What would a school be like if everyone was equal? What are the positives and negatives?

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readerofbooks's profile pic

readerofbooks | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Taking our cues from Animal Farm,  it is not possible to have a school or a society in which all people are equal. Therefore, it is more of a hypothetical question, because it cannot work in reality. If we look at Animal Farm, the animals tried their best to create an equal society. This principle was even codified in the seventh commandment.

7. All animals are equal.

However, as the story progresses, it is clear that some animals gain more power than others. The pigs are at the top. They make the decisions, give the speeches, create the laws, set the course of the farm, and eventually they are the ones who turn into men. This shows that equality is not possible. 

From a more theoretical point of view, this will always be the case, because decisions have to be made. Who will make them? So, here is what Orwell says:

It ran: ALL ANIMALS ARE EQUAL BUT SOME ANIMALS ARE MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS After that it did not seem strange when next day the pigs who were supervising the work of the farm all carried whips in their trotters.

Now if we go back to idea of school where all are equal, I would say that it is not possible. Uniformity does not work, because all people are different. Therefore, a school that sought to make all equal would soon realize that "some are more equal than others." Moreover, such a school would miss out on all the great ways that people are different. The best that a school could do is to say that certain privileges do not count as currency in a school, such as one's wealth or social standing. 

In conclusion, I see very little positive in a school where all students are equal. 

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cblitchok's profile pic

cblitchok | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

Posted on

In regard to the novel Animal Farm, I think the question is "is it even possible for everyone to be equal?" The characters in Animal Farm have the opportunity to set up their own utopia, or their version of a perfect society, and they start out with one main guiding principle: "All animals are created equal." It would be like your school stating that regardless of socioeconomic status, gender, race, ability, or the type of activities or interests you have, everyone will be treated equally. It sounds great, and some positives may be that no one feels left out or unvalued, all students get the same treatment and opportunities, and each student gets to be whoever he/she wants to be.

However, in a school where everyone is equal, what about those unique characteristics that make us all special and individual? Those students who were more gifted academically would not be allowed to learn to the best of their ability, so that students who struggle in their classes would not feel left out. Athletes would not be able to perform to the best of their ability, because those who do not like sports or who can't throw a football to save their lives would feel inadequate. Singers or instrumentalists couldn't create music to the best of their ability because it might offend those who can't carry a tune in a bucket. We all have traits that make us unique and different from every other human on the planet, and sacrificing those traits so that a society can be "equal" can be dangerous and not as fun. 

The problem that the animals in Animal Farm ran into was that they couldn't keep those unique traits from dividing them. The pigs like Napoleon and Snowball used their education and flair for propaganda to take advantage of the other, less intelligent animals. Before too long, the pigs assumed that their particular gifts made them superior; before too long the motto of Animal Farm read "Some animals are more equal than others." If too much emphasis is placed on creating a completely equal environment, we do disservice to what makes us unique and potentially create an opportunity for others to be silenced, undervalued or taken advantage of.

matthkli's profile pic

matthkli | Elementary School Teacher | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted on

I am assuming when you say school you are referring to the education school provides us. First off, the reason society (in general) pushes us to become educated so that we will have advantage when it comes to becoming successful in our lives in society. This would also mean that it is disadvantageous to be uneducated. People who are uneducated are less likely to be successful by society's standards and more likely to commit crimes. This brings the ideological solution of creating a world or society in which everyone is equally educated. If everyone is equally educated than what advantage does having an education bring someone? An education no longer gives them the advantage to become successful. Some would say that all we need then is enough jobs for equally qualified, equally educated people. Not all jobs are created equal though, so if job A is a better job than job B. Person One goes to job A and Person Two goes to job B. It would seem horribly unfair to Person Two to have the lesser job and be equally educated. Which brings back the question of, In a perfect world/society where everyone is equally educated, what good is an education?

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