As a member of the X-generation, the generation that has successfully lowered the standards in every facet of education, respect, human decency, and common sense, I am disheartened to confide in you that for the future I can only foresee the next generation generating further decay.
In regards to this cultural and generational disaster, I do feel, however, that the responsibility deserves to be evenly distributed. The lack of motivation, persistence, and drive that my lethargic and half-assed generation exhibits can easily be credited as byproducts of our preceding generation: the parents. Due to the disillusionment of the American dream, which may have caused an inaccurate sense of entitlement somewhere along the way, and the resignation of unprepared parents, I point my finger at this group for promoting mediocrity, and for not only accepting, but also praising the bare minimum. This generation has allowed their children to coast through life and squander potential because of the feel-good philosophy that we are all “winners” in life.
Enter the teachers who solidified this mentality. Teachers these days, due to NCLB and assessments based solely on scores and overall grade averages, are unfortunately no longer society’s saving grace. From fear of looking bad on paper, or worse, losing one’s job, teachers are cutting breaks to students wherever possible, and accepting the same subpar behavior. As an instructional assistant, I’ve unfortunately had the experience of witnessing these atrocities firsthand. I’ve seen a classroom full of aloof students perform exceptionally bad on a test, in which the teacher allows them to immediately retake it, with notes, for full credit. If a class doesn’t pay attention to an assignment and only half of them fulfill the requirements, the teacher lets them redo their work, again for full credit. And if the majority of the students neglect to read their assigned chapters, the teacher foregoes the scheduled quiz.
In addition to these destructive acts of enablement, and in the midst of the perpetual decay, are the students who are getting away with playing the victim. They have triumphantly knocked the standards down so low that teachers are now content with receiving the bare minimum. Regardless of integrity, if a student simply completes an assignment, many teachers will give an appeased sigh of relief, and the student will know no different. As a result of failed efforts on both parts, the students will never experience their full potential. They will never know the great work that they are capable of producing. They will perennially stop short of a respectable product, and they most certainly will carry these traits and habits with them into the other facets of their lives. These low standards will infiltrate their place of work, their family life, and then these same underwhelming individuals will feebly rely on these standards during parenthood- continuing the epidemic onto the future generation, making the decay virtually irreparable.