February 5, 2014 by falcon7204
I came across an article this morning about a Maryland school that threw a pizza party for straight-A students. (The link is here.) In a nutshell, the school recognized high achievers, but some critics of the party say it made underachievers “feel bad” and could lead to “bullying.”
I say: horsefeathers.
When someone is handed a trophy for just showing up, what kind of a message does that send? It’s OK if you didn’t do well, just showing up is an accomplishment, so don’t worry about trying harder next time. I think the school is Maryland is doing the right thing, and for the right reasons. And if the lily-livered liberals that have infested our educational system would stay out of the way, the kids who didn’t go to the party would get the right message – which is, study hard, excel, and you can come to the party next time.
It should be viewed as an incentive for excelling, as opposed to a way to exclude the kids who didn’t do well, and thus make them “feel bad.”
I didn’t care about making my kids feel bad when they did less than exceptional on their schoolwork. I didn’t belittle them, but I did incentivize them, and they responded. And to anyone who think that doing that amounts to bribery, don’t you enjoy being recognized for the work you do? And isn’t it a good feeling to excel at something and reap the benefits (whether monetary – a raise, a bonus, a one-time award – or emotional)?
Kids need to be made to feel exceptional, but in order to do that they have to be exceptional. And handing out participation trophies is not the way to do that. Kudos to the school in Maryland for doing the right thing.