Tuesday, December 29, 2009

My lazy American students - The Boston Globe

My lazy American students - The Boston Globe

Posted using ShareThis

This article has practically nothing to do with what I normally write about, but I felt it interesting enough to share with you. I agree with the author in many ways, so much so that I was compelled to comment:

"I recently wondered what message students at my daughter's middle school received when she brought home a "progress report". In ancient days (when I was a kid), students in danger of failing were handed an interim report to take home and have signed by their parent(s). The dreaded white slips were handed out at the start of each class; everyone knew who was failing. Yes, it was humiliating for the kids who weren't doing well, but so what? It's better to be humiliated as a child than as an adult, where the effects of your failure can be more far-reaching and it was a hard lesson well-learned. Work harder to bring up your grade; make an effort not to be humiliated again. Success comes not with a whine but with hard work and dedicated effort.

But now, we're shielding our kids from the humiliation of failure by sending home Progress Reports; all children are seen to "progress" and all receive the reports whether they're doing well or poorly. (One of my daughter's teachers' comments: "She keeps her books covered". Should I book a party? Give her a sticker? Applaud that she's done what she's expected to do and act surprised?)

What doesn't surprise me is that the current "Johnny doesn't fail, he progresses" attitude carries through to the college years. It is inconceivable to the current group of college students that they could fail. They've been shielded and coddled (They "keep their books covered!") and have failed to learn accountability for their failure to perform. My fear is what will happen to them beyond the classroom, in the Work World where failure could result in termination and the loss of a standard of living. (And a life spent sponging off their parents, who hand them stickers for putting their dirty clothes in the hamper.) The truth is, we've created a nation of Johnnies who expect to progress without effort. And now, we see the results: we've failed in creating a next generation of responsible adults who will move this country forward. Instead of whining about the humiliation and trying to forge Mom's signature on our own interims, perhaps it's time to figure out where we went wrong and try to up our grade--and our standards of expectations."
What do you think? Is the author of the article correct in her observations or is she over-generalizing?  Either way, I find it frightening. 

1 comment:

  1. I would have to say I agree with the author. I think students are expected less and less to perform. I was horrified to find in kindergarten that my daughter's report card stated in 1st quarter she did not know her basic vitals, address, phone number etc. After a conference with the principal about the teacher (whom I did not like) the next report card indicated that she knew them and knew them well. The problem was, I quizzed my kiddo on these things nightly, and she did not know them. Again I trucked into the principals office and asked my daughter to be called in, and asked the principal to ask her what her address and phone number etc were. Upon failure to recite them, I asked why she was rated above average when she obviously did not know them? I see many areas where my daughter is rated above or below where she should be. Is it the teachers fault? Maybe...or maybe it's my daughters fault for not performing to expectation, or mine for not demanding she perform to full expectation at all times...who knows...but I do know, I do my best as a mother to educate my daughter, I believe that her school also does their best. Still, I see the growing trend....I hate to see what that means for the future of our students.