The article the above link will lead you to was at once interesting and distressing. Frighteningly, it is the typical response in today’s society. The word “unhealthy” is used to mask the real issue:
Tom Benton, board chief, said, “Students were not collaborating with each other the way that we would like them to. Their choice of courses was being guided by their GPA and not their future education plans.”
So, a standard of achievement is stripped away because the board seeks a nebulous concept of “collaboration” instead of personal distinction. BUT, there is no discussion as to the advising or lack thereof within the district, nor the unmentioned reality that the district has created this environment by offering enough elective courses which students are smart enough to take to pad their personal GPA. SMH.
Inevitably there will be those who opine “we’re going wrong somewhere”. NAW! Ya don’t say?!?
What has happened within the educational complex is a twisting of the concept of “equality”. When the cry went up for “equal opportunity”, it was for just that: opportunity. It was the expectation that each person would have an equal opportunity for access to education for the express purpose to better themselves, individually. In the early and middle parts (1900’s through 1960) of the last Century, the focus was on the value of each person as an individual, their natural abilities and skills, and the knowledge and training he or she needed to excel in their area of interest. Within that effort, it was recognized that no one was “perfect”. Certain aspects of the person were seen and respected for being better, stronger, faster for one person as opposed to another. And the word “opposed” did not mean the people were “against” each other. Instead, it referenced each of the people as being in healthy competition with each other.
- Recognize that we are far closer to Kurt Vonnegut’s satire in “Harrison Bergeron” than any of us want to admit. Controls and limitations upon each person are not a value. Rather, our freedoms, which require of each person responsibility, which beget our rights within Society and Culture are values.
- Know that the old joke will forever be true: You’re unique, just like everyone else. Embrace our uniqueness while not expecting or demanding acceptance of the uniqueness. Look at our abilities, skills, and natural interest. Each of them express for us who we are and what we are capable of. It is up to us as individuals to seek out the knowledge that will advance us. That means being willing to find the knowledge that is needed, not just what we are told to do.
- In our search for knowledge, be open to knowledge, not just what confirms what we already think or know. This means being open to new ideas and being willing to objectively test those ideas for validity. Going along for the ride makes us no better than the academics who tell us that it has to be what they say because they said it.
- Encourage, guide, and advise each other on what we see as the other’s strengths and abilities. This is not just verbiage that says “good job”. This is meaningful support of each other. It is imparting value upon one another’s skills, interests, and knowledge. It is recognizing where the value is within our Society and Culture… And that is within each other.