“Liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people, who have a right, from the frame of their nature, to knowledge, as their great Creator, who does nothing in vain, has given them understandings, and a desire to know; but besides this, they have a right, an indisputable, unalienable, indefeasible, divine right to that most dreaded and envied kind of knowledge; I mean, of the characters and conduct of their rulers.” John Adams, Dissertation on Canon and Feudal Law — 1765
Last Friday I had the honor to attend the Honors and High Honors awards at my granddaughter’s elementary school. These honors are given to students who achieve exceptional academic excellence in the advanced classes. For Honors a student must attain 80% in their advanced classes and for High Honors its 90%. My granddaughter received the High Honors award for her 4th grade work in this past trimester.
The awards ceremonies were hosted by the principal and attended by the 3rd and 4th grade classes along with parents who were able to attend the afternoon event. The awards were given by grade and category with each group being called by name and given the award in front of the assembled audience. Once they received their awards they proceeded to the stage where they sat for applause and photographs.
It was a very fulfilling experience for the students, teachers, and parents. For those who did not receive awards it was worthwhile to see what hard work and study could achieve. Reward of excellence is a positive things as it honors those who have worked diligently during the school year and demonstrates to others the recognition that will befall students who follow their lead.
My granddaughter’s elementary school is part of a more conservative and traditional school district in Riverside County, California. The district and county also sponsor National History where students from the 4th grade to seniors in high school are encouraged to participate with projects on history. Their projects range from posters and 3D displays to documentary films and web sites. Both of my granddaughters participated and advanced to the county level with my 4th grader advancing to the state level.
In recent years, there’s been an odd cultural trend emerging. As parents seek to shield their children from negativity, there’s been a major push in some school districts to rid schools and youth groups of competitive spirit — all in the name of inclusiveness and protecting kids’ emotions.
Considering this ongoing dynamic — one that tends to anger parents who believe in the rewards associated with hard work and dedication — Forward-thinking principle David Fabrizio of Ipswich Middle School finds himself in hot water for taking the “progressive” ethos to its absurd extremes: he canceled Honors Night because it makes the kids who didn’t earn honors feel bad.
Rather than inviting only those students who have outperformed their peers, the Daily Mail reports that Fabrizio has reorganized the event, called “Honors Night,” and is ensuring that every individual in the school can take part.
In an e-mail announcement to parents, Fabrizio purportedly said that the decision was made in an effort to avoid “devastating” those individuals who did not perform well and were, thus, not invited to the traditional awards event. Parents purportedly shared this note with Fox affiliate WFXT-TV.
“The Honors Night, which can be a great sense of pride for the recipients’ families, can also be devastating to a child who has worked extremely hard in a difficult class but who, despite growth, has not been able to maintain a high grade point average,” Fabrizio wrote to parents.
According to WFXT-TV, the principal’s decision was also predicated upon the fact that academic success is also tied to the support that students get at home. And since not every student gets the same level of academic and emotional support from parents, there’s potential inequality. In other words Fabrizio wanted to bring down the top performers to the level of mediocrity in the name of “fairness.”
Some have expressed surprise that he would come to this conclusion, because he comes from a coaching background and ostensibly “believes competitive environments are healthy and necessary.” Those who find this difficult to reconcile with canceling Honors Night clearly haven’t checked out the everybody-gets-a-trophy-just-for-showing-up rules under which “competitive” school sports now operate.
So if the level of support students receive at home is a crucial factor in their success, doesn’t canceling Honors Night remove a potent incentive to parents to provide that support? Won’t all students be inspired to work harder by the possibility of winning recognition as an honors recipient? Discard such icy logic, because we move now through the land of warm feelings and academic mediocrity, where the really important thing is to teach kids that nobody is responsible for their own success or failure. Winners cheat. Honors students get unfair amounts of support from their high-quality parents, so there’s no reason to celebrate any “achievement” on their part, especially if it makes less accomplished students feel bad.
Another recent horror story from the world of academia found teachers in Wisconsin suffering “racially charged” indoctrination into the evils of “white privilege.” Bullet points dispensed by this program included:
- In this country the institutional system supports the dominance of white people.
- More frequently than not, white people take advantage of privileges generated by a racist society.
- We are given a false sense of superiority, a belief that we should be in control and in authority, and that people of color should be maids, servants, and gardeners and do the less valued work of our society.
- There appears to be a national trend that can be attributed [to] the conservative agenda that currently exist[s] with former closet racist[s] leaving the closet and entering the light to write policies that support covert and overt racism that impact[s] students of color.
Your tax dollars at work, parents of Wisconsin! (And tax serfs across the fruited plane, since this program reportedly got federal money.)
Look past the racial grievance mongering, and efforts by useless educrats to siphon money away from real education into their bank accounts, and you’ve got another burst of essentially the same transmission that middle-school principal in Ipswich is sending. No one succeeds on their own, and no one is responsible for their own failures. The game is hopelessly rigged against you, in countless ways.
It’s not a long journey from these premises to the conclusion that only benevolent government authority can bring any semblance of “fairness” into our wildebeest lives, shielding us from the predatory forces that stalk the shadows around daily life. Virtue and equality must be imposed. High achievers cheated somehow — they enjoyed the benefits of racist privilege, or they exploited the surplus value of labor to make demon profit, or they “stole” their riches from “the people” by taking disproportionate advantage of our lovely public infrastructure.
The trick is to sell lots of people on the essential belief that powerful forces they can never overcome on their own have placed them at a permanent disadvantage, from which only the Anointed Ones can rescue them. That sale is easier to make if achievement is treated as fundamentally illegitimate, and you can’t do that while simultaneously celebrating achievement.
It is no wonder that there is approximately 47 percent of the American electorate who have been politically correctly called “Low Information Voters” (LIVs). The idiot liberals in this country have surreptitiously taken over the entire education system and in doing so; have dumbed us down to the level of some third world nation in Africa or Central America. The dumbing down is apparent in this failed school in Massachusetts, where the failed Principal continues to concentrate on NOT upsetting the poor students who will someday join the ranks of the LIVs.
By failing to recognize excellence, this “educator” has elevated the status of those students who are guaranteed to fail in life. This is what we silent majority Americans have to overcome lest we face an infinite number of bozos on the political horizon, like the empty-suited, dooby-smoking Choom-boy that occupies the White House.
If people like Fabrizio have their way, they will create a mediocre society in which there is no reward for success and achievement — no incentive to do better.
Note to Fabrizio: the real world doesn’t work that way. And you are not preparing your students for real life by pretending that it does.
Why is America losing its competitive advantage? Why don’t youngsters want to earn anything anymore? It’s because people like Fabrizio are more concerned about protecting their feelings than aspiring them to greatness. I am reminded of the scene in the 1984 film Amadeus — a fictionalized account of the life of the composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. In the scene a visitor is wheeling the Italian composer and jealous competitor of Mozart Antonio Salieri (played by F Murray Abraham) through the halls of the insane asylum where he has been confined after attempting suicide. As he passes through the he is waving his hands and paying at the various inmates while paying homage to mediocrity.
If you reward mediocrity you will receive more mediocrity. If you reward had work and excellence you will receive more hard work and excellence. Life is not fair.
If you have a few minutes watch the video clip from Amadeus where Salieri has composed a rather pedestrian march for the emperor and seems pleased with his efforts until Mozart improvises on the piece and creates an excellent piece of music.