Thursday, March 09, 2006

Teachers Aren't the Only Teachers

An article in USA Today suggests that American students are lacking in a work ethic more common in their foreign counterparts. That's a sobering, even frightening thought.

However, when our leaders, from the President on down (Reagan, Clinton, and GW spring to mind), refuse to take responsibility for their actions, that's hardly a surprise. We're experts at evading blame, and our kids soak up our expertise like sponges. If I ran my family finances like GW ran the country, we'd be living in a tree by now. But I'm always ready to evade my responsibility too. In that spirit:

It is not only parents...who are siding with students in their attempts to get out of hard work.

“Schools play into it,” says psychiatrist Lawrence Brain, who counsels affluent teenagers throughout the Washington metropolitan area. “I've been amazed to see how easy it is for kids in public schools to manipulate guidance counselors to get them out of classes they don't like. They have been sent a message that they don't have to struggle to achieve if things are not perfect.”

It's true many immigrants come here with a better work ethic that many of us have. People who drag their families across oceans tend to seek more than the first crack at the latest incarnations of "Super Mario."

But don't buy into those "model minority" stereotypes too quickly. Kids from all over the world are Americanized very quickly, and if you think that doesn't include picking up our bad habits, you're sorely mistaken. I see the results every day, from manipulation of counselors and APs up to and including matching the most outrageous behavior of American kids.

The article notwithstanding, there are still plenty of great American kids. Let's try to keep that up somehow.

(Thanks to AJ for the tip.)
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