Elementary creeds give way to issues of entitlement and stress

One of the EPS that implemented Great Expectations and the creed was Washington Irving Elementary.

One of the EPS that implemented Great Expectations and the creed was Washington Irving Elementary.

Ainsley Martinez, North Marketing Editor

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I AM A WINNER! I was born to be a winner, and I will not allow myself to think of failure. I know my capabilities, and I will not give society a reason to label me anything but “The Best”. I shall not be caught sitting on the sidelines of life wishing I had done something different. I will live each day to the fullest and become a Literate Lifter of the world. For those of you who choose to fail this is your right, but you do not have the right to take others or me with you. Be prepared to accept the consequences of failure, as I am preparing myself for the consequences of success. My education will be a lifelong endeavor. I will not be hesitant to stand up for my convictions. Courageously, I shall make the choice to accept the challenges before me rather than forever let others make my decisions. THIS IS MY TIME AND MY PLACE!”

 

Edmond Public Schools implemented the Great Expectations program decades ago in an effort to reform public education. The professional development program included the motivational creed (seen above) in its curriculum which was taught to all students PreK-5th. As a former Washington Irving student the creed almost lingers in my bloodstream. It has been about six years since I have been in elementary school, yet the words of “I am a Winner” are still ingrained in my memories. As a child I knew the gist of the meaning: nothing will stand in my way, and I am the best. But is this the truth?

The most critical issue with this creed is the negative affect it can have on elementary students; the two paths students travel down being one of ignorance or one of self-doubt. Privileged Edmond students telling themselves that no one can tell them they are not “The Best,” and that those who don’t have high accomplishments like do are deemed a failure, presents a warped view of the world and success. The creed reads as if success is merely based on a person’s actions and knowledge, but in reality hardwork is a small factor in a pool filled with obstacles. The fact that the students reciting this go to a relatively wealthy school district in a safe suburb already gives them an advantage compared to other children in Oklahoma. As many know, all public school quality is based on the income of the districts, so presenting an expectation to children that everyone is on an equal playing field is not protecting innocent ideals, it’s just blatantly not true.

These entitled mindset are not the only issue. There’s a reason why students are force fed AP classes and why even if they were not they’d still take as many as they can: academic pressure. Students from Edmond live in this bubble of expectation that they have to be “successful” in order to be something. It’s on the walls at North “Through these halls walk the finest students.” It’s in the word “success,” which is spouted out with no explanation as to what “success” looks like. It’s in “I am a Winner.” There is a lot of pressure from parents, students themselves, etc., but the attitudes instilled into students by EPS can also contribute to this stress. 

 If children were taught that everyone has different opportunities and struggles in life it would curate an environment of compassion, which would potentially give students a new appreciation for their education. Telling students how the American system really works, and not preserving this American Dream bubble, will not deviate their success. Nevertheless, there are many definitions of success and the idea that there is this imaginary list of things you have to do in order to be successful creates unnecessary stress. The definition of success is not a high paying job with a college degree. So why should we include this in our curriculum?

 

For comments or concerns contact Ainsley Martinez at [email protected]