Donut class - A group of students divided to such a degree as to leave nothing in the middle. Alternately stellar and stupid, inspiring and insipid, these students exhibit strongly contrasting beliefs, inclinations, and behaviors. Some students help maintain the academic environment (“Be quiet, my friend is talking”), and other students undermine the learning (“Shut up. This assignment sucks ass”).
Teachers contribute to the “empty middle” by backing good students with letters of recommendation, burdening bad students with referrals and detention slips, and writing little, if anything, about anybody else. Students in the middle do not complain, as this is par for the course, the way things are and will be; students in the middle know if they want attention from a teacher, they must join their peers on the bloated perimeter.
Documented existence of donut classes is rare. Some researchers attribute this lack of proof to teacher bias; having “nothing in the middle” reflects the lens with which a teacher views a class more than the reality of the class itself. Other researches say it’s because contemporary school and community infrastructures often divide young people before they get to class; students live in gated developments on hills or subsidized apartments in valleys; there are no regular houses. They enroll in Advanced Placement, Honors, and International Baccalaureate classes, or they do not.
A circular image for a linear concept, “donut class” is a term with limited productivity.
Syn: mayonnaise sandwich. See also: crab bucket syndrome