What I was seeing was a bell curve. That's how the teachers were grouping the students in their classes. The mound of jello was the middle of the bell curve. And pushing that middle incrementally forward was sucking the life spirit out of them.
I began to realize that our entire education system was based on this bell curve paradigm. The underlying purpose of our system seemed to be to sort students into groups along that curve for employment in an industrial economy.
The really smart people would become professors, the intellectual priesthood. They sat out on the far right shoulder of the bell curve. Next, moving toward the center, would be the business leaders. Then we would have the middle managers that would make up the majority of the right side of the bell curve. These were all of our "white collar" workers.
On the left side of the bell curve were our students destined to be our blue collar workers, first our skilled laborers then, finally, our unskilled laborers on the far left shoulder of the curve.
It all made sense. What I was seeing in the classroom was mapping to the original intention of our educational system, a system designed using the philosophies of Taylor and the Efficiency Movement - that model that underpinned the entire industrial economy.
The only problem was, these students are not going into an industrial economy anymore. We need to prepare them for a new economy, a tech-enabled creative economy.