Schooling implicitly and explicitly tells people to do certain things. Since the goals while one attends school are largely to earn good grades, finish a certain level, and move on to a more prestigious position (e.g. graduate high school and attend a selective college), it seems to me that once one has finished attending school, it only makes sense for them to try to excel at what they do and move on to bigger and better things. In the workplace, that often means trying to earn more money and a more prestigious title. In that sense, Tiger Woods has accomplished virtually every goal that schooling sets forth. Consider:
-He attended a top-flight university (Stanford)
-He became the best in his field (golf)
-He is a multi-millionaire
-He's not just a golfer, but also a spokesperson, golf course designer and author. Plus he has his own foundation
When you add in the fact that he's married (to a Swedish model, no less) and has two kids, he's pretty much the model of success. Tiger is a model of every skill set needed to excel in school -- and was a model of nearly every skill set needed to succeed in life.
But apparently that wasn't enough. Instead of serving as a role model, Tiger's now just another example in a long line of evidence proving that one can have everything and still not be happy.
And I can't help but wonder: what does schooling teach out kids about such situations? What if a kid earns straight A's, aces that SAT, and earns a scholarship to Harvard? Is he/she necessarily a model student? Have they accomplished every goal the school has set out for them? It's hard to believe that there's a school administrator in the country who wouldn't be thrilled to have such a student.
But at some point in time there need to be more personal and moral goals set forth. At some point we need to acknowledge that it's possible to receive a bad grade, do poorly on a test, or attend a second-tier college and still be a good person and lead a productive life. Because we all know (I hope, anyway) that it's possible to take a low-paying job, pass up a promotion, or marry an average-looking spouse and still be a good person.
I'm not arguing that we shouldn't push kids to do their best, or rid schools of academics to build self-esteem, I'm just wondering what schooling teaches kids about what it means to be successful in life. Because I'm not sure it always send the right messages.