Honor student world: Where all the students are above average

Here is an interesting op-ed piece by a tenured professor of biology at Piedmont College, Robert H. Wainberg. He is alarmed because he has been told by former students who are now teachers that some schools no longer hold Honors Day to recognize the accomplishments of above average and exemplary students so they don’t hurt the feelings of kids who don’t earn awards.

This piece will appear in the paper on the education page Monday. Enjoy.

By Robert H.Wainberg

I have been a professor of Biology and Biochemistry at a regional college for over two decades. Sadly, I have noticed a continual deterioration in the performance of my students during this time. In part I have attributed it to the poor study habits of the last few generations (X, XX and now XXX) who have relied too heavily on technology in lieu of thinking for themselves.

In fact, the basics are no longer taught in our schools because they are considered to be “too hard,” not because they are archaic or antiquated. For example, students are no longer required to learn the multiplication or division tables since they direct access to calculators in their phones.

Handwriting script and calligraphy are now in danger of extinction since computers use printed letters. A report I recently read disturbingly admitted that many of our standardized tests used for college admission or various professional schools (MCAT, LSAT and GRE) have to manipulate their normal bell-shaped curves to obtain the higher averages of decadtudenes ago.

What we fail to realize is that the concept of “survival of the fittest” still applies even within the realm of technology. There will always be those who are more “adapted” to the full potential of its use while others will be stalled at the level of downloading music or playing games.

With all of the above being said, I was appalled to learn from some former students of mine who are teachers that they no longer hold Honors Day to recognize the accomplishments of above average and exemplary students – in essence, those who can think outside the box and help to further our knowledge.

Instead, I was told by one of my former students that her principal recently informed his faculty that “We do not want to hurt the feelings of those who are not doing as well as others. So, we either give awards to everybody, or do away with Honors Day.”

This train of thought is destroying the very foundation of learning, of striving for knowledge, of reasoning things out, and of progressing to new heights by building on the old.

Simply, why not just do away with quizzes, tests, and exams, and give everybody an “A” in all of their courses? This way we can all be equal, and no one’s feelings will be hurt.

No question about it – our educational system with its failed “no child left behind” policy now strives for mediocrity at best, and from my teaching experience, much lower.

I am sorry if your child may not be at the same level of intellectual development as your neighbor’s son or daughter, but this is the way of nature, both in the wild and in our technology driven society. In the natural world, it would be a way to weed out weaker members.

No need to reward one whose accomplishments are below par let alone extraordinary. Besides, it will give your child something to strive for, a reason to do better. This means that if an honor is received, it would be with pride because it was actually earned. It is also a well established fact that certain other countries like Russia and China cultivate these talents in their young people and recognize their accomplishments.

We as Americans are receiving a failing grade in this course. Thus, it is clear that we can not continue to reward mediocrity It is very counterproductive for the growth of our society, let alone our great nation as a whole.

So now, I ask the question: Honors Day anyone? This would be a great start.

66 comments Add your comment

DB

January 24th, 2010
7:41 pm

Amen.

I was about as angry as I’ve ever been when I went to a honors assembly for one of my children (at the private school they attended), and the principal spent half of the time reassuring those that weren’t being recognized that they, too, were “worthy”, even if they weren’t getting a certificate. By the time the principal had finished falling all over himself for basically apologizing because his couldn’t give awards to “everyone”, and that those were were getting awards shouldn’t feel “superior”, those kids who HAD earned recognition were almost embarrassed. As if getting straight A’s was something to be ashamed of!

And yes, I’ve also had a child who wasn’t a regular on the honors list. But for her, it became a goal — and when she DID make, she felt like she had accomplished something.

Kids who do less than honors work might have other talents, and be outstanding and in those areas — if so, they are certainly worthy of congratulations in those areas. But why corrupt the academic recognitions? Not every student is upset if they aren’t named “Best Offensive Player” or if they fail to make All-State band or chorus. It’s recognized that people get those honors because they have worked hard to develop their talent in that area. Why aren’t academic superstars ceded the same recognition?

Give the kids some credit. They know who deserves the honors and who doesn’t. Stop blowing smoke up their butts.

Echo

January 24th, 2010
7:42 pm

No one wants to be told their child is “below average”, “incompetent”, “low IQ”, or otherwise not as good at ANYTHING. Schools have lost their backbone on this issue. I sit in IEP meetings (several a week it seems) where it is obvious that the student has very low academic skills and nmany have IQ’s in the 50-60’s. Yet they sit in my “college prep” science classes and flounder. Somehow that is my fault because I don’t “differentiate enough to meet that child’s needs”. That child NEEDS to be in a small self contained classroom with a teacher who can teach at a snail’s pace and not have to worry about an entire class of 32 students or EOCT scores!

Dunwoody Mom

January 24th, 2010
7:50 pm

I have always had a problem with Honors Days. There are children who just are not “the top”, “the cream of the crop” – they are just average students no matter how hard they try and there is nothing wrong with that. I know the teachers try hard to come up with an award for these type of students, such as reading awards, or “best effort”, so that these children do not feel left out and unrecognized, but I am sure it is still hard for these children, especially as these ceremonies are held during the school day.

I do believe that students who “go beyond” and are really “honor” students should be recognized. Perhaps we need to “think outside the box” in recognizing these students. How about a dinner at the school just for these honorees and their parents/guardians.

jan

January 24th, 2010
8:00 pm

This all goes back to the “self-esteem” philosophy. If we recognize everyone equally, then everyone will have good self-esteem. Then all society’s problems like crime and teen pregnancy will be solved, since everyone has good self-esteem.

The problem inherent with this philosophy is that this is artificial self-esteem. It was not earned by the lessons of failure, hard work, and success. They are easily frustrated by the smallest of challenges and frequently don’t know how to work through that challenge to succeed. I see this issue frequently in the new college grads I work with.

But certainly, let’s stop recognizing true academic accomplishment and hard work in the classroom. Only the athletes are worthy of recognition anyway. NOT!

catlady

January 24th, 2010
8:37 pm

Our principal won’t allow honors programs because they are a “waste of time when we could be doing test prep” and besides, it gets parents to come to school–the antithesis of her goals. I am not kidding about this!

At the end of the year we have a ceremony,complete with t shirts and prizes, to recognize those with perfect attendance. What that ignores, at the elementary school level, is that many, many of these perfect attenders have been sent to school sick and infected the rest of us! NCLB uses attendance to measure how well a school is doing–poppycock!

Let’s put SOME focus on the best and brightest!

jan

January 24th, 2010
8:59 pm

@Dunwoody Mom
So… If I understand your viewpoint correctly, academic achievement is incorrect and something to be acknowledged away from the public view. So no one else knows that they have accomplished something worthwhile. Unlike athletes, musicians, drama club, artists etc, who have their ability on display and acknowledged by the school community.

My daughter is one of those students with true excellence in academics. Her best friend is a fantastic artist but not one of the sharpest knives in the drawer academically. They were both thrilled that the other’s accomplishments recognized by the school community. I think you don’t give the students enough credit to be honest with themselves about their ability.

catlady

January 24th, 2010
9:27 pm

Hostage has been taken!

Veteran teacher, 2

January 24th, 2010
9:30 pm

We still have Honor’s Night!!

Teach SS

January 24th, 2010
9:44 pm

2 Honors Day Sessions: One for the Regular Ed students and one for the gifted classes….we spent 30 minutes recoginzing 500 kids where only 15% earned Merit/Honor Roll…..then another 30 minutes for 120 gifted students where 85% earned a certificate and were called up….Yes, recognize kids, but maybe separate them so the regular ed students (some whose parents won’t let them enter gifted) don’t feel worthless

High School Teacher

January 24th, 2010
9:51 pm

As a high school teacher, the kids who do make the honors dont see it as a big deal and the kids who arent of the “honors” quality could care less. The honors kids who are applying to colleges know that they are competing with those other “honors” kids and putting that on your resume has sadly become the equivalent of saying that I have Microsoft Power Point Skills on a resume.

Teachers and admins can try and make it a big deal as much as they can, but the kids could care less. My “honor” kids got a lapel pin for their achievements and when I congratulated them in class, one of my students said “thanks, but I am just glad I got out of 2nd period for an hour.” Thats the attitude of today. And many kids try to keep off the honor list b/c they dont want to be seen as a brainiac and nerdy. Its all about saving face with these kids today.

Want to push kids harder today? Make them complete long term projects and have them READ!! It is so hard to get kids to read in high school.

Tony

January 24th, 2010
9:53 pm

We still recognizes students with outstanding achievement in our school. We have awards days and we don’t give an award to every student – only to those who have worked hard to earn the highest achievement. Teachers and administrators should be proud to recognize the students who do well academically.

In addition, we expect children to learn the multiplication facts. Most schools with which I am familiar have a similar expectation. I do not know where this gentleman has gathered the facts with which he is lamblasting schools, but some of them are way off-base.

Perhaps the conversation this professor should have is with the admissions officers of his college.

teach ss

January 24th, 2010
9:56 pm

Give the gifted students their own Honors Program and then one for the Reg Ed Students….we spent thirty minutes giving out certs to about 100 out of 500 reg ed kids and 40 minutes giving out certs to 90 of 110 gifted students….our reg ed students felt like crud…some reg ed kids can’t be in gifted because their parents won’t allow it; some have IEPs; yes, some aren’t working up to potential…but something should change

C

January 24th, 2010
9:58 pm

I have no problem with recognizing the honor students (my daughter has been on that list for many years). And even if she wasn’t, there’s no reason not to recognize the deserving. I actually like the idea of the honor’s dinner, that way the non-honor students don’t have to miss class to sit thru an assembly that’s not for them.

I do, however, think it’s very misleading when GPA’s are higher because a student only took regular classes, as opposed to a student who has challenged themself with AP and Honors classes, and maybe has a slightly lower GPA. Is the student with the higher GPA really a better student….or in some instances, the Val or Sal?

J

January 24th, 2010
9:58 pm

We used to have an ice cream party for students who got all A’s in each grade. My senior year, only 20 of us seniors got all A’s, which is a very tough accomplishment since we were all IB students or at least IB/AP split. However, we got no ice cream because “there weren’t enough kids, and most would feel left out.” We held our own party with a lot more than ice cream. Take that!

Cere

January 24th, 2010
10:12 pm

I have a child with learning disabilities, who never was awarded anything for anything. She cheered on her peers, year after year, as they collected their awards. Seemingly, no one really noticed that she never got one. But I tell you, she is a wonderful child — a wonderful person. One year, her chorus teacher was giving out chorus awards (which although my daughter loved singing, she was not an award-winning singer either) – but this wonderful, caring, beautiful teacher gave my child an award called “Just Because”. She said she gives out one every year to the student who is always present, always attentive, always prepared and always kind. It moved me to tears. It still does every time I notice it in her room.

Sometimes you do have to consider the students who are always on the sidelines – never recognized for anything special. I’m certainly not advocating taking away anyone’s academic award or athletic awards – these are always so important and hard to earn. I’m just saying – try adding some additional awards for human character traits like good stewardship, cheerfulness, thoroughness, integrity, thoughtfulness and random acts of kindness. These are just as important as intelligence in the scheme of things as we move along in life.

all for honors day

January 24th, 2010
10:13 pm

@ Dunwoody Mom and teach ss

Do you really think that academic accomplishment should be hidden, ignored, or denigrated so that other students won’t feel badly about themselves? If a student is that sensitive about being less than a stellar student, no matter how hard they work, then I would say that student needs a stern conversation about differing talents and abilities. No one asks athletes, musicians, actors, or artists to display their talents in an empty stadium, theater, or gallery simply because their talent might make others feel badly about their lack of talent. Why should academic talents go unrecognized? Simply to prevent hurt feelings? I think not.

Jennifer

January 24th, 2010
10:16 pm

I love this article! So true! Kids who achieve should be recognized.

Edugator

January 24th, 2010
10:22 pm

Grade inflation is rampant, for many well known reasons. However, a hardworking, nice kid who gets mediocre grades shouldn’t be considered an honor student. Some kids excel at academics, some at sports, some at the arts, some at being nice kids. The kids that have the academic gene, and get the good grades deserve to be honored. That is what the whole school thing is about. That’s why colleges have admission standards. I hope my next surgeon was an honor student who earned his grades and was proud of it.

Jennifer

January 24th, 2010
10:22 pm

Cere, I don’t have any problem with what you are saying. As a teacher, I nearly always give an award to a student who works hard, doesn’t give up, always asks questions. Usually this one student is one who gets high C’s/low B’s and has to work his/her tail off for it, but they do it. I don’t give this every year, because I don’t always have a student who works that hard no matter what.

mom

January 24th, 2010
10:26 pm

Well I think it’s stupid for a kid to earn *HONORS* for taking lower level classes. Student # 1 can earn As for
special Math but Student # 2 earns Bs for regular Math but Student #1 is awarded. that sucks

ajani

January 24th, 2010
10:38 pm

We will have honors day at school. They are given out in every subject (including art, band, chorus, computers) (gifted teachers give their own awards in their subjects) and also for A honor roll and A/B honor roll and perfect attendance. During a pep rally we even recognize the top scores on the ITBS and will do the same for the CRCT. Kids need to be recognized for the things they do well and corrected for the things they don’t. Honors Day is so long I personally hate it but the kids love it and that is all that matters.

A Student

January 24th, 2010
10:41 pm

Glad to know some adults agree with us.

I’m a high school student, and my school is one of those that has ceased to give out awards, citing the same reasons of hurting people’s feelings rather than rewarding those who’ve done their best. Admittedly, I usually receive an award for something (forgive my seeming arrogance, it’s a trade-off for the truth), but after our final Honors Day, most of the students I talked to found it ridiculous. Most of my teachers have compensated by giving out awards on their own one day in class, but I suppose it’s an administration thing triggered by an angry parent whose kid didn’t receive an award. That’s why most things happen at my school. I understand the reasoning behind canceling Honor Days and such functions, but receiving the award always seemed like something to strive for, something worth working hard, putting in that extra hour. I also understand why some people’s feelings can get hurt if/when they don’t receive an award. But sometimes that little extra push makes all the difference. I don’t actually mind not having Honors Day because it was extremely boring, but nevertheless, I wish they could at least have come up with a better reason than the need to coddle us until the real world (college, in some cases) slaps us in the face.

As far as handwriting/calligraphy goes, I’m actually beginning to miss cursive. Yes, we all learned cursive in third grade. But when I took the SAT last month, I watched all of the middle schoolers in my room, taking the SAT so they could try and qualify for Duke TIP, epically epically fail at writing cursive. Yes, I mentally laughed. But it’s also a rather depressing thought, isn’t it?

@ echo

January 24th, 2010
10:42 pm

Can’t you advocate for a change in placement or proper placement for the student?

Ben Casey, MD

January 24th, 2010
11:03 pm

Parents – get a grip. I have 3 kids, each of whom has achieved excellence for most, but not all, of their high school careers. I guarantee part of the compelling reason they strive to maintain 3.5+ GPAs is because each has a competitive nature. When they didn’t score as high as others they felt were their academic peers they used that for motivation to work harder and learned that even with hard work and giving it their best, well sometimes wasn’t good enough. But that’s life, which is one of the greatest lessons I have been able to pass on to them. Give it your best and if that still isn’t good enough then tip your hat to the other guy and move on! They aren’t going to get coddled in my home. Loved and encouraged, yes. Coddled no.

Interwoven threads

January 24th, 2010
11:19 pm

Yet another example of school system dysfunction. Example after example abound, but for all this blog pushes the agenda that the core problem in education is the teacher ineffectiveness, does this blog ever put front and center the systemic dysfunction that compromises that very effectiveness, or advocate for teachers to have more empowerment to address the dysfunction, or at the very least more protections in place against retaliation for trying to address it?

Isn’t the blog’s silence on such, while pounding the drum of teacher ineffectiveness as the single greatest cause of our education ills the moral equivalent of asking a Yugo to perform on par with a Ferrari, and claiming the chief reason it doesn’t do so is the ineffectiveness of the driver?

Yet very few if any will point this out about the blog. Do teachers and their supporters disagree with the above, have never thought about the above, or think it’s impolite to discuss the above?

An ex teacher came on here tonight and said the blog is doing a good job because comments aren’t deleted. No doubt about that; the blog gets credit for allowing criticisms, even very pointed criticisms, of the blog to be posted.

But do we define this blog and this paper by what they address, or is it even more important what they won’t address?

And if bloggers don’t notice this distinction, or are not willing to address the paper about it, can you not make the case that bloggers who blog here are actually paying yet another person to marginalize teachers at a time when the entire profession seems under a multi-front assault?

Or is this one of these questions, like so many questions, that we are all just too exceedingly polite to talk about?

life sucks

January 25th, 2010
12:14 am

6 billion people COMPETING for resources on this planet

the tough and smart will persevere. the dumb and weak and soft will not.

glorify achievement. INSPIRE others to be better.

Educator

January 25th, 2010
12:21 am

We risk our society when strive for mediocrity – and that is the direction our schools have been headed for a very long time, all because we want everyone to be equal, and no one to feel bad. Our teachers are not allowed to discipline, they aren’t allow to push, they frankly aren’t allowed to educate. They are glorified (maybe) babysitters.

Generations of my family are educators and it’s clear when we look at education over the last 60 years that when we left our core values of hard work and discipline at the door, we cheated the next generations out of an education and perhaps our nation out of a future.

We are not all equally talented and gifted in all areas – that is just reality. Some of us can write poetry. Some of us can hit a ball harder and farther than anyone else. Some of us can sing like angels. Some of us can design the next rocket to Mars. Yet, we have decided to preclude those with academic talents from being encouraged (by forcing them to be in “inclusive” classes with less adept students) or recognized (in events like Honors Day). Is making sure that some kids don’t get “hurt feelings” fair to the kids that could be excelling in a system that would enable it? I think not. Is our system of mediocrity cheating the academic kids out of their potential? Absolutely.

I say shame on every administrator and educator that doesn’t stand up to the baloney of the PC hype and advocate for doing the RIGHT thing which is to encourage academic achievement, recognize it, and accept that we are all different.

Our teachers are not the problem. We have tied their hands behind their backs. Let’s cut those bindings and get back to being one of the best educational systems in the world instead of a laughingstock.

dawgmom

January 25th, 2010
12:24 am

Absolutely!!! Students that excel should be recognized for the effort put forth. Just as an employee that has performed higher than others gets a raise and/or promotion, our children must be recognized for their achievements. If nothing else, this reinforces the “real world” to young adults that will soon enough be in this environment. As a side note, why are these awards given out during school hours? Back in the day, the awards were given out at the last PTA meeting of the year. That meant the PTA actually had attendance for the meeting and students not receiving awards were not required to sit through the ceremony and “feel lessened or humiliated”.

Educator

January 25th, 2010
12:29 am

Why should the students who are not getting awards not be present during the ceremony? It gives them something to strive for and they get to support their fellow classmates.

Educator

January 25th, 2010
12:36 am

This is really simple. Teachers aren’t allowed to teach. They are glorified babysitters who aren’t allowed to discipline or have expectations for fear of making the kids or parents “feel bad.” And Many parents are too “busy busy busy” to be involved in their kids’ education or even general discipline. Why do you think there is such an issue with bad behavior and poor achievement in our schools?

Go back 50 years and you have your answer: Teachers were allowed to discipline students, students were expected to do their work to the best of their ability and were held accountable at school and at home, parents were expected to be engaged in their kids lives.

We can’t change what parents do at home, sadly. But we can change how we run our schools. It worked 50 years ago – we were the top of the heap in education. There is your blueprint, there is your roadmap to success.

Meow

January 25th, 2010
2:58 am

Oh my gosh.

My son’s high school had a Honor’s Day program with accomplishments which were rewarded. He was a Honor’s student, in gifted classes, making 4’s and 5’s in his AP courses with a 3.78 GPA. I was upset with my son when I found that he was not going to recieve any honors because he had elected not to attend or sign up.
I was so happy for my son’s friends who recieved high honors for their hard work and accomplishments. What do these idiot principals and teachers mean when they say they will not honor accomplishment because someone else who has a c or d and has drifted through school not caring about education MAY have their feelings hurt?

Life is hard. Life is unfair. Don’t teach our kids that trying hard to accomplish something is worth nothing. How dare you teach something so unamerican?

Look at Wall street with the bonuses they are giving out – those are “high honors” to whom they feel are hard workers (even if the company could only survive on taxpayer funds).

Meow

January 25th, 2010
3:09 am

Yes to Honors Day. My son’s high school had a evening celebration with awards for acheivements. Unfortunately my son wasn’t interested much in attending so didn’t apply for any of the achievements. My son scored 4’s and 5’s (perfect) on his AP tests, and had a 3.78 GPA and was President of the National Honor Society as well as senior class treasurer. This is a kid who almost rarely studied and still made A’s and B’s – he used to make his other Honors program friends so envious. He walked into UGA with 28 college credits after leaving high school.

I say YES to keeping Honors Day for students who work hard. I enjoyed seeing my son’s friends who got honored at the ceremony with their smiles and medals, and whom wore them proudly over their graduation robes.

College Grad (both MFA & BS)

January 25th, 2010
6:19 am

I was an oddity in my public school system, I was a “special needs” student and in gifted. My special needs were an anxiety problem that made me “act out”, and sever hearing problems. I was placed in a progeam called EH (emotionally handicapped) for the anxiety issue and was 99% mainstreamed after 6 weeks, I had home room with the other EH kids but then i went to regular clases (this started in 4th grade). I was in gifted starting in the 1st grade, we were bussed to a different school 1 day a week for special classes. I was an A/B student but I was NEVER recognized with the other Honor roll students cause i was in with the “special needs” kids, we wern’t regognized, apparently our A’s and B’s wern’t as good as the other kids. I was teased by the other “gifted” kids too cause I was the “dummy”.
In Middle School and High School I was in all honors classes. I graduated from Community College the day after I graduated from High school, i was active in honors society in both high school and college but never received an award (for honor society).
I have a Masters of fine Art degree in technical theater AND a BS in Biology and a minor in Chemistry. I am a computer help desk technician. and an honor student. ALL HONOR STUDENTS DESERVE RECOGNITION!!! KEEP HONORS DAY!!!
In middle school I was

Concerned Teacher

January 25th, 2010
6:30 am

Don’t worry. Inclusion will eventually make all of this a moot point. The emphasis of NCLB and GPS is to make sure that everyone is taught “equally.” What this has become to mean is that we teachers are mandated to dummy-down the curriculum in order to meet all of the accomodations and modifications so that all students are given every chance possible to pass. The mentally incompetent are put into classes with the mentally excellent and a team of teachers is to lead this educational melee. The trend seems to be that all teachers are to be special education teachers. It seems it won’t be necessary for any teacher to specialize in math or science because only the minimum standards are necessary. It seems that our excellent students are being unfairly punished.

Not a Fan of Standards Based Grading

January 25th, 2010
6:39 am

Yes, recognize Honor Students! but what about the problem standards based grading brings to the table? I sat through a two hour honors day program last spring for middle school where almost everyone in the 8th grade made the AB honor roll, because they had multiple times to re-take tests, and teachers accept and give full credit to late assignments. Standards Based Grading is part of this “feel good – make everyone equal” education philosophy! And yes, I live in Cobb County where two of my son’s high school teachers announced at open house that they do standards based grading. Funny how our Super and Board say it doesn’t go above 3rd grade?

Dunwoody Mom

January 25th, 2010
6:54 am

jan, where did I say “So… If I understand your viewpoint correctly, academic achievement is incorrect and something to be acknowledged away from the public view”?

You do not like the idea of an awards dinner for all of the “top” students? Or, are you one of those parents that gets her own self-esteem from rubbing your children’s accomplishments in the faces of other parents?

Middle Man

January 25th, 2010
7:13 am

Standards based grading, if we really do it, should be a good thing. It should hold kids back who haven’t demonstrated mastery and accelerate kids who do demonstrate quickly. In an ideal world, it would be a set of standards, tasks, and demonstrated proficiency that would allow kids to move at their own pace if accelerated and to push those who need more time to get it together. The problem will be that schools won’t reorganize to allow this to happen. They will keep kids who have demonstrated proficiency in the same class doing the same work as kids who need more time just because they are a certain age. Go when ready is a great concept that would change the way we do school. (Well, it would really take education back towards the days of John Dewey and one room school houses where kids worked at their own rate) Honors Days and celebration of success are essential in schools. As a middle school administrator, I can’t imagine not giving out awards and celebrating the hard work of our kids.

catlady

January 25th, 2010
7:20 am

Tony–in my system we are not “allowed’ to require students to memorize addition and subtraction facts, much less mulitplication facts. I am right now doing “needs based” with 5th graders who cannot immediately tell you that 5+4 is 9! And yet we expect them to do two digit muliplication, for example. EVEN IF THEY COULD MULTIPLY CORRECTLY, they cannot add to get their product! When I stated that children in this situation should not be passed out of first grade, the math coach was horrified? We should not promote them because they don’t know their addition facts? Horrors! But their lousy CRCTs, etc, are OUR fault.

Uncle Commode

January 25th, 2010
7:52 am

“so they don’t hurt the feelings of kids who don’t earn awards”

Lettuce all strive to be as mediocre as possible!! Thats what the Dems and the presidential coconut want. The constant spewing of verbal defication…”We are all good, everyone is a victim, y’all dont know me, we are all equal”.

NO…we are not all equal. Its just that simple. Flush the political correctness. Crush the machine!

Lee

January 25th, 2010
8:11 am

WHAT?? You mean all those “My kid is an honor student at XYZ School” are untrue?!?!

The problem is that the typical “honor” student is not pushed to their full potential in today’s school. When you place the future valedictorian in the same classroom as the future dropout, the troublemakers, the illegal alien who can’t speak a lick of English, and the barely functional SPED kid, whose education do you think will suffer? Right.

It is only in high school that the above average student can begin to segregate himself by ability by enrolling in A/P, Honors, and college prep classes. And now, there is movement underfoot to open many of those classes to the general student population.

When my straight-A’s-for-twelve-years-graduated-fourth-in-her-class child went to college, she struggled in the first semester. She told me later that “SHE DIDN’T KNOW HOW TO STUDY.” Think about that one for a while. She took all the AP classes that her school had to offer and she was never pushed to the limit.

When we placed our youngest in private school in the 7th grade, she was about one year behind her private school peers. Instead of breezing through her schoolwork and making A+, she was having to work for those low A’s and B’s. However, I think she will be much better prepared for the rigor of college.

Uncle Commode

January 25th, 2010
8:45 am

I agree Lee…we need standardized testing and the kids who are too dumb should be sent to the dumbo class.

This Country needs future leaders in govt, industry etc and our future and our kids future should not be jeopardized because parents refuse to teach their offspring/leeches how to speak English or behave in class.

RJ

January 25th, 2010
9:52 am

@Lee, all educators know that an A at one school can be a C or B at another. I chose not to send my gifted child to public middle school, but instead a private school. He wasn’t behind, but he has certainly had to work a lot harder for those A’s.

I’ve always felt that students need to be recognized for their accomplishments. @Dunwoody Mom, an Honor’s Day program could be motivation for the lazy kid. Who knows? Their are always winners and losers. Better to learn that now.

john konop

January 25th, 2010
9:54 am

This is a real problem I see in my kids’ school. It does not matter if it is PE or academics. Kids get punished for kicking balls too hard in gym class…… The games are based on equalizing talent instead of enhancing it. The real world rewards success and everybody does get a trophy for showing up!

And I have learned way more from defeat than I ever learned from winning! The key in life is your ability to get back up after a tough situation.

john konop

January 25th, 2010
9:56 am

Sorry

….everybody does not get…..

DeKalb Conservative

January 25th, 2010
9:57 am

Two words, “dodge ball.” Saw this mile away when parents started getting angry over kids playing dodge ball.

JATL

January 25th, 2010
10:00 am

The article says it all. I used to be a high school English teacher, and I was so horrified at the “dumbing down” of curriculum and everything else at the school where I taught, I finally couldn’t take it any more. If my children attend a school where they refuse to acknowledge the honors kids, I will raise holy hell! EVEN if my kids won’t get certificates, the other kids deserve recognition. Maybe, just maybe, it might encourage some kids who have the ability but not the motivation to work a little harder and pay better attention. Even if it doesn’t, the kids who do bust it to make the grades need to be publicly recognized. AND it will help the others to realize who their bosses and managers will be someday.

Some of you don’t seem to realize that a lot of “average” or “below average” kids get recognized for other extracurricular activities ranging from sports to art or music. Some honors kids only have their intelligence. That is what sets them apart, so it’s horribly unfair to disregard them.

@Dunwoody Mom -PLEASE! Do you think the average or below average are not going to realize at some point once they’re released into the world that they don’t quite measure up to, say, the brain surgeons or software developers or lab scientists? Most likely they already are very well aware of it! And YES -Lee is correct! We need to demand tracking in our schools. They can call the levels whatever they want -animal names, colors -the kids will figure it out anyway, but the smart, above average kids don’t need to be weighed down by kids below their level who are often also behavior problems. What’s wrong with preparing kids the way we used to? Kids NOT on the college track learned some real skills in school and were encouraged to go to a vocational school, etc. Everyone does NOT need to go to college! There are many great jobs out there for the average and below average, and we need them! I’m just so sick of the “we can’t hurt Johnny’s feelings” crowd!

Old School

January 25th, 2010
10:10 am

I pretty much agree with Wainberg’s statements, especially about handwriting. There was an article some time ago that talked about the quality of students’ responses to the questions on the writing portion of the SAT. Best I recall, most would print (I think they also call it writing in manuscript) their responses. Those paragraphs consisted of short sentences and usually did not fully develop the idea or completely speak to the topic. There is some elegant connection (in my own personal opinion) between the activity of cursive writing and the processes in the brain. I had years of penmanship in the lower grades and not only do I continue to write in cursive, I also have some skill in calligraphy. I honestly believe the penmanship training has helped make me a better writer. As a bonus, I tend to misspell fewer words when I’m writing by hand. It must be the power of the pen.

I suppose the best we can hope for is that one day the College Board will allow students to text their responses. Scholarships can then be awarded to the fastest, most concise texter and content can be ignored.

Back on topic- I’ve always had a problem with giving every kid a trophy for simply showing up. Failure and disappointment make a true victory or accomplishment all the more sweet.

Ole Guy

January 25th, 2010
10:30 am

Who the hell are we kidding with this awards arguement? The adults, both parents and administrators, express concern over the potentially adverse impact on students “feelings”, when, in reality: 1) the kids, for the most part, probably couldn’t care less. These are kids, for cryin out loud, whose primary daily focus, regardless of academic achievements, is on a whole lot of issues, far more pressing in the lives of kids, than school. 2) In all probability, it is the adults’ “feelings” which are at stake. Just look at the numbers of parents who get all wound up over kids’ ball games. As for the administrators, well, they’re full of dung anyway. Following the array of issues discussed in this blog feature, is it not all too apparent that, contrary to political “nice talk”, the on-goings within the classrooms of Georgia is the last concern of administrators, whose primary focus lies in pleasing parents, ie the political aspects of their…JOBS.

If their was genuine concern over this issue, administrators would consult with student government leadership (if such a body indeed exists within today’s educational circus).

Meme

January 25th, 2010
10:37 am

I never liked teaching many of the gifted students. Most of them thought that they knew more than I did and when I proved to a couple that they didn’t, their mommies came to school fussing at me. I have joyfully taught remedial students for many, many years.

Meme

January 25th, 2010
10:38 am

We do have an awards dinner at the end of the year for all students who have managed to make all A’s all year long.