We can’t let whiny parents and their mediocre kids set the agenda for our country’s educational needs.
Then there’s the outcry, equally reflective of the times, from adults who assert that kids aren’t enjoying school as much; feel a level of stress that they shouldn’t have to; are being judged too narrowly; and doubt their own mettle.
Aren’t aspects of school supposed to be relatively mirthless? Isn’t stress an acceptable byproduct of reaching higher and digging deeper? Aren’t certain fixed judgments inevitable? And isn’t mettle established through hard work?
School should be relatively mirthless.
We need to accept that not everyone is capable of the same level of accomplishment in their lives. Not everyone has equal ability. That’s OK. Its just the way things are. We can wish that everyone was capable of the same great things in life, but we certainly can’t design our educational system as if they are. Not every should go to college. Everyone certainly has the right to, but not everyone has the mettle, even if they try their hardest. Furthermore, many many people who do have the mettle don’t go or don’t need to go to college. That’s OK. We need people who chose other paths. College is not the only solution for upward mobility, satisfying careers, or happy lives. Not going to college isn’t a career killer. We shouldn’t allow our educational system to try to funnel everyone onto the same pathway.
This isn’t about class distinctions or educational opportunities. We can’t allow everything to be equalized toward the middle (or worse, the bottom). We need tough academic standards. We need to challenge those capable of meeting them. We also need to develop paths for those who were never meant for greatness, or even mediocrity, but we can’t stand in the way of those who are. We need some educational path for those with lower capabilities which will result not in pushing everyone toward college, but direct them towards a livelihood suited to their capabilities.
NYTimes: Are Kids Too Coddled?