January 28, 2005

RE: Lincoln's Nixing of the Spelling Bee

Marc Comtois

As Justin said, leave it to Rhode Island . . . An additional excerpt

The administrators agreed, Newman said, that a spelling bee doesnít meet the criteria of all children reaching high standards -- because there can only be one winner, leaving all other students behind.

"Itís about one kid winning, several making it to the top and leaving all others behind. Thatís contrary to No Child Left Behind," Newman said.

A spelling bee, she continued, is about "some kids being winners, some kids being losers."

As a result, the spelling bee "sends a message that this isnít an all-kids movement," Newman said.

Furthermore, professional organizations now frown on competition at the elementary school level and are urging participation in activities that avoid winners, Newman said. Thatís why there are no sports teams at the elementary level, she said as an example.

The emphasis today, she said, is on building self-esteem in all students.

"You have to build positive self-esteem for all kids, so they believe theyíre all winners," she said. "You want to build positive self-esteem so that all kids can get to where they want to go."

A spelling bee only benefits a few, not all, students, the elementary principals and Newman agreed, so it was canceled.

What's next? If we take their logic to its, um, "logical" conclusion, the following will also have to end:

1) The most obvious is that there should be no more grading system. An "A" only benefits a few students, giving them an advantage in the competition for college slots. Besides, it hurts the self-esteem of those not receiving "A"s
2) No more school-related athletics. What would be the point. There can be no more State Champions as the other competitors would be "left behind" and, again, would have their self-esteem challenged.
3) No more lines, such as in the cafeteria or in fire drill musters. Being first in line would imply preferential treatment for the first student in line. The situation could damage the self esteem of those not in front of the line, particularly the last child in line. In effect, other than the first child, all others would be "behind."
4) All state and federal mandated testing should end as it is inevitable that some students/schools/districts will not perform as well as others and it could damage their respective self esteems. This is simply not fair. Er, wait a second.....

Could that be their point, after all?

Hmmmm. D'ya think they could be making some sort of political statement at the expense of the kids?

Naw......not in Rhode Island.

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Some commentary from even farther south than Baltimore.


Posted by: steevil at January 28, 2005 4:37 PM