Posted by: mrlock | June 23, 2008

Standard of education in the USA…

So I was at a very enjoyable wedding in Brussels this weekend, and I spent a small amount of time on two occasions chatting about my job, and I talked about SEAL in secondary schools.

As a result I started to reference Carol Craig, who I saw speak at the Happiness conference I went to in Belfast a few weeks ago. She said that the “self-esteem” movement was largely responsible for the disgraceful state of education in America. That as a result America has young people who expect to be praise for little achievement, and that the real achievements that involve overcoming adversity are largely redundant.

Carol Craig has written a long paper criticising SEAL and wonders if we might do the same. I suppose a key question I’d like to know is whether American education really does represent the pits of Western civilisation, or was that just her being polemical. I suppose I should do more reading/ research!

Meanwhile, I’m going to a conference that launches SEAL in my authority this Thursday – I suppose it would do no harm to read Carol Craig’s paper in advance of that – but I can’t find it online!



  1. i’d be interested to know what type of SEAL stuff you having going on in school? i agree that there is a danger of praising young people for not really doing much and that when they fail, or should i say when they find something challenging beyond their ability at this time to succeed at they fall apart. so it’s all about the balance. we need to find ways to encourage but at the same time being fair and realistic, which is what i find hardest, some of the young people i work with have an unreal reality of the world and when they head out there they will find it hard to cope, as their bosses will not be giving them the praise they are used to……


  2. I would submit that self-esteem is enhanced by the successful accomplishment of difficult tasks. Social promotion of students who neglect to put forth sufficient effort in the learning process is detrimental to the well being of these students and society in general. The potential, challenges, and obstacles that currently litter the public education landscape are discussed in the novel, The Twilight’s Last Gleaming On Public Education, a portion of which may be viewed online by contacting the publisher at, clicking on their Bookstore link, then Searching by title. The author constructs a intriguing, socially relevant, and enlightening story, which possesse many of the elements commonly found in school systems throughout the United States. Navigating the plot to a well-conceived and logical conclusion, the author strives to leave the reader with a sense of time well invested in the reading of this book. Check it out for yourself. The author solicits comments from readers for consideration in future editions of the continuing story. Many of your expressed concerns are addressed.


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