Friday, February 14, 2014

...the pursuit of Happiness (is not a guarantee everyone gets to be happy)

"It is the year 2081. Because of Amendments to the Constitution, every American is fully equal, meaning that no one is smarter, better-looking, stronger, or faster than anyone else. The Handicapper General and a team of agents ensure that the laws of equality are enforced. The government forces citizens to wear "handicaps" (a mask if they are too handsome or beautiful, earphones with deafening radio signals to make intelligent people unable to concentrate and form thoughts, and heavy weights to slow down those who are too strong or fast)."

- Kurt Vonnegut Jr., "Harrison Bergeron"

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

- from "United States Declaration of Independence"


A Maryland middle school is under fire for throwing a dance and pizza party for only the smartest students, while more than 300 kids were left out. It begs the question: does this help or hurt lower achieving students?

During a Fox and Friends debate, psychologist Dr. Susan Lipkins said this type of reward system undermines anti-bully programs.

“It is divisive. It makes kids feel like they’re excluded, and it’s sort of like a country club that only accepts the smart kids,” she said.

Dr. Charles Williams, a psychologist at Drexel University, argued that rewarding achievement is beneficial. “The science says that it’s one way to ensure that students will perform and achieve when you set the bar high.”

It also goes back to the ‘everyone gets a trophy’ debate. Dr. Williams said, “Although the Seattle Seahawks won, should we have given the Denver Broncos a Super Bowl trophy too? […] It’s also our job to prepare kids for life and the reality of life, and the reality of life is simple: you are rewarded for hard work.”



In this age of higher competition in the global marketplace, higher unemployment, higher inflation, and higher debt, it amazes me that our public institutions of learning are still lowering the bar for educational achievement. It is a shame that instead of preparing our children for the challenges of life, we choose to pander them and white-wash their world. Unfortunately, after they leave the nest, the rest of the world really doesn't care about their feelings or whether they are part of the club; businesses measure their worth by how hard their employees work and how well they perform. If an employee under-performs, there is a line of replacements waiting outside the door.

At some point, hopefully before it is too late, our country is going to wake up and realize that fortitude and hard work are vital to the success of our economy and each of us as individuals. The era of the helicopter parent and social warm fuzzies is over. We must rise to the occasion, not wait for someone else to hand it to us.

- Ken

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