Pauline, go to the bottom of the class

Pauline Hanson has kept her name in the news by saying that children with autism or other disabilities should be taught in separate classrooms.

In a speech whose syntax would have disqualified her for citizenship if the government’s planned English proficiency test were in effect, Hanson said that the time teachers devote to helping children with disabilities means that other children are held back from learning as much as they might otherwise.

Hanson should be careful. If her proposal catches on, people might extend it. Perhaps sessions of the Senate would be more fruitful if senators who can’t think straight were removed to a separate room.

But it can happen that even gross stupidities reflect, in a distorted way, real problems. If teachers can’t spend as much time as would be helpful and productive with all of their students – and I’m sure that’s the case – then perhaps the solution would be to reduce the student/teacher ratio by hiring more teachers.

Of course, that would cost money, and could only be implemented through unrealistic measures like taxing rich people or ending spending on preparations for war – ideas that would never get through parliament.

Maybe Hanson wouldn’t be at all lonely in that separate room.