I heard a story recently about a group of students in an econ classroom who conducted an experiment about socialism. For one month all the grades from each weekly exam were averaged together and every student was given the same grade. The first week, each student got a B on the exam as some of them had studied hard and missed very few on the test, yet other students in the class didn’t work hard at all because they knew the ones that had would bring their low grades up. The next week the grades dropped to a C because the hard working students didn’t want to work as hard if not everyone in the class were going to put in the same amount of effort. The students who had decided not to study before now studied even less because they were getting credit for work they didn’t do. Finally by the end of the month, every student in the class was failing because no one wanted to work any harder than any other student.
Another situation dealt with an inner city school where educators didn’t really care about anything but collecting a paycheck and felt that since they got no respect in the classroom, they wouldn’t worry much about teaching but instead would let students come to their class and simply give them a passing grade at the end of the year. This set of classrooms became increasingly popular with students at the school because a grade was earned without doing any work what so ever. The problem came at the end of their high school career when they “graduated” but didn’t have any life skills what so ever and some students could not even read and write. They had been given and given and given just to get them by and yet in the end they were not released into the world as productive citizens.
Maybe you can see correlations between these stories and what is happening in many parts of our country today. Is there a place for a support system? Absolutely. There are many cases where there needs to be a safety net to catch those who fall. But at what point does that safety net become more than holding someone up long enough for them to get back on their feet but instead becomes simply giving them a grade to get them by? If someone gives and gives and gives to you over and over at some point don’t you come to expect that to continue? And if they give that to you and you find out that you don’t have to do anything to earn it, most of us would not worry about doing anything in the future would we?
Somewhere we need to find that line, between help and simply creating a society of people who take and never give back to society. If we allow this to continue, simply giving people a hand out instead of giving them real skills so they can earn a living for themselves, then in the end we will all get a big “F” on our test. See you next week…remember, we’re all in this together.