Tuesday, April 07, 2009

High marks

By now, we've probably all heard stories about teachers becoming frustrated due to different restrictions imposed on them, sometimes by their school boards, and sometimes by parents unwilling to accept that their child isn't perfect in every way. Reports are released on a semi-regular basis detailing how children are being coddled, given higher grades than they deserve, or, in extreme cases, not even being corrected on their mistakes all in the effort to not hurt their fragile egos. While these cases are certainly severe, we really commend any school district (and teachers) that go to lengths to ensure that the students are learning, being graded, and not being protected excessively. Yes, it's a harsh world, and sometimes, that world requires that people learn some basic math and grammar.

Well, it looks like Ontario, Canada is jumping on board with this concept, as they're starting to go after private schools in the province. Why target the private schools, which, at least stereotypically, hold students to a higher standard? Because these schools are giving higher grades than they should, sometimes for as little as a paycheck.

Honestly, we're a little torn on this issue. While we definitely think that children (or parents) shouldn't be able to purchase grades, and, largely, that seems to be what Ontario is cracking down on, it also seems to fly in the face of something that many adults have been forced to accept over their own years; money and privilege make life easier. While we don't agree with it, allowing the wealthier students to buy better grades may actually deliver a longer-term life lesson to the poorer students that don't have the same opportunities. Again, this isn't something we agree with, but we can't deny that it exists throughout our society.

Don't believe us? Try and defend the position of Paris Hilton and other celebutards as famous individuals. They aren't famous because of anything that they've done (well, they didn't start out that way). They became famous because they have money, and, with money comes opportunities. If Paris had just been a vapid girl from your high school making a bland sex tape, nobody would have cared. Because she's from a wealthy family, she was able to take the "scandal" and turn it into something where the public (apparently) keeps begging for information about her. And she's only one example among many.

So let people buy their grades. If actual studies and intelligence will matter in the long run, then a purchased grade now won't really make much of a difference. If not, well, there's not a whole lot that can be done to stem the tide at this point.

Just ask the Hiltons.

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