Lee  Culpepper

Regrettably, our nation’s public school system fails to foster this competitive mentality in students. Political correctness tries to eliminate classroom competition all together. We always hear about level playing fields, self-esteem, and other nonsense when it comes to education. But is there really such a thing as a level playing field? How is it possible to level a playing field without taking away from someone else? And how does robbing someone else help that person’s self-esteem?

Competition hinges on preparation and mentoring – not excuses. It pushes us to better ourselves while compelling those who wish to compete with us to improve, as well. We have to learn to adapt to and overcome our environments. Competition requires one to improvise because things don’t always go as planned. On the other hand, public education does none of this; its administrators simply ask for more money and eliminate competition to solve all their problems.

Furthermore, how can students learn to compete when their tenured teaches avoid competing with one another? When teachers don’t compete against each other, their students have less hope to develop the edge in life. Teachers need to compete, too, because complacency awaits anyone who lacks an incentive to improve. With grueling preparation, stiff competition, and the esteemed approval of competent mentors, the public’s confidence in our education system might be restored.

Unfortunately, public education approaches the preparation of students by rallying behind politically correct drivel like “leveling the playing field,” “making life fair,” or “needing more money.” These are unhealthy answers that only encourage whiners and excuse makers to continue complaining and waiting for others to solve problems they could solve themselves.

In the utopian fantasy of political correctness, we would all have mediocre lives in an egalitarian society. However, in the real world, we all have weaknesses that we need to confront, not bury. The way to compete against those “with unfair advantages” (natural talent) is to outwork them and never to submit to self-pity.

I imagine most parents desire more than a mediocre life for their children. I also believe most teachers want more than a mediocre life for their students. As a result, we had better reconsider the way education views competition -- because when no one is permitted to be better than anyone else, there is no hope for improvement.


Lee Culpepper

Lee Culpepper is a recovering high school English teacher and former Marine. He currently teaches firearm courses and has resumed his passion for writing.