How educrats sacrifice academic excellence for self-esteem

UPDATE: Welcome Post-Darwinist readers! Thanks for the link Denyse! For more on the failures of educrats to focus on teaching young people instead of building up their self-esteem, please see Denyse’s post on the subject.

UPDATE: Welcome visitors from Blazing Cat Fur! One of my favorite Canadian blogs! Please take a look around, as I cover a number of issues of importance to Canadians, including health care, education, free trade, tax policy and of course FREE SPEECH! The Wintery Knight is a HUGE fan of PM Stephen Harper, MP Maurice Vellacott, MP Jason Kenney, Ezra Levant, Mark Steyn and MPP Lisa MacLeod.

My friend Richard sent me this:

Apparently, it has come to the point where students may not be given a zero grade for handing in assignments late, or a zero for not showing up the remake test/assignment. Below is a link to a petition a HS teacher in Ottawa has set up to reassess this policy. Please sign it. The last thing we need is to raise a generation of kids that have no concept of deadlines and consequences. That would be the end of our workforce.

The petition is here.

Excerpt from the petition content:

According to the Ontario Ministry of Education policies, if a student misses a test (whether they skip class or are sick) or if they cheat then the evaluation is not valid and they must not be given a zero. The student must have an opportunity to be re-evaluated on the material. Assignments can have a due date but if the student does not hand it in on the due date a zero cannot be assigned. The student must be allowed to hand in the assignment late without being penalized.

In the past teachers would go out of their way to make sure they evaluated students, but when given an opportunity to be re-evaluated, the student had to turn up. Now you can offer the student a chance to be re-evaluated, and if they don’t turn up they still cannot get a zero. Assignments can be handed in at any time during the year. If the whole class is doing the same assignment, the teacher can receive the finished assignments any time between the due date and the end of the year. If the teacher marks the assignments as he/she gets them and returns them as they are marked, then anyone who has not handed in an assignment can, if they are so inclined, copy an assignment that has been marked and turn it in as their own work. The only way around this is not returning the assignments until all of the students have submitted their work, but this delays essential feedback to the students. Teachers have to be able to indicate to students that a zero may given on missed evaluations and give penalty marks for work not done on time.

We cannot succeed in a global economy when those in charge of educating our children fail to teach them the kinds of skills they will need to take on the demanding jobs of the future. This is just another area of life where things have gotten so politically correct that we have forgotten the purpose of school: to gain knowledge! I urge you to consider signing the petition.

UPDATE: I found this story featuring Caroline Orchard in the Ottawa Citizen. And a panel discussion transcript. MP3 audio of an interview with Caroline Orchard from 580 CFRA, the news talk radio station in Ottawa.

4 thoughts on “How educrats sacrifice academic excellence for self-esteem”

  1. Despite what these teachers may think, they are not doing these kids a favour by protecting them from the ‘hurt feelings’ resulting from a zero grade for not handing in their assignments or for doing a poor job.

    Just wait until these softy kids hit the REAL WORLD and submit a substandard product or report to a client…THEN there will be some hurt feelings! And probably also towards those teachers who should have prepared them for the real working world. Isn’t that what school is supposed to be for? To prepare you for life.


  2. This is just more followup for the intrusion of psychology into education. Back in the 1980’s teachers were actually told they could not fail a student as it would harm the student’s self-esteem. There was nothing like that back when I went to school (mostly during the 1960s) and I think my generation came out ok. It is also just another way for some of those in charge of education to not confront the realities of how we are failing to educate our own.


  3. One issue we face at the university level is students who are vetted for learning disabilities, such as ADD, and who then are entitled to special circumstances during examinations, such as 50% extra time, an isolated quiet room in which to take the exam, etc. Of course these rules are transmitted to individual departments in the form of an unfunded mandate, so it falls upon us to provide the space, the proctoring, and the staff time in order to attend to these cases.

    Several colleagues in other universities, and high school teachers as well, have remarked that most of the ADD diagnoses seem to be associated with upper middle class or wealthy kids (predominantly white). They have the financial resources to go to specialists, who seem eager to document these various syndromes. The kid then gets special consideration, but it is forbidden to note this on a transcript or in a letter of recommendation. Surely some of these cases are legitimate, but others I suggest are simply scamming the system to try to get an edge over their fellow students.

    Make-up exams are a pain in the neck for faculty. Years ago I had one student who would regularly miss the final exam in several of his courses, and then present his instructors with a note from his psychiatrist explaining that he had a valid medical excuse. So at the beginning of the following term, I am forced to write a completely new exam, since the original one has been revealed to the entire rest of the class.

    Another problem is that the student disability or mental health services which interface with the faculty on individual cases are often not dispassionate but rather are strong advocates for the students. I recall one case where fortunately I had meticulously documented everything I had done and my reasons for failing the student. The staff member treated me with overt hostility, I felt, because I was able to answer all of her questions and justify my actions at every step of the process, which left no gray area for the student and his proxy to exploit.


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