Passion for Poverty

Getting started on tab hawgin’ early. Looking at articles that I pushed into a clipping cleint some time ago but haven’t finished digesting or gone snarky with.

This blot is about an education analysis article [Link] entitled “Why the most successful students have no passion for school.” The study was performed evidently – in New South Wales, so the nature of the schooling is likely different from that in the Yankee republic. Especially from how it is done in the Old Confederacy. And very different from Nawth Alibam’s Shining City on the Hill in the ’50’s and ’60’s when I attended public schule.

The study claims that the best students have no passion for schule. That seems evident from the title but it seems also that the title is rot. 

It seems that the determination of “best” is based on grades. That’s not a bad metric but it is low hanging and incomplete. And the determination of passion is based on the answer to a multiple guess question:

    (a) school has done little to prepare me for adult life when I leave school

    (b) school has been a waste of time

    (c) school helped give me confidence to make decisions

    (d) school has taught me things that could be useful in a job

asked to 15 year old adolescents. It’s this question that precipitated my cogitation on this article.

I have to admit that age 15 is shrouded a bit in a whole lot of years and experiences and thoughts. That age approximately corresponds to when I entered high scule as a sophomore. 

It’s also when I pretty well registered dissatisfaction and disappointment with high schule. Because of the same information rationing that I had hated in previous grades. But what is most troubling is my assessment of how I would have answered this question. 

When I was in high schule, I was there because it was necessary. Most of that necessity was the role defined by my parents and society and a little bit was an awakening anticipation of college. But none of that had anything to do with being adult. That wasn’t anything overtly talked about in those days. 

There was a thread of schule being a waste of time but that primarily came from people who did poorly on grades and learning and wanted to be on their own. And those people didn’t like Intros so their outlook was alien.

Schule wasn’t about confidence. I don’t ever recall hearing that word in schule or from my parents. And jobs weren’t mentioned. Except for the disabled kids. Who were untouchables. 

So I am unsure how I would have answered the question. I know I wouldn’t have left it unanswered because we were lectured before every multiple guess test to guess if we didn’t know. Don’t leave any blanks. That was hammered into us. 


The article reports that the passion-best correlation was “almost zero.” This is a lot worse than random choice. Why? I know from reading that kids today are indoctrinated to be job and career oriented – and not care about learning. So based on kids aping and amplifying their parents’ prejudices and gripes, I can see where (A) might get short shrift. 

I did fairly well in schule. My parents expected – demanded? – good grades and I got good grades until I got accepted into college. My last semester in high schule was a complete disregard of playing nice.

The reason for this is that if you got good grades you got more opportunities to learn than if you blew off. Not much admittedly, although my library trips were conditional on grades, but little is better than none. And the high schule textbooks did good to last me a month before they were sucked dry. Although I do have to admit that boring subjects didn’t get sucked as dry.  But once I got a motorcar the library standard retreated and once I got admitted to college, knowing I couldn’t not graduate shy of criminal activity, I quit overachieving on the tests. 

So the passion for schule was really a passion for learning and giving the facade of liking schule was a way to more learning. 

So I have to wonder just how close to reality this study ever came?