For those of you who have long since gotten sick of the trend among education experts toward “self esteem” rather than actual learning, this story will be extremely cathartic.
Wellesley High School teacher David McCullough, Jr. (son of historian David McCullough)
had apparently had enough of feeding blithering platitudes to his
students and decided to tell the truth. The result sparked controversy
among the parents, who didn’t like hearing their children accused of
being cosseted and pampered little brats who believed they were special
for no reason. But sometimes the truth hurts. Read the greatest hits below:
You are not special. You are not exceptional.
Contrary to what your u9 soccer trophy suggests, your glowing seventh
grade report card, despite every assurance of a certain corpulent
purple dinosaur, that nice Mister Rogers and your batty Aunt Sylvia, no
matter how often your maternal caped crusader has swooped in to save
you… you’re nothing special.
Yes, you’ve been pampered, cosseted, doted upon, helmeted,
bubble-wrapped. Yes, capable adults with other things to do have held
you, kissed you, fed you, wiped your mouth, wiped your bottom, trained
you, taught you, tutored you, coached you, listened to you, counseled
you, encouraged you, consoled you and encouraged you again. You’ve been
nudged, cajoled, wheedled and implored. You’ve been feted and fawned
over and called sweetie pie. Yes, you have. And, certainly, we’ve been
to your games, your plays, your recitals, your science fairs.
Absolutely, smiles ignite when you walk into a room, and hundreds gasp
with delight at your every tweet. Why, maybe you’ve even had your
picture in the Townsman! [Editor's upgrade: Or The Swellesley Report!]
And now you’ve conquered high school… and, indisputably, here we all
have gathered for you, the pride and joy of this fine community, the
first to emerge from that magnificent new building…