I saw these reports today about two Leaving Cert students who were awarded 12,000 euros because they were discriminated against. The money was awarded by the Equality Tribunal when the students took a case against the Department of Education. Why? Well, it seems that both students are dyslexic and apparently the certificates issued to the students had some footnotes which stated that their English exam didn’t test their spelling, punctuation or certain elements of grammar.
This, to me, seems a bit silly. Why didn’t the exam test their spelling, punctuation or grammar? That way, they could just have been given a straight result, with no controversy. But no. It appears that, because the students have a disability, they are exempt from having their spelling and punctuation assessed, and this is the way the Equality Tribunal would like it. In an English exam, you don’t bother looking at the spelling, because a lot of people have trouble spelling.
Do you know what we should do? We should stop testing people on things they find hard. Great. Why not take it a step further, and let people who can’t read a single word do the English exam? We’ll test them on absolutely fuck-all, and therefore we’ll have to give them top marks.
Well done, you illiterate fucker: you got an A in English.
And in future, people won’t be bad at maths, or have crap teachers who turned them off. Instead, we’ll have dyscalculia. Ha, you think I made up that word, don’t you? Well, I fucking didn’t. It’s in use, and pretty soon, all hard sums will be banned from maths exams because people with dyscalculia might feel left out.
Can’t you just see them in a few years, down there in Houston? On the mission to Alpha Centauri, reaching out to our nearest intelligent neighbours who recently beamed us back an episode of Neighbours.
Challenger II, you are good to go.
And the mighty transquadriplinthalistic engines rumble to life, propelling the gigantic ship upwards, upwards, upwards and straight into the side of a fucking mountain.
What the heck, Houston?
Ah, sorry there, Mission Control. Um, seems one of our navigation controllers has dyscalculia, got his flight equations a little knotted up, y’know?
Dyscalculia, you say. Well shoot! Why’n’y’all say so sooner? Why we can’t go all upsettin’ that poor disabled boy. Let’s us jest ferget the whole darn thing an’ start over. What y’all say?
Why stop there? We could award Physical Education degrees to multiple amputees. No test necessary because no fuckin legs for fuckin trampoline. Only fair. And if you don’t like it, we’ll be off to the Equality Tribunal. By the way, so what if I have no arms or legs or a head? I’m equal to you and I’m entitled to that black belt in Kung Fu.
They estimate that 5,000 students every year could have dyslexia and could all be covered by this ruling. Who says 5,000 students have dyslexia? I don’t know. Are there that many people in the country qualified to make a diagnosis, or is it just something you can claim to have? Were they diagnosed, and if so who carried out the diagnosis? In this country, children have to wait till they’re forty-three to get orthodontic treatment. People have to drive a hundred miles to get dialysis. Old people have to lie on an A&E trolley for a week before they’re seen. But somebody somewhere is able to diagnose 5,000 kids every year with dyslexia.