I did not know this until yesterday, but I am the father of Wil 16 and Gracie 20.
I was working with my son last night on his homework when I saw him write "Wil 16" on the name line of his vocabulary paper. "What’s the '16' for, Wil?”
I should have never asked. Now, keep in mind that there are only about 20 children in this public school classroom and my wife assures me that the teacher knows the first and last name of every child in the class (I’d be surprised if she didn’t).
But, apparently the teachers are not capable of quickly keeping up with all of the students and their homework papers without the numbers, according to the principal whom I asked this morning. I was going to suggest an alphabetical system by first or last name, but felt that would insult the intelligence of this government school principal with a doctorate degree.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not some right-wing nut who thinks the government is trying to embed some sort of tracking device under everybody’s skin. I understand why there is a number on my house, that I live in a ZIP code, or have a social security number. There is an intelligent explanation and need to all three of these. But, just 20 kids in a classroom? Give me a break.
I didn’t have a number when I was in elementary school and the teachers seemed to function just fine. Apparently, they do not do it in middle or high school, so when did this become a real need for just elementary teachers? In fact, I believe that to say elementary teachers need the number system and their counterparts in middle or high school do not is down right insulting to our elementary teachers.
Maybe this is just silly, but what does this subtly say to our children about the names we as parents have given them? Does this eat away at the family identity? Or, affect the perceptions of young children toward a government authority who forces them to identify themselves by a number? What happens when suddenly our children come home with the number written in Sharpie on the inside of their left forearm? Okay, maybe this would definitely cross a line, but many intrusive government actions start with subtleties.
I was only a kid in 1976 when the movie "Logan’s Run" presented us with a future where the main character was Logan 5, his "sandman" partner was Francis 7, and his love interest was Jessica 6. In the movie, every one is treated as a ward of the government with parents having no rights to their children. Nobody complains as the state provides its domed inhabitants with the freedom to pursue "a perfect world of total pleasure" without consequences. Except for one — living beyond the age of 30.
At the beginning of the movie, Logan 5 is proudly looking through the nursery window, trying to locate the newly born Logan 6. “I tell you, Francis, that’s him!”
“Maybe, maybe not. What does it matter?” Francis 7 replies. “Anyways, he’s not yours anymore.”
Our children have now been given numbers by their government schools. Welcome to the 23rd Century.