“A” for Failure

A school district in Massachusetts is reportedly instituting an “honor roll for effort.” In other words, students who are seen as trying hard get on the honor roll even if their performance is mediocre or they fail. For a school to reach a point where it could even consider such a thing, it’s safe to assume that something other than objective standards of performance in various subjects are governing what goes on in a student’s day. I wonder if the school officials who proudly preen about their policy would do any of the following: Tell a car mechanic who ruined their car engine, “Thank you for trying.” Or tell an airline pilot who landed in a nearby field rather than the airport runway, “I appreciate your effort.” Or tell a surgeon charged with removing a malignant tumor who operated on the wrong part of the body, “You get an A for effort.” If they wouldn’t do any of these things, then by what means do they justify preparing students for a world in which this is how things work?