Wednesday, March 08, 2006

A right or a privilege

Patrick Welsh, an English teacher at T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria, VA laments the lack of motivation in today's students. He compared them to the foreign students he also teaches and finds the US born students lacking in their desire to learn and succeed. He pins the cause on one factor - work ethic,

Politicians and education bureaucrats can talk all they want about reform, but until the work ethic of U.S. students changes, until they are willing to put in the time and effort to master their subjects, little will change.

The sad fact is that in the USA, hard work on the part of students is no longer seen as a key factor in academic success.

This shouldn't come as a surprise to any of us. We all live this way. When something costs us nothing we usually don't value it very highly. When something costs us a lot we value it greatly. The immigrant students know what their parents gave up so they could live and learn in America. They are motivated to do well to honor their parents and their sacrifice. To them, living and learning in America is a privilege not a right. However, to most American born students there is no obvious cost to them or their families for the education they receive. There is no sacrifice. It is seen as a right not a privilege. Thus the apparent lack of motivation and discipline to do the work. We can tell them all day what a privilege it is to learn here, but until it costs them something it isn't going to matter much.

Other blogs talking about this: Why Homeschool and Joanne Jacobs.

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