05 February 2007

My Dog's Better Than Your Dog

My apologies to those of you who now have the jingle from the old Ken-L Ration commercial stuck in your heads for the day, but it was the first thing that came to my mind when I read this article in the Washington Post where teens are engaging in one-upsmanship over who is taking the hardest course of study.

Fierce but subtle rivalries are playing out among the teenage academic elite in the Washington area as high schools expand college-level courses. Like Ivy Leaguers who debate ad nauseam whether Harvard, Yale or Princeton reigns supreme, many high schoolers enjoy engaging in a game of one-upmanship over their brand-name curricula.

Their tit for tats might appear trifling, but students say the debates help them answer fundamental questions about their high-achieving existence: Whose life is most out of control? Which program is more impressive to colleges? Which provides the best education? Who suffers the heaviest workload?

There's much more to read in the whole article. I became more and more incredulous as I read. Please understand that I support the idea of a rigorous education for all students---whatever may be appropriate to their abilities and interests; but, this article points to something out of control, in my opinion. It is a gross consumerism of grades and status without any value placed on learning. What does it say about a kid whose goal is to prove that they have the greatest lack of a personal life? Or the colleges who value these candidates?

No comments: