On A23 of today's WSJ, by Rebecca Wallace-Segall, is a nice, un-PC article praising "thought competition," a.k.a. individual competitions where students compete on their own individual merits, not on teams. Writing from experience (she teaches an "afterschool writing program" in NY), she in effect mourns the fact that kids in "top-notch New York private schools"--expensive, too, obviously--need the creative writing help at all. She blames "[t]heir schools...offshoots of the 'progressive education' movement" that believes that "'thought competition' is treacherous."
Blame the "psychology and pedagogy researchers" who worry that individual competition might hurt the child's self-esteem. A la "The Incredibles," these are the same people encouraging the celebration of mediocrity--"participation" awards, anyone? These schools allow athletic competitions but not academic ones. Rebecca responds: "Is [teamwork] the only admirable achievement?" Mel Levine, UNC professor and childhood-learning expert, agrees that "the impact of the collaborative education movement has been devastating to an entire generation." (Except the homeschoolers!) Predictably, "older members of Generation Y...expect to be immediate heroes and heroines...grade inflation...to be told what a wonderful job they're doing."
Gah! While I am a slightly younger member of GenY, my parents homeschooled me. Now I have the Puritan ethic firmly implanted in my psyche--no entitlement (without reason, of course! :D) for me!