My niece plays on a soccer team that doesn’t keep score. My generation was the first generation where we all got trophies, no matter what. When I actually won a trophy or ribbon, it always meant infinitely more. As we validate everyone, regardless of merit, our society is getting softer and softer.
Just as I think our society can’t get any softer and more accommodating of mediocrity, a Democratic lawmaker has suggested abolishing standardized testing so that those who manage to show up at school for twelve years get a diploma, regardless of whether or not they have learned anything of value. I know what you’re thinking, “With an idea like that, our educational system is bound to catch up with the rest of the world!”
Florida Democrat Representative Frederica Wilson, the crazy-hatted race-baiter who makes less and less sense with each passing day, has proposed that, in lieu of legitimate education reforms such as demanding accountability from teachers, students or both, we should abolish standardized testing for a more hands-off approach that could produce a generation of high school graduates even more ill-equipped to deal with the harsh realities of a world that does not suffer fools.
“I think it’s intention is wrong. I think that if you go to high school for 12 years, and you pass all your classes, and you put in the effort and the work that you’re supposed to do, that you should get a diploma. I don’t think that we should be holding back 8,000 third graders annually in Dade County and Broward County for no reason, just because they cannot pass a standardized test.”
The interviewer responded with the likely objection to the foregoing of standardized tests, that students may not be meeting appropriate requirements and that teachers may not be doing their jobs correctly. When he asked if she could understand that argument, Wilson dismissed the objection by stating, “ No, I can’t, because children are not cookie cutters.” I… I don’t know what that means.
This is not the first time Wilson’s hat cut off the circulation to her brain. In April, she wrote an Op-ed for Florida’s Sun-Sentinel illustrating what is at stake for those who don’t receive a diploma. Using a fictitious boy named Timothy as an example of what could go wrong if someone tries to exist in the world without a diploma, she wrote,
“Then, Timothy will try. Soon enough though, he will realize that Florida’s economy is still weak, and that in his black neighborhood, where the unemployment rate remains at 14 percent instead of the national 8.2, he doesn’t have a chance. From there, Timothy could easily fall into the trap of finding like-minded children, roam the streets, and experiment with drugs to ease the hopelessness and shame of not having a diploma.”
Well, there you have it. Obviously, the solution to eradicating the problems of poverty lies within not bringing “Timothy” up, but simply handing out diplomas to anyone. Nevermind that filling the job market with uneducated mouth-breathers that are now equipped with the same credentials as those that actually earned their diplomas will make it infinitely tougher for employers to root out who is capable and who is not, but it will level the playing field and force the legitimately competent to compete for jobs with slackers that are just as good on paper.
Sadly, she continued, saying,
“When you sleep at night, I urge you to think about the thousands of black boys roaming Florida because they don’t have their key to life. Without a diploma they become more likely to commit crime, end up in prison, stay unemployed, and earn far less over their careers…
Let’s ban tutoring companies from exploiting vulnerable children and let’s stop allowing the friends of legislators who implement these tests from profiting…
Not every child needs a college degree, but every child needs a key to the future. Some may use their key to open a door to a rewarding vocational career, some may use their key to explore new, creative passions, and others will use their key to propel them to law school.”
No, I’m not kidding. Wilson believes that we are holding people back by not offering diplomas, regardless of merit. In case her “logic” was not enough, she also claims that by not giving children diplomas, we are leaving them vulnerable to becoming criminals and drug addicts. To top off the lunacy, Wilson concludes her op-ed by claiming that by giving a diploma to those that don’t deserve one, we are opening door of opportunity to allow them to pursue passions such as law school. Law school? Really? If I ever needed a lawyer, I would damn-well want one that was able to pass the already too-easy institution of high school!
Most bothersome about this story (other than the fact that this woman is a Representative. Come on, Florida!) is that there is no legitimate discussion from Wilson about the obvious solution to the educational problems. Instead of handing diplomas out to the deserving and undeserving alike, why not focus our efforts to bringing everybody up instead of pulling everybody down? If liberal education “reformists” were half as interested in promoting learning and enforcing accountability as they are in quarreling over union benefits and promoting the self esteem of children, this problem would have been fixed long ago and our education system wouldn’t be the failure it is today.