The Incredibles- New York Times article

But fans of competition complain that its been de

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exclusive private and surburban schools. But fans of competition complain that it's been de-emphasized for most students. Some schools have dropped honor rolls and class rankings, and the old practice of routinely segregating smart students in separate tracks has given way to the heterogeneous "inclusion classroom." Competition has long been out of fashion at education schools, as indicated in a 1997 survey of 900 of their professors by Public Agenda, a nonprofit public opinion research group. Only a third of the professors considered rewards like honor rolls to be valuable incentives for learning, while nearly two- thirds said schools should avoid competition. To some critics, that cooperative philosophy is one reason that so many boys like Dash are bored at school. "Professors of education think you can improve society by making people less competitive," said Christina Hoff Sommers, author of "The War Against Boys" and a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. "But males are wired for competition, and if you take it away there's little to interest them in school." In his new book, "Hard America, Soft America," Michael Barone puts schools in the soft category and warns that they leave young adults unprepared for the hard world awaiting them in the workplace. "The education establishment has been too concerned with fostering kids' self-esteem instead of teaching them to learn and compete," he said. The No Child Left Behind Act was an attempt to put more rigor into the system by punishing schools whose students don't pass standardized tests, but it has had unintended consequences for high achievers. Administrators have been cutting funds for gifted-student programs and concentrating money and attention on the failing students. "In practice, No Child Left Behind has meant No Child Gets Ahead for gifted students," said Joyce Clark, a planner in the Pittsburgh public schools' gifted program. "There's no incentive to worry about them because they can pass the tests."
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