Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Thanks for the tip on Jerome's article (searching for it now).  You're certainly right about the American system's obsession with celebrating mediocrity.

Jen (my fiancee) had to do it when she taught as a volunteer last year, but that situation was a bit different: These were kids who weren't taken seriously by the teachers.  They had no self-esteem, whatsoever, and she had to spend months building them back up with assignments to give them confidence.  Over half the kids couldn't read when she began working with them.  One teacher looked at her and said, "See that group of students in the corner?  I guarantee you they'll all drop out."  She was stunned by that comment and wanted to slap the taste out of the teacher's mouth for taking that attitude.

I assume you've seen the stories on American teachers no longer being allowed to use red-ink pens in some districts when grading papers, because red ink "sends the wrong message" and "makes the students feel bad."  What a crock.  If a parent said that to one of my econ. professors, that parent would've been thrown out of the professor's office to the sound of laughter from the entire faculty.  Perhaps it's different in California.  People are weird out there.  I've yet to meet a native Californian without getting the feeling that aliens must exist.  Maybe that's why there are so many Scientologists in Hollywood.

Why parents are so obsessed with treating their children like four-year-olds until they finally leave high school is beyond me.  I'm all for the idea of nurturing kids, and for praising them when they actually achieve something.  But I also believe kids need to be told the truth when they've screwed up, and that there needs to be a sense of responsibility for one's future implanted early on.  My parents didn't reward my for Cs in school.  (I had friends whose parents did, though.)  They grounded me for weeks at a time.  And they told me, "Hey, do you want to dig ditches or flip burgers for a living?  Keep screwing off in school.  Nobody's going to do the work for you."

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri Mar 31st, 2006 at 12:30:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Others have rated this comment as follows:


Occasional Series