Monday, January 11, 2010

OK, enough about turkeys. Let’s talk about heroes.

How about Angel Batista, whom I wrote about recently (  Here are his comments on the email I sent out about the "Lazy American Students" article (


If you don't mind, here are a few thoughts that I had as I read the email. Around the beginning, I said to myself, "Wow, someone else noticed." At my school, a friend of mine and I were talking about the exact same thing you brought to light. It seems that the most ambitious kids were the ones coming from foreign countries (like the Dominican Republic, Ghana, Egypt, Nigeria, etc.). I came to a similar conclusion that Kara Miller came to, and that was that American students were just lazy. At my school, I've also noticed something you wrote about: that many students (especially those whose parents, and their parents' parents, have been living in the United States) are so into video games that they fail to give any interest to their school work. It honestly disgusts me. I've tried to get some of them to dedicate the least bit of time to their school work, and for a moment it almost seems as if I was successful, but then they just go back to their old ways (playing video games, failing classes). I think it has something to do with all of the negativity that they are surrounded with. They all come from backgrounds where failure, though claimed to not be an option, ends up being the most favored one.

Here's another story that supports Kate Miller: last summer I took classes at Cornell University. Before I attended these classes, I wasn't sure what to expect, but I was at the very least expecting to have a nice environment where students were eager to gain as much knowledge as possible. My expectations were let down. The largest class I took consisted of about 75 students, about 30 who were pre-freshman at Cornell taking a minority enrichment program before starting college and the rest were regular high school seniors taking a college-level summer class.  In this setting, it seemed that the "American kids" (not including the pre-freshman, the minorities like me who have strived for success) were the ones goofing off (texting, talking, etc.). I really didn't expect this. I would have assumed that after paying about $10,000 (an awesome program that I'm in, Summer Search, covered the cost for me) to take classes, one would at least be respectful to the class that was underway. However, a lot of them seemed to just want to live the college life glamorized by American culture.

It amazes me that Miller got negative criticisms; it makes me feel as if people are still unwilling to accept this social truth, and are scared of deviating from what has become the status quo.

Hopefully with the continuous efforts of people like you, true reform will come to education.

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