Jewish World Review April 2, 2004 / 12 Nissan, 5764
Kids, say it loud! I'm intelligent and I'm p-r-o-u-d proud
Have you heard about the math teacher in Ahwatukee Foothills,
Ariz., who pinpoints students and tells them they will ace the math portion
of their SATs? He's not just whistlin' theorems. This year, 18 of his
students scored a perfect 800 on the math portion of the college entrance
Larry Strom, a man whose appearance could be described as dated,
disheveled, desperately in need of some hair products and looking as though
he'd gladly carry a plastic pocket protector if they still made them,
operates the math department on a two-fold principle: healthy competition
and high praise for achievement.
The is a stark contrast to Nashville, Tenn., where schools will no
longer recognize academic achievement without permission slips from
parents. Why? It may embarrass underachievers. Schools have stopped posting
honor rolls (contraband!) and some are considering a ban on hanging good
work in the hallways.
We can only hope Nashville parents do not adopt the same policy
regarding posting school work on refrigerator doors.
The schools also have called for an end to school assemblies
recognizing academic achievement. Apparently, watching high achievers slap
one another on the back side for a thermo-dynamic science fair project
poses an inherent danger to the students who slept through science class.
Some schools are considering cancelling spelling bees.
"Ridiculous: r - i - d - i - c - u - l - o - u - s, ridiculous."
Back at Desert Vista High School in Arizona, academic achievement
garners as much recognition as achievements on the football field and
You aced geometry? High five, baby! Pictures of math students with
their names beneath them line the hallways of the school. In these halls,
geek is good.
A perfect SAT math score can mean 15 minutes of fame and a taste
Does the recognition and praise given to high achievers leave the
underachievers in a puddle on the floor in Arizona? It doesn't appear so.
If anything, the competition and recognition seem to have a ripple effect.
Desert Vista students achieve high marks in many areas of scholastics and
Perhaps it is time to look at the benefits of knowing you are
someone who could achieve a little more and use a slight shove to the next
Didn't Avis car rental build an entire ad campaign around the
slogan, "We Try Harder"? And what about Susan Lucci? The soap-opera queen
was nominated nearly every year for 19 years in a row before winning an
Emmy Award for her role in "All My Children."
You think seeing other women walk away with the little statuette
didn't keep her coming back, thinking "next year that gold trophy is going
home with me"?
What keeps Charlie Brown trying to kick that football? Watching
NFL stars like Mike Vanderjagt and Adam Vinaterieri. Charlie tells himself
that if he tries a little harder, he too could pull down several million a
year and finally have enough money to buy shirts without zig zags on them.
Hold that ball, Lucy, he's making a run for it again!
Schools keeping high achievements under wraps, not only rob hard
workers of the recognition they have rightfully earned, they do a
disservice to those who need a small shove by depriving them of a peek at
The math department at Desert Vista High School has it right. All
students need a dose of inspiration, healthy competition and genuine
praise: p - r - a - i - s - e.
Enjoy this writer's work? Why not sign-up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.
© 2001, Lori Borgman
JWR contributor Lori Borgman is the author of , most recently, "Pass the Faith, Please" (Click HERE to purchase. Sales help fund JWR.) and I Was a Better Mother Before I Had Kids To comment, please click here. To visit her website click here.
03/26/04: Clothing wars every mom for herself
03/19/04: Marriage: A peek into the crystal ball
03/12/04: Women don't burp and buy like they used to
03/05/04: Sometimes wishes do come true, even for grown-ups
02/27/04: Family there to give Mom the business
02/06/04: Chance for big money slips through her fingers
01/30/04: Profanity brings out the f-word (fury)
01/23/04: Lots of labels in this union
01/16/04: Cheap eats in college? Use your noodle
01/02/04: 2003 boasted a cast of colorful characters
12/19/03: Hours at the stove, moments at the table
12/12/03: The way they dress, "boxers or briefs?" isn't a question
12/05/03: Hey, hey, we're the monkeys (or close enough)
11/26/03: Hardship? We don't know the meaning
11/21/03: Good kids! Wonder who raised them
11/14/03: Safety first, even when danger has passed
10/24/03: NFL fan learns to handle heightened sensations
10/03/03: Chipping away at misunderstood lists
09/26/03: Boundaries disappear, society pays the price
09/19/03: Easy (bike) rider
09/12/03: Got Mom?
09/05/03: S'Mores Maker threatens all we hold dear (and gooey)
07/25/03: Private journals, public records
07/25/03: Star appears bright-eyed, bushy-tailed
07/18/03: Girls pool talents for commercial success
07/11/03: Summer; the living is easy
07/03/03: Terrible twos make terrific workout
06/27/03: Emergency a matter of definition
06/13/03: A Father's Day roast for Mother Goose
06/05/03: Good examples of bad parenting
05/23/03: Faulty equations on the love calculator
05/16/03: Busted for Oreos!
05/09/03: Mom plus shipping equals excitement
05/02/03: Mom shudders at thought of the m-a-l-l
04/21/03: Mother Confessions
04/11/03: Husband snoring: Hit or mist
04/04/03: Flip flops hashed at the lunch table
03/28/03: Bare facts on protesters
03/21/03: Madonna: Like an Author
03/17/03: Mom develops rapport with son's answering machine
03/07/03: The call for courage
02/28/03: My relationship with Mister Rogers
01/31/03: Mom pushes memories out the door
01/24/03: Picture this! Human 'beans'
01/10/03: Password, please!
12/31/02: Who it was a good year for
12/06/02: Radio show guarantees family-size audience
12/02/02: High-seas adventure would enlist few takers today
11/15/02: Frozen turkey makes cook chicken out
11/15/02: What's going on with "going out?"
11/01/02: The crazy mind of middle-age
10/25/02: Relationship rooted in willow talk
10/18/02: The challenge of being spontaneous
10/11/02: No wheels, no keys, no problem?
10/04/02: Lessons of a childhood survivor --- my children's
09/20/02: "Cutting the Cord" to the Tube
09/13/02: Over there
08/30/02: The Last One Left
08/23/02: Rare sighting made on the patio
08/16/02: Kids get reality paycheck
08/08/02: We look like this . . . no, Kidman!
08/02/02: We should be a nation of 'nuts'!
07/26/02: Hold your applause --- please!
07/19/02: Greed and Mints on the Pillows
07/12/02: Remodeling: Blueprint for Disaster
07/08/02: The Botox wrinkle
06/28/02: One perfect day
06/21/02: Flush with excitement
06/14/02: The Ways a Father Says "I Love You"
06/07/02: Garage Sale Treasures
05/31/02: No Pudgy Hour at the gym
05/19/02: Ozzy, if you come for dinner, bring change
05/19/02: Instant Messaging and LOL
05/10/02: Some mothers get something more
05/03/02: I Nudge, Therefore I Am
04/25/02: Motherhood is seasonal work
04/19/02: Paper trail to college
04/12/02: What to cook or not to cook
03/31/02: Mom and Dad Break Curfew
03/22/02: Introducing P.P.M. (Partners Per Month)
03/15/02: Birth of a Pothole
03/08/02: When Enron Momma gets mad
03/01/02: Little hope for bookaholic
02/22/02: Wrestling with prejudice
02/15/02: Say What?
02/08/02: Kitchen intelligence
02/01/02: Age-old words
01/25/02: Abortion: Switching Sides
01/18/02: Kids, take note
01/11/02: The heart-stopper e-mail
01/04/02: The slightly sunny side of 2001
12/28/01: The Way Things Work
11/30/01: The Leftover Shuffle begins
11/27/01: Glasses bring age into focus
11/16/01: A different portion of Thanks
11/09/01: The Next Stage of Parenting
11/01/01: Of boys and patriotism
10/26/01: College Son the Invisible Man
10/19/01: Out of the closet ... and into the school
10/12/01: A Parent's Guide to Dating
10/05/01: "Taking Care of You"
09/28/01: Time indivisible
09/24/01: Refueling capitalism
09/14/01: A time to mourn
09/07/01: Lack of modesty stirs the troops
08/31/01: Scholarship search an education
08/24/01: The test for parents
08/17/01: Immodest proposals
08/10/01: Trying to R-r-r-re-re-relax
08/03/01: It may be shabby and chic, but it ain't cheap
07/20/01: Bride showered with sage advice
07/13/01: Baby Bear Finds Driving "Just Right"
07/06/01: Pale at the Thought of Bronze
06/29/01: A Dog's Best Friend
06/22/01: Rethinking fatherhood
06/14/01 Don't forget to lock the door
06/07/01 How grandma punishes her kids
06/01/01 Hearing voices
05/25/01 Cyborgs for Better or Worse
05/18/01 The death of Common Sense