Red Marks Frighten Students – Purple Suggested

Maybe I’m just a snotty National Merit Finalist but I think this is stupid:

If you see a whole paper of red, it looks pretty frightening. Purple stands out, but it doesn’t look as scary as red.

WHAT?! Are you kidding me? Making a mistake is frightening children? A red mark on a paper is not supposed to make you feel comfortable it’s supposed to call out that you messed up, or mis-spelled. Now putting comments in one color and error in another I can get behind. But this is just nuts. In the United States, we are more concerned with kids feeling good about themselves, regardless of their achievements. Esteem is built through achievement and accomplishment – and through learning how to fail gracefully and try again.

I used to seethe at criticism. I hated that I could be wrong or make mistakes or mis-spell. I’m much better now – I swear!

That’s like when they call welfare programs entitlements… I’m totally behind social programs but to sanitize it with the word entitlement – which connotes that they deserve something simply because they’re down and out – instead of to assist them in getting up and out – is just a semantic nuttiness.

Non-American friends have commented on this before – the idea that you can always get another chance in the United States. That mediocrity is rewarded. In other countries kids kill eachother to get an education.

Related story:

Two Benedict College science professors have been fired after they refused to assign grades that rewarded students

6 thoughts on “Red Marks Frighten Students – Purple Suggested

  1. RcktMan Rick

    You know, I’m as much of a bleeding heart liberal as the next gay.. er.. guy. But this is ridiculous. How can anyone get along in life without criticism? These kids are going to be a pain in the ass when they grow up. The real world isn’t purple. It’s RED, baby… ALL RED.

  2. Jonny

    Agreed, entirely. Early American immigrants distrusted education because they equated education with power; and being a culture that inherently distrusts power, comments like this make me believe we as a culture have yet to escape this cycle of self-inflicted stupidity.

  3. Danny O'Bryan

    American loves evaluation look at the Olympics.Evaluation is that 9 for 10 freethrows.Should we lower the basket?Look at the book THE BELL CRUVE…./ When a kid signs up for a team sport the get to play ,a shirt and a trophy….we are living in a Bell Cruve world.On 60 min tonight it exposed the Huston School System….No red pencils.I can not tell you the time Child Protective Service was called on me while a teacher i the class room because I demanded the students work and try to process at learning….it’ not helping the kids selfesteem….

  4. JC

    I think the intention behind the elimination of the red pen is good, but the way it is carried out is not beneficial. It is trying to give constructive feedback in a manner that is not seen as being critical or unproductive. The red pen has been associated with just saying something is “wrong.” Now granted it is extreme to ban all red pencils or red markings, but it could also be seen as a way to give better responses to student’s work. Regarding the grading for effort, again I think there needs to be some balance between just giving people grades for trying and not rewarding mastery of the subject.

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