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ERIC Number: EJ910557
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 8
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-1539-9664
Competition Makes a Comeback: Academic Bees and Bowls Attract Top Students
Kronholz, June
Education Next, v10 n3 p12-19 Sum 2010
Americans thrive on competition. But American schools have been suspicious of competition for generations, and are generally horrified by the idea that success should be accompanied by a reward like a title, a trophy, or a cash prize. In this article, the author stresses that the self-esteem movement in the 1990s made many educators squeamish about competition. The squeamishness about competition reached its extreme with the self-esteem movement of the 1990s, when researchers decided that low-performing kids would do better in school if they just felt better about themselves. However, self-esteem does not help with learning; high self-esteem goes with high test scores, not the other way around. It's hard to trace the arc of the pendulum swing, but the author suggests that the standards movement--which led to state tests and from there to No Child Left Behind--seems one place to start. The Bush administration education law defines and punishes failure, and there are no extra points for a cocky walk. For superachievers, bees and bowls are just one more academic challenge, one more way to test themselves. Many students talk of the thrill, and benefits, of competition, and described these bowls and bees as a happy experience that broadened their knowledge rather than narrowed it.
Hoover Institution. Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305-6010. Tel: 800-935-2882; Fax: 650-723-8626; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Grade 8; Middle Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: No Child Left Behind Act 2001