ERIC Number: ED402105
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1996-Nov
The Self-Esteem Fraud: Why Feel-Good Education Does Not Lead to Academic Success. CEO Policy Brief.
Shokraii, Nina H.
Which comes first: achievement or self-esteem? This question is at the heart of an important educational controversy. Traditionally, public schools thought that students' satisfaction followed on the heels of academic success. In other words, children who performed well in class consequently felt good about themselves. But more recent educational theories have reversed this logic. They say that students must secure high self-esteem before they can hope to achieve. For all of its current popularity, however, self-esteem theory threatens to deny children the tools they need to experience true success in school and as adults. Much research provides empirical proof that achievement precedes self-esteem, and that there is almost no link between low self-esteem and any number of social pathologies, including poor school performance, drug abuse, and teenage pregnancy. Black children are common targets of self-esteem theory, but they are also some of the most vulnerable, because many of them desperately require the same basic academic skills that self-esteem theory subordinates to a "feel-good" classroom experience. Schools must abandon the pursuit of empty self-esteem and return to traditional academic preparation. (Contains 34 references.) (Author/EV)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Center for Equal Opportunity, Washington, DC.