SuperUnknown GP's writeup is dead on.

In my high school there were three tracks, we'll call them dumb, average, and smart. The only problem with a multi-track system is when you decide who goes on what track. My school decided that it would base how "smart" you were on your math, english, and science grades prior to eight grade. Most kids didn't give a flying fuck what they're grades in middle school were since it didn't seem to effect college. The logic was that if it didn't show up on your college transcript, then it didn't really count. The only inspiration for getting good grades was to keep your parents off your back.

Once the end of middle school came, we were privately(read: secretly) told what class number we were in, but now what it would mean. We were also instructed not to divulge our rank in our class because it might make the other kids feel bad. I got put in the "average" group, despite an IQ of 150+. Most of the people filed as "smart" were pretty much as dumb as logs when it came to common sense. I recall one girl reminding the teacher that the square root of 81 is 9.....10 minutes after the fact....with the help of a calculator. Similarly, most of the kids that wound up in the "dumb" classes turned out to be clever, interesting, intelligent and....duh duh duh dah! Potheads. These poor guys got shafted into the "dumb" group because they were smart enough not to care about their 6th grade transcript, but nobody warned them it would kick 'em in the ass later.

Once the dust settled and we got into high school, it became immediately apparent that many of the class placements were horribly incorrect. Unfortunately my school provided absolutely no mechanism for changing "tracks" mid-high school. You had to get special permission, each year, for each class, and needed three signatures on each permission slip. Needless to say, I stopped caring and became a pothead. Now I have learned that the lazy stoners that many people have to come to hate are the only quality product that public schools turn out. If you don't believe me think about this: Who is smarter: 1) A person who follows directions to the letter, without consideration or 2) Someone who realizes that if they substitute one step for another (or do two at once) they can save themselves an hour and get home in time to smoke a joint with their roommate?