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As has to be pointed out with so many news stories these days, this is not satire.
Graduating senior Vanessa Umana expected to leave last Friday's commencement ceremony at Francis Polytechnic High School with a diploma, a few photos and some wonderful memories.
Imagine her surprise, then, when Principal Ari Bennett announced that Vanessa would also be getting an $18,000 Chevrolet Sonic, one of two grand prizes awarded in a year-long contest to encourage perfect attendance at Los Angeles Unified schools.
While you are searching about for something to put your finger on to pinpoint the beginning of the decline of this great republic, please consider the onset of the "everybody gets a trophy" mentality which began in earnest when the hippies left the Woodstock mud, showered and took over public education.
They began by prioritizing self-esteem over academic achievement, which has done nothing but unleash a couple of generations of well-adjusted morons on the American workplace.
Now we're rewarding kids for just showing up.
As a product of actual Catholic schools (real nuns and stuff), this kind of news makes me feel as if I'm reading science fiction about a parallel universe. My reward for perfect attendance the last two and a half years of high school was an education and not getting kicked out of school (which is what happened to kids who were absent a lot in Catholic school).
There are few things more insidious than raising children to believe that they will be singled out for special treatment merely for doing what they're supposed to do. But that is exactly what public education in America has been doing for decades now. The average American kid hits the adult world believing there will be a pair of lips permanently affixed to his buttocks and that everything is a right. Turn out enough of these kids over a couple of generations and you end up with Occupy camps all over the country.
As one of the worst public school districts in the United States, LAUSD should be focusing on rewarding students with a better education, rather than giving iPads to elementary school kids.
The companies donating the prizes would have done a far greater service to the kids by setting up scholarships for which they could compete. Then again, as any parent with a child in youth sports today knows, competition is frowned upon because feelings or something.
This is really a by-product of the way we fund public education. Dollars are doled out based on attendance. To the overlords of public schools, the goal is to get the kid there. Once he's there, they simply need to make sure that he feels good about himself so he'll enjoy coming back.
And on it goes.