’s just that I started a Google group name of “peaceful anarchists,” and linked it here and there.
    I finally had to close down my Google experiment because commies were on it like termites.
    Commies have the sense of humor of termites.

  20. Well, they could still drive taxis, couldn’t they? Passengers could direct them.

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