All of the students I quoted went on to college and have since graduated. Among those schools: U Penn, UCLA, Georgetown, Chicago, and Northwestern. Many are now in graduate school. By any measure, they are examples of the system’s success. It’s partly for that reason that I trust their honest reflection about some of the less obvious things they’ve been ‘taught’ in school.

It seems to me that educators cannot take credit for every success, yet place all responsibility for any failure on the individual. Students who fail to succeed through original creative work do not always suffer some kind of character defect, a ‘defect’ (laziness, plagiarism, apathy) that the system is designed to eliminate through unquestioned expectation and accountability. It matters a great deal both what we ask of students and how they are meant to achieve it. It matters what value we place on our demands, and it matters what meaning the work has to them, not just us.

just another frustrated teacher

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