James Bryant Conant

James Bryant Conant believed that too many schools, both small and large,
were not sufficiently challenging the academically talented. He states that
“too many boys were neglecting courses in the humanities in favor of science and
mathematics, and too many able girls were avoiding science, math, and foreign
languages.” His philosophy can be reflected in today’s society and it has both
negative and positive aspects.

Many high schools today separate the so called “academically gifted”
from the “academically challenged”. They have developed special classes for
both groups of students. At our high school, Crystal Lake Central High School,
there were classes called E.C. classes, or extra curricular classes, for the
honors students. On the other hand, there were remedial classes for the
students who were a slower at learning than the other students. The biggest
group of students entails the “average student” who basically takes average
classes. This idea of designating certain classes for students depending on
their academic abilities is good because it allows students to learn at an
appropriate level. A student who can read at a speed of 125 words per minute
should not be in the same English class as a person who only reads 50 words per
minute. On the opposite end, there is a downfall to this idea of separation of
classes. Students are put into certain groups and therefore they become
stereotyped into certain categories. A person at a high intelligent level may
be called a “brain” while a person at a low intelligent level may be called
“stupid”.The students therefore form an identity with the group they belong
to and use this identity to predict their future success. For example, a person
of low intelligent probably does not feel much hope for obtaining a white
collar job and he probably feels he has to resort to a blue collar job based on
his academic status.

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Category: English