Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Success Does Not Equal Handouts

I've been doing quite a bit of thinking about schools, standards and pushing kids along when they don't deserve to be moved along. I've especially been thinking about the anonymous commenter who writes about Einstein's poor performance in school as well as Mayor Money Bags own problems in high school. This led me to think about some of the other people I know who did not do well in school either and then went on to be successful in life.

No one gave any of these people anything for nothing. They sometimes failed and paid the consequences of their failure. But, they all have innate intelligence and smarts that they were able to use to become the remarkable people that they are. They did not need handouts and people advocating for them to get passing grades they did not deserve. They took they lot they earned and went forward.

Would Einstein have been so great if someone had handed him that paper he did not deserve? Would he have been inspired to keep on working? The answer to this is probably yes, but who knows. The bottom line is that no one could keep him down because that was not where he belonged. He used his gifts and it did not matter what some high school teacher had to say about him. The same is true about Mayor Money Bags and Johnny Walker (not his real name, but a young man who did not want to go to college, became a school custodian and worked himself up to a very lucrative position in life.)

You don't need to be an educational scientist to know kids need advocates, not handouts. We should only be giving them diplomas that mean they learned something and that mean they are prepared to go on in life. I'm betting Einstein would agree.


Anonymous said...

I agree with your basic premise - advocates, not handouts. And, yet, many students don't have advocates. Yes, there are some through their own initiative can accomplish wonderful things. But, even Alexander Hamilton had people who recognized this talents, and gathered together the funds to send him away to school in the Colonies, which eventually led to him attending King's College - later Princeton University - and on to one of the most pivotal members of the early days of the United States.

As someone said recently, some can pull themselves up by their bootstraps, but, if one has no boots, there's nothing to pull up.

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