The Therapy Sessions
Thursday, July 17, 2003
Poor Misunderstood Blair!
The Inquirer trips over itself to tell us how misunderstood Blair Hornstine is:
The rejection undeniably gladdened many of Hornstine's detractors; some of her more hard-core critics couldn't wait to spread the word. She got what she deserved, they sniff, continuing to beat up on this teenager for having the audacity to sue the school district to preserve her status as sole valedictorian.
Gloating over this young person's setback is just plain small-minded.
“Preserve her status as sole valedictorian?”
The rules were changed for Hornstine’s benefit. She was allowed to take classes at home, with private tutors, and she did not have to take the classes that her competitors did. Her tests were untimed and were taken privately.
The Weekly Standard described her advatages like this:
Blair "could take as many AP or Honors courses as she wanted to" because her home schooling eliminated scheduling conflicts--and the grades in these courses added extra points to her average. An A+ in an advanced placement course was worth 5.3 points. What's more, she had been medically excused from the gym course other students were required to take. The best a student could do in gym was an A+ worth 4.3 points, which would have dragged down her GPA. (School Superintendent) Kadri also believed that the home tutors did not grade as rigorously as some of the regular AP teachers.
Her competitors took their tests in the distracting environment of the classroom and under the pressure of a ticking clock. While they were taking PE, Hornstine was taking extra AP courses to nudge her GPA higher.
Is it "small minded" to ask for a level playing field?
Her defenders argue that Hornstine was at a disadvantage because her immune disease. Maybe so. But every child from a broken home, and every child with parents that let him stay up late watching TV is at a disadvantage too. Shouldn't every "disadvantaged" student get the goalposts moved a little closer?
If you say "yes," aren't you just creating an incentive for every parent to get his child labeled "disabled?"
I have nothing against people in wheelchairs playing basketball. What I have a problem with are wheelchair basketball players demanding places on NBA teams and insisting that the rules change to give them an advantage.