From each according to his need

Posted: Jan 04, 2005 12:00 AM
Dear absent student:

I received your recent email asking to be excused from the first two days of class. I am sorry that your mother bought your plane ticket before consulting the schedule for the semester. That happens a lot. In fact, it happens to at least one of my students every semester. But, please don?t worry. I am going to handle your situation under a new policy I have initiated for the coming semester.

Under my new policy, students with special needs will be able to open a ?special needs account? every time that they need to be exempt from the rules that apply to everyone else. Vouchers will be deposited in the account in an amount that accurately reflects the magnitude of each student?s special need. Two vouchers have been deposited in your account to handle this week?s absences.

Since you will not be present on the first day of class, I am going to take the time to give you a special review of the class policies. I don?t mind repeating myself for students who can?t come to class. I have a lot of time on my hands. I have tenure.

First of all, it is important that you come to class on time. You need to wear a watch and set it to the time indicated on the Weather Channel. Contrary to the views of the Office of Campus Diversity, there is a fixed reality out there, independent of your feelings. Come to class before it is really 10 a.m., not before you feel like it is 10 a.m.

Of course, you might have some special problem that prevents you from making it to class on time. If so, just come to me after class and tell me what that problem is. I will grant you one special needs voucher for every time that you are late.

And cell phones will be strictly prohibited in our class. Since students have consistently shown that they cannot remember to turn off the ringer on their cell phones, I do not allow students to bring one to class at all. But if you don?t feel like following this rule, just tell me that you have a special need for your cell phone. I will then deposit one special needs voucher into your special needs account for each day that you need to bring it to class. And if it rings during class, don?t worry. I will give you a voucher for each and every single ring! Just tell me why you needed to leave on the ringer.

Furthermore, you will be asked not to read magazines or chat with your neighbors during class. But if there is a pressing need to talk, I will stop the class and allow you to finish. Of course, each time I have to do that, I will grant a special needs voucher, just as long as there really was a special need for you to speak. The policy also applies if you need to go potty during class. We will all wait for you to get back before resuming class lecture. We don?t want you to miss a thing. And don?t forget to pick up your special needs voucher after you get back from going potty.

I also intend to change the way that we review our exams after they have been graded. I used to go over the answers in class, to make sure that I had not made any mistakes. I also allowed the student to hand back his exam if there had been a computational error. That was too complicated. From now on, I am just going to ask you how you feel about your grade. Anyone who feels that he needs a letter grade added to his exam will get a special needs voucher. Two letter grades? No problem. Two vouchers, coming right up!

After the semester is over, you will cash in all of your special needs vouchers. Actually, I will do it for you if you need me to. This is the part of the policy you need to listen to carefully.

Throughout your entire career as a student, you have been taught that you are entitled to something, just because you have a special need. That is the mentality behind affirmative action. It also explains other problems like grade inflation. It is also the reason why socialism has failed despite the murders of 100 million individuals, all sacrificed for ?the good of mankind.?

Since the rewarding of need and the corresponding punishment of achievement has been such a failure, there is only one rational thing to do. We must reverse the process. That is why, today, I am announcing a plan to deduct one point from your final average for every special needs voucher that you accumulate during the semester. The points will go to students who do not ask for special treatment but, instead, follow rules and seek to earn credit based upon individual merit.

By implementing this plan, I will be doing my part to reverse the harmful effects of socialism upon our great nation. If others follow, we will soon see the emergence of a large gap between the needy and the achievers in our society. But if we stay the course, we will see many of our needy brothers join the class of the achievers in the future. If they do not, we can at least say that we provided them with an opportunity to achieve. We have no other obligation.

We must no longer conceal our aims. It is time to openly declare that they can be reached by nothing less than a reversal of existing social conditions. Let the needy tremble at the coming revolution. The achievers have nothing to lose but their chains.