lies are much less likely than poornchildren to be labeled mentally retarded,nalthough both may have the samenintellectual levels. This interestingnperversion of logic, or what might bencalled The Prince and Pauper Syndrome,nseems to translate well fromntrue mental retardation to LD.nCertainly, this is true in New YorknCity. I have some so-called learningndisabled friends there: two children ofna wealthy family.nThe first child is prone to temperntantrums and always has been. Butnthen, he’s the baby, the afterthought.nAnd although this family can easilynafford to spend $40,000 a year onnprivate school educations, the beneficentncity of New York saw fit to paynand is still paying for the first sevennyears of this child’s very special education.nNot that it has done any good.nHe still embarrasses his older sisternwith baby talk. He still wrecks his bignbrother’s belongings with nary a peepnfrom a parent—except to enjoin thenbig brother from killing him, a badnidea, I think.nFrankly, I cannot see that the childnis anything but wily, lazy, and selfcentered.nFor, when he is aroundnadults who do not tolerate such behavior,nhe behaves almost like a boy hisnage might be expected to. He can carrynon quite intelligent conversations for angood length of time, about subjectsnfrom anteaters to manned flight. Hisnmotor skills seem less impaired than atnthe family breakfast table. He is evennable to visit museums without touchingnthe gem cases while, at home, hencan scarcely pour a glass of milk withoutnmajor assistance. He reads thingsnfor himself in public. He even suggestsnroutes to cabdrivers to cut the expensenof the ride, which he is clearly calculatingnalong with the meter. So innwhat way is this child learning disabled?nHis supposed dyslexia disappearsnon demand, as does his inability to paynattention, his baby talk, his troublenwith sums, ad nauseam. Indeed, thisn”poor child” was as well-read last fallnabout the Iran/Contra “scandal” asnmany adults and could ask more perceptivenquestions about it than most.nHe even expressed his own ideas aboutnthe morality of the thing.nSo much for the family’s poor baby.nThere’s also the problematic sister.nShe’s a charming and beautiful youngnteenager who likes to write and date,ndoesn’t like math and Latin. This isnbecause, I was recently informed, shenis “learning disabled” in math andnLatin. Tutors, money. Simple connection,nespecially at the financially beleaguerednprivate boarding school shenattends. I hope she transcends it. Sincenshe’s a pragmatist, too, I think shenwill. But I wonder who’s paying fornthis one.nI know who’s paying for the disproportionatennumber of specially educatednlearning-disabled students in thengreat state of Delaware, where thenTeachers’ Full-Employment Act is innfull swing.nIn 1969, it might easily be argued,nthe graffiti was on the wall. The first ofnthe baby boomers were graduatingnfrom college, and they were not havingnmany babies. Moreover, a hugensupply of these baby boomers burstnforth from the teachers’ colleges (afternall. Mom and Dad had pointed outnthat Janie would have summers free ifnshe became a teacher) onto the dwindlingnjob market. So is it coincidencenthat in Delaware, in 1969, enrollmentnin special education leaped by 30.9nnnpercent, while the increase in totalnstudent enrollment inched up only 4.7npercent? By 1973, when the invisiblenink was being heated up and broughtninto clear view (the general enrollmentnhaving dropped by 1.8 percent thatnyear), special ed enrollment leaped byn20.3 percent. In 1977, the spread wasnplus 12.1 special ed, minus 3.5 generalnenrollment. And so on.nIn I98I and ’82, enrollmentndropped for both. But it dropped lessnfor special ed. The spread in 1981:nminus 1.5 special ed, minus 4.4 generalnenrollment. For 1982: minus 0.1nspecial ed, minus 2.6 general. But byn1983, the last year for which I couldnobtain figures, the balance was back innthe plus column for special ed (plusn2.7) while still dropping generallyn(minus 1.3). It’s not hard to believenthat in Delaware, one-quarter of allnelementary schoolteachers are teachingnspecial ed—which is taught to anmere 11 percent of the students, althoughnthis, too, is climbing.nTo say that learning disability isnsomething of a joke may sound cruel.nBut let’s face it; when a subject ends upnthe feature story on a local 11:00 newsnSEPTEMBER 1987 147n