preparing for a dog-eat-dog world

Pittsburgh Public Schools get set to implement a policy granting students a minimum grade of 50% for “assignments, tests, and other work.”

Ideally, grades would not be given to students at all. Grades don’t offer any constructive feedback and only risk distracting students from the purpose of education. The purpose of education is to inspire a love for learning and promote self-awareness. This is key to how caring individuals and a good society come about. One might suspect however, that Judy Leonardi doesn’t see it that way:

“I don’t think [the policy] sets kids up properly for college, for competition in life”

While competition has its proper place in school (e.g. on the basketball court), the broad arena of “life” is certainly where it should not be encouraged. While we certainly have inherited a lot from the animal world, our competitive jungle is largely our creation – a creation we (unlike the beasts) have the capacity to maniuplate, for better or for worse, however we desire. Of course, for the time being some compromise may have to be made with some colleges (e.g. entrance requirements giving high priority to GPA), but it’s the responsiblity of K-12 education not to kow-tow to higher education and instead work cooperatively for change.

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