Sunday, March 12, 2006

Blind leading the blind

Mayra Ramirez got an A in her driver’s education class at at a Chicago high school. But she will never drive. She is blind.

So why did she take driver’s education? She had no choice. Neither do 30 other blind and visually impaired students. The school district decided that all sophomores must take a class and pass a written test regarding the rules of the road.

In the world of government bureaucracy one size fits all.

For Mayra the class lowered her self-esteem. She said in the other classes she can do the same work as the other students. But she can’t drive and she knows it. But to sit there day after day “gives us the feeling we’re different. In a way, it brought me down, because it reminds me of something I can’t do.”

Another blind student wondered: “Why should we have to memorize how a street sight looks when we are never going to see them while driving?”

Imagine a private provider telling customers that they have to buy a product that they can’t possible use. Of course private business can’t do that. Unless the state helps them they can’t force people to buy their product. So they rely on willing buyers and they have to try to satisfy their consumers. But government doesn’t act that way. They do have the power to force people to obey them. And that means they don’t particularly care about customer satisfaction. One result of the incentives of government is that blind students are forced to take driver’s education classes.