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The grade all of you received was higher than your actual test results, as one of you only answered 2 questions properly and I felt sorry for you. These are the words of my college teacher after the first test of the semester. Our grades did not reflect a proper understanding of the material but a teacher who wanted his students to pass. To many this would sound like a good deal. But what this teacher has just taught us all is that effort and learning the actual course work is not important and grades are given, not earned. The grade no longer had meaning to me. I had felt proud of the grade I had received and the hard work that I had put into my study time. The feeling didn't last long and I soon felt cheated. The problem is that grades were meant to show the outcome of what the student was taught, how much they actually learned and retained. It is no longer what grades show.
Unfortunately this problem grows as time goes on. There is a sense of entitlement that expands with every generation. "What alarms me is their indifference toward grades as an indication of personal effort and performance. Many, when pressed about why they think they deserve a better grade, admit they don't deserve one but would like one anyway. Having been raised on gold stars for effort and smiley faces for self-esteem, they've learned that they can get by without hard work and real talent if they can talk the professor into giving them a break. This attitude is beyond cynicism. There's a weird innocence to the assumption that one expects (even deserves) a better grade simply by begging for it." (Wiesenfeld) The desire to be number one at all cost is a main part of the problem. The rules no longer apply as long as first place is achieved. There used to be a time when hard work was valued and understood. Parents want their children to have an easier, better life than they did, and will fight for something so their kids don't have to. In essence they are being robbed of the molding of character that happens when we earn our own way. There is a great demand for things unearned and a refusal to take accountability for the actions of oneself. There is often an excuse that is used to dodge the responsibility. We have taught students that if something is hard it's not worth it.
The future of these students is compromised. "And this isn't just important for your own life and your own future. What you make of your education will decide nothing less than the future of this country. What you're learning in school today will determine whether we as a nation can meet our greatest challenges." (Obama) The careers they choose and the way they handle life and every day situations. The lack of care and concern is a direct reflection of the lack of quality that we see in our country. There are roofs that leak because the construction workers were lazy or not careful enough to do the job properly or the building that collapsed killing someone because the engineer had miscalculated how much weight the building could hold. (Wiesenfeld) "Do you find it terrifying that at some point in the future these same students may be your doctor or lawyer and that, reality forbid, these are the people who will teach the next generation? I do."(Saxon)
There will be no way of solving this as long as teachers allow students to slide and parents choose cheating over hard work. The desire to be number one should inspire a person to do the hard things in order to grow and mature in their understanding of the task at hand. We are in need of leaders who will make a stand in values that are quickly becoming unpopular. Teachers, parents and political leaders are responsible to uphold this standard and encourage the youth of this generation to persevere through the challenges. In the words of President Obama "But at the end of the day, the circumstances of your life - what you look like, where you come from, how much money you have, what you've got going on at home - that's no excuse for neglecting your homework or having a bad attitude. That's no excuse for talking back to your teacher, or cutting class, or dropping out of school. That's no excuse for not trying."(Obama) It's leaders like this who will help raise the standard back to where it should be.
Wiesenfeld, Kurt. "Making The Grade" From the magazine issue dated Jun 17, 1996 web 09/11/09 http://www.newsweek.com/id/102427/output/print
Obama, Barrack. Posted at 12:15 AM/ET, September 08, 2009 in USA TODAY editorial provided by the White House of the speech President Obama. Web 09/11/09. http://blogs.usatoday.com/oped/2009/09/our-opinion-obama-to-students-no-excuse-for-not-trying-.html
Saxon, Miki. "Leadership's Future: Entitled To Good Grades" March 5th, 2009 Web 09/11/09 1-http://www.leadershipturn.com/leaderships-future-entitled-to-good-grades/