A ‘Second’ Report Card, Just for Kids’ Feelings

Will the coddling never stop? New York school offers better grades if the first set is too upsetting.

Examples of parents, teachers and other mentors who bend over backward to pump up children’s self-esteem — and cheat them of blunt, important truths — run rampant.

Coaches regularly hand out trophies to all players just for participating. Several schools across the nation have stopped publishing honor rolls in the local newspaper for the whole community to see, so that kids who do not achieve honor roll don’t feel badly for being “left out.”

Now, a mind-blowing new case of “Kids, don’t ever feel bad, ever” has surfaced. A school in New York has offered to produce a second report card for a child if the first one isn’t “acceptable” to parents or students.

It’s happening. It’s really happening.

A father in New York received a letter accompanying his son’s report card this month from his Jewish school, Yeshiva Ketana in Long Island, New York, which teaches students in nursery school through eighth grade. The letter to parents clearly stated:

“This report card is an opportunity to praise your son for his areas of strength, encourage him to keep up his fine efforts and improve any areas of weakness … Since our goal is to share accurate information with the parents, and not to discourage or hurt a student, great discretion must be used before allowing your child to view his report card.

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“Certainly, report cards should not be seen by students without parental permission and guidance,” the letter continued. “If after reviewing the enclosed report card, you would like us to develop a second version of the report card, with higher grades, please call …”

The letter then told parents which administrator to contact.

It defies logic and proper educational values that a second report card would be offered by a school or teacher to raise a child’s self esteem if the first report card, the actual one, somehow didn’t contain fabulous news.

“I always reviewed my report card alone. I would be obsessively checking the mail around report card time,” one 26-year-old Boston man told LifeZette of his school days. “My hands would be shaking. And although I would have loved a second report card, that is so ludicrous and it wouldn’t have served me well, in the end.”

LifeZette reached out to the Long Island school for comment, but as of publication time had not heard back.

“Really! Wow,” said Mary Hart of Reading, Massachusetts, after hearing about the report-card offer. “I honestly get kids needing to feel worthwhile. However, are we preparing them for the real world? I had a child with learning issues in school. So report card time was not always, let’s say, ‘joyful.’ I had to do a lot of self-esteem building there. But has the real world now become a place where even if you are really not as good as someone who is, you are given the same notice just so you can feel good?”

Hart added, “Work harder!”

Here are some other examples of child-coddling as collected by Growing Leaders, a nonprofit organization dedicated to developing the leaders of tomorrow:

  • A college freshman received a C- on a project and called her mother, right in the middle of class. She handed the cellphone to her professor and said, “She wants to talk to you.” Mom wanted to negotiate the grade.
  • A college president said the mother of one of his students called him, saying she’d seen the weather would be cold that day, and asked if he would make sure her son was wearing his sweater. She wasn’t joking.
  • A Harvard admissions counselor reported that a prospective student looked him in the eye and answered every question he was asked during an interview. But the counselor also noticed the kid tended to look down quite a bit. Later, the counselor learned the boy’s mom had been texting him the answers every time a question came in.

If we don’t get a handle on what is really good for our kids — discipline, honesty, accountability, integrity — we will have only ourselves to blame when a coddled generation fails to make it on their own.

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