Response Essay In reading the three articles, “From Degrading to De-Grading” by Alfie Kohn, “And Now He is Nothing” by Michael Specter and “Dilma Rousseff” by Simon Romero my impressions of each article varies from one of unbelief to affirmation. As compelling as the ideology of not grading is, the practicality of implementation would be enormous. The assumption that Lance Armstrong is now nothing can it really be so easily dismissed? Finally, Dilma Rousseff rise to power as a right of previous wrongs remains to be seen; each writer conveying a very persuasive argument.
I embrace Alfie Kohn’s ideology that by grading a student’s work one actually hinders the process of learning. Having three school-aged children myself, I see the effect grades have on their mindset. If they do not achieve an “A” they feel less than their peers. I also have seen instances where they will pick the easiest assignment or not bother to complete extra credit assignments for grading. Therefore, in this regard I do agree that grading does play a factor in their learning experience.
However, the practicality of overcoming the mindset of a nation of people is a daunting task that may very well take years to persuade. As much as I may agree with Mr. Kohn’s ideology, I do not see this becoming mainstreamed within the educational system any time in the near future. His ideology would have to be fully embraced by the educational system for steps of improvement in grading students to take hold. This may very well take a grass roots effort from the parents and citizens themselves before ideology could be changed, which would take much time in educating the public on this subject.
As much as I personally would love to see this type of learning be prevalent within our educational system I do not see it happening in my lifetime. One can only hope. Such as the case with Lance Armstrong, our hopes in him as a nation were dashed with the admission of doping. As with many of our athletes, it is always a disappointment when news of their achievement is eroded by one form of cheating or another. His achievements are outstanding and his passion and dedication for bicycling is inspiring, especially having overcome the dread of cancer.
We are always looking to others to motivate us, or inspire us to do more than we think we are capable of doing, which is what makes his admission so painful. I agree that I was shocked by the news, but is the punishment truly warranted; to remove all seven of his Tour de France victories? I don’t believe it is warranted, neither can it be proven as he had been tested numerous times over the years and never tested positive. An admission alone is not proof enough and should not warrant such an ardent punishment. Although I agree with the writer’s disappointment I do not agree with striping him of all his wins.
People are not always what you think they are. As with Dilma Rousseff, the darling of the Brazilian government, her rags to riches story is compelling. While I applaud Ms. Rousseff’s accomplishments, it remains to be seen if she in fact will be the savior of her country or the start of its demise. Her ideology that government can fix all the economic problems by stimulating the economy with stimulus packages in my opinion is just a temporary fix. Just as we have seen in our own country with the bank bailouts and the loans to the automotive corporations has only delayed the effects of a slumped economy.
The promise that better days are ahead remains exactly that, somewhere over the horizon. Do I feel that it is wrong for the government to stimulate the economy, no, but neither do I believe that the government is our savior. This world’s economy is such a delicate balancing act that anything outside of your own four walls can ultimately be your downfall. Each article evokes a different response from the wish of a complete overhaul of our educational system, to our hopes dashed by choices made by one of our star athletes, to skepticism of big brother being our fix all.
As much as I agree with the ideology of De-Grading the implementation would be difficult at best. Armstrong’s rise to fame and demise is one that will be remembered for years by those for and against the ruling levied against him. Finally, everyone loves the underdog such as the case with Ms. Rousseff but it remains to be seen if her ideology of government intervention is truly the best approach for Brazil’s economic future. In conclusion, I would more than likely read more articles written by these writers because of their ability to persuade and keep the attention of the reader.