An IQ of 20

To Sonja Bingen

By Thomas Davis

 They said he had an IQ of 20, she said.
As if he can’t solve free form math problems
and then type out right answers on his I Pad.
My God, you can read a book to him,
and then he can answer hard questions about the book
without any prompting at all!

The problem is he can’t talk.
They get him in a room and give him a test
and fail to get him engaged
in what they want him to do,
and he ignores them
and because THEY are ignored,
THEY discover he has an IQ of 20!

Of course, the truth is that their discovery is about money.
The law says they have to educate all young people
even if they can’t talk
and sit in a classroom without mannerisms
not like those the rest of the kids his age have.
But dealing with differences can be expensive.
You have to have trained people
to work one on one with severely challenged students
if they are going to prove they can learn.

What they’ve done is to convince people
that they’re gaining whenever they cut taxes,
but in the meantime average people like us
take home a little lesser percentage of the national income
after the tax cuts while the rich pile their wealth
into mountains of advantage
that the rest of us aren’t allowed to even know exists.

That means schools limp along,
overwhelmed with too many mandates,
resources stretched past the breaking point,
and, my God!, THEY say, I’ve got to tell you,
the American education system is failing!

An IQ of 20! she said.
How stupid!


Filed under poems, Poetry, Thomas Davis

16 responses to “An IQ of 20


    Just reading this makes me want to explode!
    Or weep! And weep! And Weep!

    So clearly spelled out this so unpalatable truth!
    So clearly so almost universally ignored by so many!
    Who love to view themselves as “well-educated”!
    I say try “well-indoctrinated” instead!

    We find ourselves born into a corrupt society!
    Not educated oh no rather schooled!
    So as to emerge as blind sheep!
    Baa! Baa! Baa! Baa! Baa!
    Bah! Humbug!

  2. (And there’s a hug or two in there too.)

  3. I agree completely with Tom and Ben. With a background in education, I know firsthand our failure to improve the quality of education. As retirees we volunteer, all be it in a small way, to work with teachers. Joy teachers reading to challenged children and me environmental education to elementary school children. Teachers who bring their students to Sabino Canyon know the value of children connecting to nature and the passion the SCVN members have. Every little bit helps even when the obstacles keep getting bigger.

  4. Reblogged this on Becoming is Superior to Being and commented:
    Tom tells it like it is! We continue to fail at educating our children. I’m reminded, there is nothing more unequal than the equal treatment of unequals.

  5. eremophila

    Reblogged this on Eremophila's Musings and commented:
    This happens in Australia also. It’s time to revolt!

  6. I get rather tired of the education system judging students by an IQ test. Some just do not perform well even if they don’t have severe disabilities. My younger son was one of those who was put in a special program because he couldn’t read in first grade. But at home, he read the newspaper sports page just fine and knew all the sports facts. He was just not interested in their presentation.

    Years later, he finished his master’s degree in sports journalism. We have to look beyond the scores and into their hearts.

  7. Tom, I agree with all the comments here too. We live in a cookie cutter world….woe to those children (and adults) who don’t fit in. Thank you for posting this!

    (I keep meaning to email you and Ethel, just to say hi. Hope your holidays were pleasant ones, in spite of what’s going on in this country. May 2019 bring us some relief from the madness.)

    • ” May 2019 bring us some relief from the madness.”

      Amen to that!

    • Betty, thanks so much for this. I want to keep in touch, but haven’t had the energy for blogs lately. I’m doing a little too much work and writing. I promise to send an email one of this days soon, though. Ethel and I appreciate you so much. I wish I could find more ways to sell more copies of your book for you. It’s a wonderful book.

  8. extrasimile

    Hi Thomas
    I know its been a long time, but I just came across some old papers that reminded me of you. I think it was the first thing we corresponded over: namely Garcia Lorca’s notion of duende. This seems an appropriate time to remind you of it, as your latest poem is clearly an anguished cry to treat your grandson as a real person. (By the way, plotting a 20 IQ on a bell curve would reveal the whole thing as a statistical romance—nothing more) Duende, to remind you, is defined by Garcia Lorca, as, ‘a mysterious force that everyone feels and no philosopher has explained.’ ; ‘all that has dark sound has duende;’ ‘it’s of the most ancient culture of immediate creation,’ It is dangerous to define something as undefined, but there is value notion as well. Sensing the duende, treating someone as if he it had duende is a good reminder that we don’t know everything, that we don’t know much at all.
    ‘The duende…where is the duende, through the empty archway a wind of the spirit enters, blowing incessantly over the heads of the dead, in search of a new landscape and unknown accents: a wind with the odor of a child’s saliva, crushed grass and the medusa’s veil, announcing the endless baptism of freshly created thing’s.’
    Say hello to your grandchild for me.

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