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Sunday, March 12, 2006

Can I use my cane to signal at turns?

News today that Chicago, Second City of the U.S. (Behind New York, Los Angeles, and Washington D.C.) requires Driver's Education "Rules of the Road" exams from all students, in order for them to graduate. Amazingly, this also includes blind students.

Meta Minton, a spokeswoman for the Illinois Board of Education, was quoted by the Chicago Tribune as saying, "It defies logic to require blind students to take this course." Thanks so much for that information, Captain Obvious. It seems the Illnois Board of Education is on this issue like Tom Cruise on a Chesterfield.

Still, one might point to a certain optimism in such a requirement, a can-do, forward-thinking, "Don Quixote on Barry Bonds strength steroids" spirit that says, "One day, someone is going to come along and cure your vision problems, and then you'll need to know just when to yield when merging on an expressway!"

"Can I take the exam, then? I want to study for my Algebra final, now." ask the blind students.

"Just shut up and take the damn test, you whiny slackers!" comes the visionary response.

One must marvel at a city that is so optimistic that it produces driver's tests in Braille. In that same disability-transcending spirit, I expect the following required speciality courses to soon bedevil Chicago's students:

  • Music Appreciation for the Deaf - Learn to tell the difference between the sub-audial vibrations of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, The Clash's London Calling, and the Red Line stop at Argyle.
  • Gym for Parapalegics - I'm sure some brilliant genius in the Chicago school system will develop a climbing apparatus for people that is breath-controlled. "Get up that rope, you lazy punk! Move it! Move it! Breathe! Breathe!!".
  • Shakespeare for ESL Students - English not your native tongue? Can you barely ask where the restroom is? That shouldn't keep you from enjoying the lyrical majesty of Britain's finest poet! Plus, learn great new words, like "bodkin", "petard", and "Guildenstern."
  • Speech for Mutes - No cheating and using sign-language here! Whatever noise you can make is just part of the speech, including clapping and foot stomping in Morse code. Toastmasters complimentary membership included.
  • Interior Design for the Colourblind - Are you the kind of person who loves "Trading Spaces" even if the results seem rather bland and monochrome? This is the class for you!

I can just imagine the Chicago Schools chomping at the bit to produce courses like these, the looneys.


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