In the storied history of education there has been but one constant: the strong pass and the weak fail. Educators from Socrates to Dennis Prager have held no qualms about failing their talentless pupils, so why do we now cater to the fragile egos of Generation Z? Humanity’s future lies in the hands of these brain-atrophied youths, yet we allow their mediocrity to spread from our classrooms to hospitals, board rooms, and the Senate. Our standards are slipping, and if we do not take care to properly punish incompetence, civilization will resemble Idiocracy sooner than one can say “Brawndo has what plants crave!”
The perpetuation of our status quo relies upon — at minimum — a few individuals having a basic understanding of existing technology, medicine, and corporate logo design techniques. Indeed, it would be ideal for every person to be more knowledgeable than the average person, but my last hopes of that bright future were dashed as my most recent HIEU 131 students finished the quarter with a class average of 19%. Before them, my students’ average was 34%. At this rate, I will be forced to pass students with negative grades by winter quarter. With such grades, one may be tempted to believe that it is the material that gets more challenging with every passing quarter rather than the students getting lazier and more inept, but new French Revolution History has not been discovered since 1814.
When my great-grandfather Ables “A+” Gradesby invented the letter grade system in 1862, he envisioned letter grades as an institution people could rely on: the one constant the American people could hold onto in times of great tumult. In those days an “A” was no less than 90% of perfection and, if you worked your ass off for a 97%, you were rewarded with a “+.” He would be ashamed to see us coddle with these made-up “curves” that discount the value of our most highly-regarded letters and tarnish the Gradesby legacy.
I have tried everything to make my students learn. Assigned readings, weekly quizzes, and corporal punishment have all failed to motivate my students to perform to my expectations. If I can pass the finals I make with 100%, I should be able to expect my students to do the same. It just goes to show that you can teach a student about Waterloo, but you can’t make it think.
When our underachieving students graduate and enter the workforce ill-equipped as they are, we will face an economic crisis. Productivity will plummet to unforeseen levels. Yelp will become unusable when all one-star reviews are scrubbed from the app for “having expectations that were never expressed in the syllabus.” And would you ever eat out if there was a social expectation to always tip your server?
We cannot go on like this. How are we to trust the future generation of historians to remember the past? Where will we be if our baristas no longer have the requisite knowledge to back up their poetry degrees? The means to save society is within our grasp — we need only to start curving scores downward.