Not long ago if you were bad in school you got punished in humiliating ways, were expected to stand in the corner, or wear the dunce cap. As a kid, you knew that the trouble you got in at school was nothing compared to what you were going to get at home. If you failed a class – you got an ‘F’ for FAIL. School taught you your academics, but also gave you a menagerie of lessons about how to get along with others, and how to exist in a world where not everyone was friends. Playground antics then are called bullying now. If you failed to hand in an assignment – you got a zero – no second chances. No make-up work or extra credit. Teacher had expectations and just like that, you were expected to meet them or pay the consequences. Often those consequences included the butt-whooping that you would receive at home if you got in trouble at school.
Let’s fast forward to today. Teachers rarely fail students, offering opportunity after opportunity for students to pull up their grades. If they fail during regular school, they can go to summer school or alternate school designed specifically to move them through the system. If you are picked on by a classmate – parents are filing lawsuits and involving school personnel. Your performance in school means little about the college that you will attend as money is the number one factor today for parents. Schools close when temperatures are too cold, or too hot – don’t allow kids to go outdoors if the temperatures are uncomfortable. School lunches are not only prone to scrutiny by school systems, but if a one child has a BETTER lunch than another – they can get an equal lunch just to make things ‘fair’ and easy. Educators often put feelings and emotions and special needs of the student above educational content. In fact, the entire scholastic atmosphere can be likened to a grading curve, where educational systems do their best to make everything –across the board – as fair as possible.
There is little accountability. Parents believe their children over school administrators. Parents are often the ones making excuses for their children, and teachers are now intimidated by parents on a regular basis. Disciplinary measures and consequences take planning, and intervention, and meetings – so much so, that by the time a child is disciplined, they have likely forgotten what they have done wrong. Schools are politically correct, completely sterile of the ingredients of real life that can make for good days and bad days. We give participation medals. Heralding those that are above the mark is looked down upon as a means of making those below, feel bad. So instead we pat heads and shoulders and try to pretend that everything is equal, and fair and nice.
So what happens when we take these kids, so entitled and handed everything they need, these children who are too fragile to walk in the cold – and send them off on their own in the real world. To a real job, with a real landlord, where real consequences exist for their missteps? Is it the teachers fault… most likely not. It is the “smart people’ at the top of the school systems… on the boards who make the decisions… make the curriculum. Perhaps the rules have changed because they were picked on… they were not ‘smart enough’ to be on the honour roll but the reality is… these decision makers are ruining our children’s ability to have a fighting chance in the ‘real world’.
The reality is that children today are not prepared for the real world. So much time is spent teaching political correctedness, and niceties, and cordial conversations – and how to suppress anger and sweep things under the metaphorical rug as to not make waves, or OMG give someone a reason to not like you, that kids today aren’t learning much about real life. When they grow up and have disagreements or problems, or bosses – or anyone in charge – not only will they not know how to handle situations, but they also will carry with them feelings of entitlement. Who will bail them out? Who will be there to make sure that their neighbour doesn’t have a better car than they do?
It has gone beyond being soft on our children. School systems are regulated to the point that they fundamental desire of education is lost. Children have little to work for. When one works his or her butt off in order to come in first place – only to see those who put in little effort be awarded as well, we take away their desire to exceed. Why bother, right? When a child doesn’t turn in homework, or doesn’t pass a class – and only gets more opportunities to succeed so a school system doesn’t ‘look bad’ where is the incentive to meet expectations. After all, they can always do it later – or get special parameters with which to reach the same goal. When children no longer fear the consequences of their parents, or are not worried about the ramifications from their actions – where does the moral compass point?
The reality is that it is not solely the fault of educational systems. There has been a shift in parenting, and the general attitude towards children today that makes them feel entitled in life, without putting in much effort. It is reinforced in the educational system, and in sports programs and often at home. The results are slowly but surely being seen. When you consider the United States where more than half of the society is on some sort of entitlement program from the government, it is easy to see where this lack of discipline and obligation is leading us. Youth are being stymied, and cheated out of the opportunity to really succeed – by being protected so fiercely when they are young from some of the harsh realities that life has to offer.