I have never been a teacher’s pet, a perfect student, or a super achiever. As a child, I was mostly bored in school. That was a time before gifted programs were developed; it would have been helpful when I was in high school. There are lots of developmental programs in school currently, but in the rush to provide for special needs, I believe we are leaving one group of needs in the dust: the need for reality.
I was reviewing the menu of our local school, when I happened to notice another article that had an interesting title: Comprehensive Shcool[sic] Improvement Plan. Put aside the fact that there was a typographical error in the title–at least I am hoping it was a typo, I thought it was interesting that the school had an improvement plan that didn’t involve increasing taxes. I was a bit surprised at some of the things they believed needed improving. Improve lunch options: I could have used more detail on this issue. Improved student fitness level: This one is not well planned. The parties responsible have decided to have afterschool, voluntary, training for a 5K run for elementary and middle school students. A 5K run? (That’s a little over three miles.) Why? I’m sure there are many people who have no issues with running the socks off little children, but how does this improve the fitness level of the student base. Would the money not be better spent on gym equipment or general fitness training? Diversity training, not for the staff, for the students starting in kindergarten. This one stuck in my head. They had suggestions and some where a little more than troubling.
The one that concerned me most was the attitude that every student had to be awarded equally. Awarded equally? What they were meaning is that a student that has perfect attendance cannot be awarded a certificate, we are talking of a piece of paper, unless those with less than perfect attendance got an award as well. What? The concept is that no child should get their feelings hurt because they didn’t win or earn an award. This troubles me most because we already have a generation of “gimmes” out in the world. Now, we want to teach our children that that you have no right to a raise or promotion unless everyone gets one. I can see where that will work well in the real world: equal pay for everyone regardless of effort or experience. The cook at a fast-food place should make the same wage as Gordon Ramsey because it HAS to be the same for everyone. Diversity training is a good thing for the most part, we do want to train our children to accept people for who they are, but let us be cautious not to carry it too far. If a child should get an A on a test, why shouldn’t he get that gold star? He earned it. (Our schools do not even use letter grades currently because getting a D or an F might hurt their feelings.) If a student has enough money to purchase five books from the bookclub order form, he should be allowed to order that many. (Everyone is currently allowed only one book per order so not to make the less fortunate students feel bad.)
It is no great wonder that some of our young people are so angry at the government. The government has failed to provide them with a reality check during their free education. They feel entitled after twelve years of fairness and equality. How disapointed they must feel when they realize that the real world doesn’t flow that direction. Not many people find favor in the teacher’s pet, but the concept of every student being the teacher’s pet is unrealistic.