The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

16 October 2002

Letting the mediocrity shine through

Is the National Junior Honor Society elitist? A Connecticut middle-school principal seems to think so:

"In reality, there's nothing about their academics that would make them more suited for...leadership roles than a student who works hard for Bs."

And this year, there will be no NJHS chapter at this school, ostensibly because the faculty adviser transferred out, but it seems pretty clear to me that this guy has had too many sips of Berkeley Kool-Aid; he did everything but suggest that students not qualifying for the Honor Society were suffering from impaired self-esteem.

I was sufficiently incredulous to ask an actual teacher for a translation, and here's what I got:

"We want everyone to be happy, noncompetitive and average."


"Nearly every teacher I know thinks this whole entire philosophy of noncompetitiveness is complete and utter horseshit. The upper crust is the only slice of the education community which seems to find this middle school mission enlightening and avant-garde."

Well, the Sixties are over. The principal in question "acknowledges" that he's taking a "bold step"; I guess sliding right off the edge of the cliff requires a certain level of boldness. Me, I'm suffering a certain level of sickness just thinking about it.

Update, 7:23 pm: Expanded the teacher's remarks to improve clarity.

Posted at 5:59 PM to Almost Yogurt