Truly Blessed

ALS patient James Martin shares his journey.

Grade Tax

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James Martin
Tuesday, November 13, 2012

It is great to see you after such an historic victory. You, as college students, have come out strong in support of your beliefs. The greedy rich are not doing their fair share to help the less fortunate, regardless of the cause of the misfortune. It is not right for some to benefit, while others go wanting. And I, as your professor, share in your belief. As such, this class will be graded utilizing the standard of your ideal world.

There are thirty of you registered in this class. As of this point in the semester, eight of you have As, twelve have Bs, ten have Cs, four have Ds, and the remaining six are failing this course. In light of your views on redistribution, I as your professor cannot allow this injustice to remain. Therefore, I must redistribute your "earned points" regardless of your efforts or the quality of your work.

I have thus taken sufficient points from you, the A and B students, and redistributed them to the others, especially the failing students. Congratulations Mr. Smith, though you have failed each test, not attended half the lectures, and submitted your last paper with more errors than a remedial sixth grader, you have benefitted from this new redistribution plan. Ms. Jones and Mr. Jackson, your motivation has shown in your excellent work and hard earned high grades. But the majority has spoken; we must heed to their will.

So I have assessed a "tax" upon the A and B student points and given them to the C, D, and the failing students. I know you understand that this is the only fair way to compensate each one of you regardless of your effort, work product, and knowledge of this subject.

The redistribution of student's points, in a fair allocation, results in an outcome that each of you now has a C-. Obviously, all of you benefit in this fairness model. With that, the final exam is worth sixty percent of your grade. I will first assign the earned grade and then apply the fairness redistribution (a.k.a. the grade tax) which will result in the actual grade on your final exam.

Good morning again students. I must say I am very disappointed in your final exams. It appears many of you did not even try. You must have decided not to work as hard because you were not going to receive the reciprocal benefit of your own work. It is as if you expected to receive your fair share of another's hard work.

Prior to redistributing your grades, one person earned a B-, two earned a C, five earned a C-, four earned a D, eight earned a D-, and ten of you failed. After the grade tax, each of you earned a D- on the final exam. As such, your final grade in this course is a D-. Congratulations, your fair share is richly deserved.

I hope that this course has lived up to your expectations. You should be proud that you all earned a D-. It is only through your shared effort that this grade was achieved by all. Because of this redistribution no one fails, yet for some strange reason no one excels either.

There is however, exciting news for you. As a result of this new system of fairness, all standards for entry in to medical, dental, law, and graduate schools have been eliminated. It is unfair to only admit the most qualified, the best of the best; so from here on Forward, your reward shall be according to the average effort of all. Welcome to the D- real world. After all, it is only fair.

Last updated: 10:46 am Wednesday, August 28, 2013

James Martin is a former attorney and graduate of Gonzaga University and Marquette Law School. He lives in Spring Prairie near Burlington. He has been diagnosed with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS. He is married with 6 kids. James is a community blogger and is not a part of The Gazette staff. His opinion is not necessarily that of the Gazette staff or management.

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