Cyncie, on Jan 29 2004, 09:11 AM, said:
This whole discussion assumes, though, that all kids can achieve within the existing system if they're just properly motivated to do so. That's just not true. Some kids don't fit the system, and the system can't accommodate them. Kids with learning disabilities, or physical disabilities are not "underachievers" by choice, but they often get left behind when schools insist on rigid adherence to traditional means of evaluating progress. No matter how hard they work, they can't perform "honor roll" quality unless the system will bend enough to let them.
I don't want to be impolite, but I'm assuming that unless the school crams all of the students into an auditorium, has the "honor roll" kids come to the front, and then has the principal tell the school that the "honor roll" kids are superior and that everyone else just failed to try hard enough...well, I'm assuming that unless that happens, the only "pressure" a student might be under to hit the "honor roll" will be from their family and if a developmentally disabled student's family pressures them because they're not on the "honor roll" that doesn't mean "honor rolls" are bad.
It might mean the family needs some help, but it isn't going to do anyone any good to invalidate the achievements of the students who do make the honor roll.
It would seem that a lot of us here weren't really the athletic type in school. Should we, because of that, eliminate the sports teams because selecting some students for the teams tells the others they're not trying hard enough? Should we eliminate "pep rallies" where such teams are celebrated by the other students? Should we ban "cheering" at any games such a team does
play, for fear of making the students not on the field/floor feel like less? That's silly, isn't it? It's PC-ism run amok.
And it's nice to think we could all be self-motivated, but that's not going to happen. For whatever reason, the majority of people are not
self-motivated, they're motivated by the expectations and esteem (we hope) of others.
It could be a world-wide failure on the part of our species to properly develop ourselves and our young or it could be a biological thing that keeps us looking to each other for validation and helps nurture the "clan" bond and makes us want to live in proximity to each other, I'm no expert either way, but that's the way it is. You can teach someone to pay more attention to their own wants and expectations, but you can't "train out" the urge to please others, or to measure up to the standards of others.
This thread has really made me think. Education, good
education for all kids is a pet passion of mine, but at the same time I dislike the trend toward "lowest common denominator" expectations.
I guess, although it's not PC to say so, I don't want the achievements of the "average" child neglected in favor of honoring the achievements of those who have different abilities. Yes, we need to do more to support and encourage the students for whom "the system" doesn't work, but not at the expense of the students who either fit inside the system or have coping mechanisms that allow them to survive there.