An article appearing in the June 2011 Family Circle on self-esteem is worth the read:

The author, Karin Fuller, in the article "All Is Not Fair," points out the foolishness of the self-esteem doctrine as it is currently practiced in public schools and children's sporting activities everywhere. 


 Competition: Where Did It Go?

 By Mary McGarr

January 31, 2006  Updated March 27, 2014

 Anyone who is still breathing knows that the world runs on competition.  Look around and the evidence abounds.  In the REAL WORLD we are all motivated by competing with our peers, co-workers, spouses, and enemies.  Children don’t amble out the schoolhouse door hoping to be the “last” one on the bus. We aren’t gearing up for weeks of Olympic endeavor to enjoy the scenery of the locale. Buying a nicer car  than your brother just bought doesn’t happen because you all of a sudden also need a new car. Playing a soccer game where no score is kept doesn’t mean that the players don’t know how many points their side made and who made them.

Belaboring the point, competition drives just about everything we do.

Why then, have public schools done everything they can to get rid of competition? 

If, as they claim, they are readying our children for life in the real world, why would they substitute activities, curriculum, and methodologies that undermine the one attribute that drives all of us?

Perhaps as parents you have not looked closely at the changes in public schools over the last thirty years.  You probably have some sense that these public schools aren’t like the ones you attended as a child, but you can’t quite put your finger on the differences.

Such clever camouflage of the activities in public schools is by design.  No one wants parents to even realize that things at school are decidedly different.

You may or may not have heard the phrase “outcome based education.”  It was such an anathema, that the use of the phrase was deliberately outlawed by the education establishment.  It’s been called by other names, but a rose by any other name smells the same, and in this case it’s a stinky rose.

Outcome Based Education was the precursor to many of the educational paths we now see in our schools.  Its purpose was primarily to change cognitive learning to affective learning.  Or translating, we moved from a knowledge based curriculum to a “process” based curriculum.  And translating again, students stopped learning facts and instead just learn “how to learn.”  Mostly they play games all day that simulate real life, but a skewed version of it!

Learning “how to learn” is pure baloney, but educators can drone on for hours explaining how that works.  It’s always good for a laugh, unless, of course, one cares about the true academic education of children.

The word devious is the one that comes to mind with regard to what has been done deliberately in our schools.  There was never any serious discussion about whether to make such changes in our schools.  Most local school board members were kept in the dark for years after the decisions to change were made at the national and state levels.  We have school board members in Katy ISD who still don’t know that anything changed. 

I realize that such an event seems preposterous, but I can assure you that it happened. There are many aspects of this change which I will discuss another day, but the primary one is the removal of competition.

The Katy ISD has managed to remove all vestiges of competition.  We have done away with real Science Fairs on all our elementary campuses.  Kids get a ribbon for participating; they don’t get one for winning for being the best.  We have eliminated the History Fair.  Can’t have someone being the best in such a contest, so they just ended  it completely.  We give “citizenship awards” instead of academic excellence awards.  We wouldn’t want any child to think someone could do math problems better and faster than he can.  Watch for the Spelling Bee to disappear soon if it hasn’t already.  The fact that home schooled students usually win at the national level spelling bee, means that public school students will just stop competing rather than lose to those students. We honor the top ten in each high school class instead of the valedictorian and the salutatorian.  In some schools, the valedictorian has not even been allowed to give the valedictory address at graduation. We (Hugh Hayes, the superintendent) got rid of ability grouping because we don't want anyone feeling inferior or superior--we're "all the same." We honor those who have performed “community service” with the same level of appreciation as the valedictorian. We tell thousands of kids that they are graduating “with honors” and they’ve only made a 4. grade point average, and their grades are based on inflated grades. They cannot even get in to our state’s finest universities with such an average.  We give a multiplicity of scholarships to students who “deserve” them instead of giving them to students who have “earned” them by virtue of excellent grades (the word is “SCHOLARSHIP!”)  We name ten kids “captain” of the football team so no one gets his feelings hurt.  We give out “participation” ribbons on Field Day in elementary school so everyone is happy.

The list of such changes is endless, but the results are critical.  We either believe in excellence and competition or we do not.  We either see the long term value for students in preparing them for what they will find in an actual job or we do not. 

The current stance of our public schools constitutes a great disservice to our students, especially the ones who are academic achievers.  Public school is supposed to be about acquiring an academic education, nothing else.  Along the way of such an endeavor, children will learn to get along, respect authority and each other, and appreciate their cultural heritage.  Those secondary lessons should not have become primary. 

Someone needs to shake parents and remind them that when we reward every child regardless of his academic success, we are espousing communism.  There’s no other way to describe what is being done. EVERY CHILD IS NOT THE SAME.

In the recent past, a young friend of mine said, "My teacher says we're all the same."  I looked at her and said, "Who do you know that is just like you?"  After a thoughtful minute, she smiled and said, "No one."  That's all it takes to undo the mindless garbage that is being foisted on our children.

My concern with this sea change is that it was underhanded and hidden, and it goes against what most thinking Americans want for their children. 

It will take a major effort to fix what “they” have done.

In the meantime, do NOT let them influence YOUR child's attitudes about being unique.  Tell him every day that he is not like anyone else.  He is a jewel among jewels.  He cannot be replicated.  He is NOT the "same" as anyone else. Don't criticize his teacher--she's just doing what they tell her to do, but you can and must undo the harm of the misguided rhetoric.

As a voter, you should ask school board candidates how they feel about telling students that they are the "same" as every other student.  You will know, by their answer, whether they are worthy of your vote and whether or not they too, have been brainwashed!