Motivation or exclusion? That’s the question which is being asked at Silver Spring, Maryland’s East Middle School. The school organizes parties – with dancing, games and pizza – for straight A students, allowing students with Bs and Cs to come to the events after classes end and the pizza is gone. The practice has become yet another issue to people who worry that exclusion from the event might lower students’ self esteem.
East Middle School does have an already divided student population. It – like increasing numbers of schools nationwide – is divided between a competitive and academically challenging magnet program, and the students which simply live in the school’s designated zone. Some parents fear that the parties could increase the divide between different groups of students. These parents argue that there are other ways to acknowledge success … such as the lists of honor roll names posted in hallways.
Others argue that the parties offer motivation for students to do well. They’re a tangible reward for success, one school period off to go have fun (or at least to join after school).
In the real world, success depends on work, knowledge and education, so creating a fun party is a similar way to incentivize kids, but on a smaller scale. There are parties for all the school’s students, but some parties are only for those who achieve success.
The media is fixated on “income equality,” and appears to be against success being rewarded for hard work. The ideas of participation trophies and wealth redistribution become more and more popular with social engineers. The oddest part of the story, though, is the fact that a reporter asked two of the straight A students who attended the party whether the party was fair. One of the kids said he didn’t know, and one said she could see how it might be, but that it was good motivation. This type of action could actually instill guilt for success.
What do you think? Is the school doing the right thing here? Please comment below.
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