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Saturday, March 28, 2015

The problem with passing and failing

In order for a person to have power, he would need some powerless folks to lord over.  Let's look at the relationship between the Medieval Lord and Surf. The serfs worked the land in addition to doing extra work for the for the lords in exchange for food and protection. The land, the wealth, and the army belonged to the Lord. Meanwhile, the Noble Lord death with prayers, politics, and sometimes fighting.  There was often evening entertainment.  Without the work of the serf, the lord would not be able to maintain is more cushy, though often more stressful life.

Bring that to modern day for comparison, and we have the working poor and the filthy rich. Take Walmart for instance. Walmart workers are tied to low skill, low paying jobs, in order to scrape by to keep the family off the streets.  They barely make enough money to accomplish that.  Many Walmart workers are also on government assistance. Meanwhile, Walmart owners, are kabillionaires, making infathomable amounts of money, while refusing to raise the employees to livable wages, because they know there is always some unemployed person who will take the place of the barely making it workers if they complain.  But these Super rich owners, don't have the responsibilities of the Medieval serf.  Things are out of balance.  They longer feel responsibility to the worker, to make sure he is protected with house and supplies. They are only concerned with their own leisure.

And this imbalance starts young and is programmed into the mind of children.  Indulge me for a
moment and look at the school grades model. Some kids get A's or Excellents, and some kids fail and get other bad marks.  What good is the perfect grade if there isn't something to compare it against!?
Once this framework is set, it often follows the children into adulthood and in life.  Some people do very well, quite effortlessly.  Others, try as they might, will always follow at the bottom, because they have been locked in a place of failure for far too long and can't shake it.

And this is the problem I have with school... in particular passing and failing.  Just like Lords were typically born into such a position, or near it, high achievers are also often born into such positions. And when parents are working their butts off just to pay the rent, how can they change the odds for their kids?

I contend that schools need to stop grading based on the group and start grading based on the individual.  A kid that is "poor" in math, is very likely to be a great reader and lover of literature.  Let him jump ahead to grade 5 reading materials, even if he is only on grade 2 math.  This is how we create a sense of success in kids that will help them shake the change of class later in life.

Likewise, that child who succeeds naturally won't feel held back in a class where others are creating drag... and he will also be able to excel in one subject that he may very well be genius at instead of being forced to be good at every single subject.  That kid likely has untapped potential too.  He might even have the capacity to look around and help those kids behind him instead of lording his successes over them.  I think it could work.

But alas, here we are stuck in a system where some kids are good at everything and those who are not are made to feel less successful, even though they may have the light of genius held back within them.  This is why I have a problem with passing and failing.

I am glad we were able to put these issues aside for the years we homeschooled, and am also sad that we later had to conform to them as we prepared for and as the kids got into college.  It created a great deal of undue stress and anxiety.  Fortunately, we have risen above these issues, and found the natural fit where both kids could step out of the box and excel.

This is something we have to strive for for all kids.  We no longer live in Medieval times. Theres is no reason we need to serve anyone born into wealth, and to stay poor and needy the rest of our lives.


Happy Elf Mom (Christine) said...

This is deep. Way more than a post about whether Jonny should skip a couple grades ahead in English or Maths. :)

Ahermitt said...

My brain may have gotten carried away Happy. Hope I made my point!

Ahermitt said...
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