Op-Ed: I pushed my kids to succeed academically to escape racism. But it doesn’t work that way.
When we were preparing to send my oldest for college, I knew he was likely to be more academically challenged than many students at his high school were, and I thought he shouldn’t feel limited by his classmates.
I didn’t know his classes would be the same as his peers’ when he went to a private university. I had no idea his grade point average would be in the teens, or that on a test he would get a C.
But I was relieved when he graduated from high school and went on to college, where he thrived academically.
After I put him through college, I heard people say, “Oh, if my child is like your child, what chance does your child have?”
I knew the answer then. If your child’s grades are up to par, you can’t help but hope your child will thrive. But if your kid is the same as all the rest of the kids, you could let down your guard and think the education you provide isn’t being used to give your child an advantage.
That’s what I was thinking when I read an article recently in the Washington Post that I thought needed an update. The writer says that in order to succeed academically, students have to work harder and do more. I believe she is right.
Her assertion is that we have to “push harder” to help our kids succeed, and that will work for some kids and some schools, but not all.
The problem is that the article does not tell the whole story. She notes that many college students are “lazy,” and yet many others “work harder to get ahead” of their peers. She then asserts that people who go to a public university are not “better off” than those at a selective private school because they don’t do the same amount of work.
She also says that it’s not always the college students who are lazy, which is true. But if I was going to be lazy, I would quit doing something I enjoy doing. I would quit going to the gym and working out. I would quit getting my teeth cleaned and flossing.
I am fortunate to have work in the field of education, but I don’t mind working hard when it’s my job to keep my child’s grades at a certain level. That’s