Friday, March 26, 2010

"Income Equality"--An Analogy for Kids

Take your typical classroom. There are the kids who get straight A’s--some of these kids are just naturally smart and the tests and papers come easy to them; but more often than not, these kids work hard. They get to class on time, complete their homework and really strive to be the best they can be. They like the A.

Then there are your ‘C’ students. For some of these kids, they do try hard and school is a struggle. They just can’t seem to get it but they put fourth the effort and do the best they can which equates to average. There are also those 'C' students who could be 'A' students but would rather not put forth the effort

Finally you have your ‘F’ students. Now some of the kids are in bad situations--possible victims of abuse, parents who don’t care, or truly mentally disadvantaged. But let’s be honest (and if you’ve been in school you know this is true) most of these kids don’t care, are lazy and just would rather do something else than their homework.

Now let’s say a couple of the ‘A’ students feel badly about the ‘F’ students. They don’t think it’s fair they get an ‘F’ because they have bad homes or true mental disadvantages. The ‘A’ students are smart and focus on these children rather than the lazy ones even if there are some ‘A’ and “C’ students who have similar bad circumstances.

These students start the cry of unfairness pointing to those ‘naturally’ smart kids--they usually always dress nice, mom is always at school helping and they tend to break the curve in class. They are careful not to mention those 'A' students who do have a tough life but work very, very hard for that 'A'.

This gets the ‘F’ students, and even a few ‘C’ students, attention. Now the majority of the class sees an unfair situation.

The teacher decides to make things ‘fair’ She talks all the points in a test and divides them among the students until everyone has a low ‘C’--all the same grade (many of the ‘A’ students who protested the ‘unfair’ system petition to get extra points for bringing up the cause to bring their grades up slightly higher--not mentioned to the other students of course).

Now, no one waits to see how they did on the test. They already know what they got.

The hard workers start to relax a bit---if the work they do is going to be taken away, why bother? Right?

Slowly, the individual test scores drop until almost everyone is close to scoring the same every time--Ds and Fs. Even the naturally smarter students are doing worse--they feel unvalued and cheated.

Life is not fair, we know that. There are horrible circumstances out there. The glimmering hope out of the hard life is hard work--like it or not. ‘Giving’ someone not doing well by taking away what other kids earn is not right. And helps no one. The kids who never tried will continue never try and the kids who did try will give up. A tragedy.

So does this mean we should just ignore those kids who really got the bad brakes and are stuck with the 'F's? No, but hand-outs won't help. Personally giving them a hand and helping them experience success for themselves is what will help. Everyone deserves a shot at success but to punish those who do find success is just silly.

What are your thoughts?


Mike Tobin said...

Well said

mah-meeee said...

amen. this is the point that many don't get... esp since i live in a very blue state.

Jan said...

Very interesting point made, interesting indeed!!