Thursday, November 03, 2005

The Problem With Our Schools

Disclaimer: I really do love and appreciate our Local School System. Especially our teachers. My kids have received and are still receiving an excellent education. This post deals instead with our Euphorian, 21st century, don't compete, "everybody wins, play musical chairs with a more seats than children so they all get one and nobody loses" culture.

I was cleaning out some old school files when I came across a bunch of award ribbons my children had "earned". This one was my favorite:



It was wrinkled, shoved into a folder with some other junk, and simply said, "participant."

No "Fourth Place". No "Cleanest Socks". No "Best Use of a Preposition to End a Sentence". Not even any info on what event my child supposedly "participated" in.

I was reminded of an exchange between Bob & Helen Parr in "The Incredibles":




HELEN
But this, our family, is what's happening now, Bob. And you are missing this! I can't believe you don't want to go to your own son's graduation.

BOB
It's not a graduation. He's moving from the fourth grade to the fifth grade.

HELEN
It's a ceremony!

BOB
It's psychotic! They keep creating new ways to celebrate mediocrity but if someone is genuinely exceptional...


I get this impression of HUGE boxes of "participant" ribbons stored in each school in America, with students receiving piles of them for going to class, staying awake, remembering their names, etc.

My son thought it would be a cool idea to collect as many of those ribbons as we could and then proudly display them on a wall at his graduation party.

"Wow, look at that, Ethel...This kid really PARTICIPATED!"

Sometimes, I really miss
The Old Days...

11 Comments:

Blogger Reinman said...

I know this comment breaks a vow of mine (stupid video, SHUT UP!), but this was a great post.

Here in Bemidji, I have been loudly proclaiming the merits of the Bergan method, especially considering that I myself might be teaching as early as this fall.

9:04 AM  
Blogger Colonel Havoc said...

I was hoping, as we moved into November, that the dumb video would go away. I guess I just have to post more.

9:16 AM  
Blogger King Adam said...

Yeah it is getting bad where I am from too. I've heard people talking about not keeping score in sporting events now. They say it's tramadic for a child to see the score and know he is losing.

11:08 AM  
Blogger Colonel Havoc said...

Up here in MN, we have a Radio Host who takes frequent calls about that sort of thing. He would call it an "End of the World" and play the R.E.M. song by the same name to punctuate the agrument...

"It's the end of the world as we know it..."

11:24 AM  
Blogger Jenn said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

2:16 PM  
Blogger Jenn said...

yeah, the deleted comment was from me. I'm not...good. I tried to make a link... it worked! But then it didn't work. i don't know. so i took the idea to my blog.

tootles! :)

2:32 PM  
Blogger the devine one said...

Oh my gosh. That link. THAT LINK! -shudder-

2:32 PM  
Blogger the devine one said...

I was talking about the ending link in the post. Jenn commenting at exactly the same time confused my point.

2:34 PM  
Blogger SuperStar said...

Ha. I love Bergan. What are we going to achieve and what kind of self worth are my future children going to learn by being mediocre? I want a world changer not a mediocre molly.
Later

2:34 PM  
Blogger dangeresque dan said...

Yes, the world is drawing close to a grey-spot. Even in elementary classes they've replaced "English" with "Language skills" so as not to offend non-english speakers. . . At least we still have the Vikings to look forward to when we want to feel mediocre instead of our kids and their participation.

9:57 PM  
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