One of the specific elements of public school education that just stupefies me, and I have no idea if this is part of the “Common Core Standards”, but it WAS part of the public school culture when I taught in public schools in the 1980’s . . . was this notion of SELF-ESTEEM, no matter what (and our GRADE INFLATION problem stems from this.)
Now self-esteem is indeed a valuable character element, BUT it is ONLY valuable if earned.
However, today self-esteem is looked on as just another “giveaway”, that if not “given”, NO MATTER WHAT, will damage a child forever.
My own opinion, and I have seen how this works in the classroom, is that if self-esteem is so easy to come by, the child comes to expect it all the time, and THAT is what’s harmful. The ultimate outcome of this is when a young adult’s employer, playing by real world rules of responsibility, gives that young employee a bad performance report. Then that young employee BLAMES the employer for HIS/HER poor performance, and NOT him/her self and hence does not see the need to improve, because that’s in fact what they’ve been taught to believe by the education system. THAT damages a child much more than withholding stroking unless it’s earned!
Example: I once hauled a perpetually disruptive student into the principal’s office, and told the principal that I could not conduct lessons with this kind of student present, went into detail on the disruptive behavior (she was actually throwing things at me while I had my back turned at the blackboard), and told the principal at the very least that this student had to be removed from my class, and even thought (as it turned out mistakenly) that this student would be ejected entirely from the school.
Incredulously, I began to realize that the principal was not going to take ANY action at all. I stood there dumbfounded as the principal lectured me on self-esteem and how if the student was removed from my class, her self-esteem would be harmed. The principal returned the student to my class, she was “cheered” by the rest on her return, and any hope I had of controlling and disciplining that class was gone forever. My credibility was destroyed . . . the rug was pulled out from underneath me by the principal’s refusal to remove that student from my class. Shortly after that, I quit and got out of the teaching biz for good.
Another time, grade inflation knocked me over. The student in question had failed ALL tests, was disruptive (if he even bothered to show up), never turned in ANY assignments. etc., so at the end of the semester I gave the student what I thought was a well deserved . . . F!!! My class was this student’s last period, so when I took a look at the student’s report card (out of curiosity, which turned out “killing the cat”), I saw that every other teacher had given this student an . . . A!!! So there was this string of A’s punctuated by MY “F” at the very end. They had all apparently elevated this student’s . . . self-esteem (except for me, since evidently I didn’t get the memo that said “Though shalt give all ‘A’s’, no matter what.”)