Letter: Cooperative grouping hurts education by Karen Schroeder
Many teaching methods implemented in American classrooms discourage academic success. Cooperative grouping of students is a destructive example because it teaches children to surrender individual educational goals and support collectivism. Sixty years of failure have not deterred college professors from encouraging teachers to use cooperative grouping in classrooms. The educational goals of those college professors are not academic. Their goals are political.
Cooperative grouping requires the teacher to organize students into small groups each representing a microcosm of society by including a student from every socio-economic group and every ability group. The teacher provides a task for each group to complete. Students will receive a group grade because the success of each student is the responsibility of the group.
This method requires children who enjoy academics to relinquish personal educational goals and encourage, motivate, and educate less academically talented students. Students with high potential learn to devalue their skill and replace it with community service. When top students are not encouraged to develop their true potential, personal expectations of all students drop.
Cooperative grouping teaches children with little interest in academics that their success is dependent upon the level and quality of sacrifice made by more academically capable students. It promotes fear of failure rather than recognition of failure as a part of any learning process. No longer are children taught that success means overcoming challenges and developing skills to deal with failures. Instead, failure seems to occur because a fellow citizen does too little to bring success to others. That fellow citizen becomes anyone who accomplishes more than others. Political and social implications are obvious.
We now have a society that accepts pitting one group of citizens against another in the name of “social reciprocity” or equity. American children are being taught that some have the right to take from others.
Cooperative grouping of children demonstrates what history has repeatedly proven: collectivism is a policy of destruction. The method discourages creativity, ambition, productivity, independence, and happiness. Politically, anyone who does reach his potential is seen as a power-hungry oppressor who must be taxed into dependence, his creativity regulated into subservience, and his individuality forced into conformity.
Those who shape American culture and define the political values of a society are more influential than any elected official for their efforts cannot be easily reversed. Parents must exercise their right to define the academic and behavioral standards of their school districts.
Karen Schroeder, Rice Lake
President, Advocates for Academic Freedom