Bell Pepper Curve.

Link to today’s strip

First of all, there is an absolute horror show of a human in the background. A literal dickhead emerging from a shirt made of pubes. The guy is smug as shit too. No doubt having just eaten an entire plate of the grilled processed meat tubes that he has descended from in some kind of twisted Westviewian evolution.

Does Westview grade on the curve? That’s a horrific thought. Because while some teacher claim that pretending that the smartest kid’s 85% correct on the test is the new 100% is ‘grading on the curve’, what it really means is the draconian application of the bell curve to the entire class. Every student ranked, in direct competition with the other students for the limited number of A’s, 40% of students doomed to C’s regardless of what actual percentage of the material they got correct. All your A or B tells you is that in Mrs. McGiggins 2005 Fall semester of Pre-Calculus you did better than 15 other people.

My junior year of high school, the calculus teacher was gone the entire year on maternity leave. For the first semester, they gave the advanced math students taking precalc and calc a teacher they had previously relegated to teaching remedial general math because she was so inept, despite the fact she was technically qualified. Because of her I never learned the difference between cosine and cosign.

When the most gifted kids in the school started struggling and complaining to their parents, the principal had the audacity to come to the class, pull out a bell curve and try to explain to us that, really, most of us SHOULD be getting C’s in the class.

I shot my hand right up and explained to the class that ‘the bell curve’ was both old-fashioned and unfair. We were supposed to be graded on the percentage of the material we got right, not in competition with other students for limited number of A’s. The fact that most of us were getting C’s meant that, as a class, we were understanding barely half of what we were being tested on. He fumbled around for a bit, but didn’t really have a good response. He was talking to the smartest kids in the school, and our GPA’s, and thus our college prospects, were on the line.

They pulled an old math teacher out of retirement for the next semester.

I remember the impotent frustration, the despair, and the eventual fatalistic resignation that we, as a class, felt that semester. So many of us just gave up trying. There was no reason to attempt to succeed on our own, because that would only hurt our classmates by driving up expectations. So most of us sat through every day of math class that semester, silent, sullen, and unresponsive.

What I’m saying is, I’m guessing that Westview grades on a curve.


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

14 responses to “Bell Pepper Curve.

  1. billytheskink

    Is that Dinkle or Crankshaft? Looks like he could eat a banana sideways.

    • CRM114

      I love Cayla. She either doesn’t realize she’s finished eating and can throw the plate away, is trying to wash a paper plate, or the picnic is served on hard plates and she’s washing it. “Cayla! Get over there and work!!” World record for smirks in a single strip.

    • comicbookharriet

      The man could eat a plantain sideways, peel and all.

  2. Epicus Doomus

    I thought pube-shirt guy was our old pal Art Teacher, though it’s been a long time and I could be mistaken there. As usual, the gag here is that everyone in Westview sucks at everything. Given how they’re all unable to prepare or purchase the simplest dishes, the WHS faculty is destined to smirk politely as they joylessly choke down burnt hot dogs and rancid potato salad, even though Les’ best friend could have easily supplied them with some surplus pizza at rock-bottom prices. Hilarity will no doubt ensue.

  3. The remake of Tod Browning’s “Freaks” breaks for lunch.

  4. ComicTrek

    Tomorrow’s strip: Listeria from the potato salad.

  5. Gerard Plourde

    If I’m seeing correctly, next to Linda, Bull appears to have been replaced by Elmer Fudd.

    • Gerard Plourde

      Also, there is an almost total lack of continuity in layout and characters between panel one and panel two.

      • Rusty Shackleford

        Ah just goes to show you the care with which Batty practices his holy craft.

        Ive been home sick and so I spent a good part of the weekend rereading Calvin and Hobbes and Watterson has gorgeous artwork and lots of subtle details…which is why I can reread these and still see new things.

  6. The Nelson Puppet

    “I’d like to say thank you on behalf of the group and ourselves, and I hope we passed the audition.”

  7. Paul Jones

    Gee. I wonder what it is about a faculty made of smirking and incompetent mutants that makes the rate-payers want to starve this place of funding?

  8. Ray

    Great commentary CBH!! I made it through the first 2 sentences before I lost my coffee! Always a treat.

  9. Eldon of Galt

    I had no idea how monstrous the bell curve could be. You did a great job explaining it.
    Also, following up on Gerard Plourde’s comment, there is indeed no sign in panel two of the table the principal is facing in panel one. No similarity at all. It’s like he hiked all the way across the yard before finishing the sentence he was in the middle of.