Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Making after-school clubs non-competitive

I learned at today's meeting that our principal feels that all after-school clubs should be non-competitive, in the sense that they shouldn't select students based on test scores. (Tryouts for the school musical seem to be another matter).

Rather, all clubs should select students on a first-come, first-served basis (except for the school musical).

While this spares students the very real pain of rejection (except when they try out for the school musical), it has what I believe is an unintended consequence. Like so many well-meaning measures intended to level the playing field, it replaces meritocracy with something far worse: namely, insidocracy.

In the case of after-school clubs, this means that children with the best-connected, best-informed, most organized and on-top-of-it parents will get in.

In the name of not widening the achievement gap between the most capable and everyone else, our school thus further widens the achievement gap between those with certain types of parents and those without.


lgm said...

Sounds familiar. Our ms won't tell the parents what is available, on the pretense that funding has not been committed. The students that are in a room with a speaker will hear one announcement as to an activity start date, and have no clue on the time committment, duration, or transportation arrangements. So...we get activities filled with (no surprise) teacher's kids and their friends. I really have to wonder they are so desperate to keep out others.

Mrs. C said...

lgm, I've been wondering why things appear so disorganized at our sons' school! I had no idea it is probably intentional. Wow.