I read this article in a news website that there are a number of middle schools and high schools across the country that are taking on what they are calling “No-Fail” or ZAP (Zero’s Aren’t Permitted) policies. Wh…what? Who’s half brained, nit witted idea was this? Look, I understand that it is important that kids don’t feel like failures but lets get a grip. Am I to believe that we are going to get soft on this too? Without the fear of impending doom hovering over their little student heads, what’s going to motivate them to do better? Why are they going to care what they get on the math test if they know they can’t fail even if they tried? Why do we continue to lower the standards on education? If we don’t allow our children to fail, what is the real message that they’re getting?
Look, I can understand taking this stance when it comes to child sports leagues. Everyone gets a trophy because everyone tried their darnedest but, this is education people! We need to make sure that they “get it” before we release them into the cold cruel world. Correct me if I’m wrong but, the world isn’t going to care that they were handed a passing grade by someone that was to scared to poke his ego enough to let them know that they need to do better. “Oh, but if we give little Timmy an F, he’ll be devastated.” MAN UP!!! If you don’t give him the F, how is he going to take it when he asks Jane to the prom and she says no or when he applies for his fantasy job and they turn him down. I’ve got news for you, little Jane and the fantasy job aren’t going to give a crap about little Timmy’s feelings. Failure is necessary in order to highlight success. It feels good to finally be successful at something after we’ve tried and failed. Why are we going to deny our children this experience?
We are nurturing a generation of softies here people. Whenever I failed a test, I somehow got the motivation necessary to bring my grades up out of the tank and pass the semester. This all stems from the fact that we, as a nation are shoveling our kids off to school and treating our educational system like a day care center and not giving them the space necessary to actually educate our children (see post entitled “Edumacation”). We are in an age where we are over protecting our children to the point where they are not going to be able to manage on their own when it’s time to let them go and believe me, that time will come whether we want it to or not.
What is success without failure?
In my sad little opinion, allowing a child to feel the pain of an “F” makes them feel that much more successful when they get that “A”.