In a 10th-grade English class, I found kids writing essays on citizenship for a local bar association’s contest. Moving on to a middle school, I saw seventh-grade science students drawing posters for a county humane society contest in hopes of winning stuffed animals. That afternoon, I watched third-graders hop around a gym as part of a national charity’s pledge drive. The kids who hopped the longest won crayons and coloring books.
She banned competitive activities during school hours. But it’s difficult to stamp out all recognition of excellence.
Recently I saw a first-grade teacher hold up a construction paper cutout of the letter M. “Look, boys and girls,” the teacher gushed. “Madison cut straight on the lines and then she glued on glitter to make her letter shiny. Madison wins a place on our star board.” The principal smiled and saw nothing wrong.
This is not a parody.