THE ANIMAL SCHOOL
"The animal school" is a fable by George H. Reavis, who wrote it in 1940 while he was superintendent of the Cincinnati Public Schools. The animals organized a school to help their children to deal with the problems of the new world. To make it easier to administer the curriculum or running, climbing, swimming and flying, they decided that all their children would take all the subjects. But this produced several issues. The duck was excellent in swimming but relatively poor in running. He devoted himself to improving his running through extra practice. Eventually, his webbed feet got so badly worn that he dropped to only average in swimming. But average was acceptable in this school so nobody worried about that, except the duck. The rabbit had a nervous breakdown because the other animals said she looked like a rat when she jumped in the water for swimming class and all her hair got matted down. In the climbing class, the eagle beat all the others to the top of the tree, but kept insisting on using his own method of getting there. This was unacceptable, so the eagle was severely disciplined. And then the fish came home from school and said, “Mom, Dad, I hate school. Swimming is great. Flying is fun if they let me start in the water. But running and climbing? I don’t have any legs; and I can’t breathe out of the water.” The fish’s parents made an appointment for her with the principal who took one look at her progress reports and decreed, “You are so far ahead of the rest of the class in swimming that we’re going to let you skip swimming classes and give you private tutoring in running and climbing.” The moral of the story is: LEt the fish swim, the rabbits run and the eagles fly. We don't want a school of average ducks... or ... Play to people's strength.
I made illustrations to this story which were published in a book which was used to explain how a school for children with special needs worked.