Buck, the East High history teacher, sees slackers at East. "Some boys most prone to quit are the gifted boys. They don't want to appear like they are trying. It's not cool to try.
"I gave a test with multiple choice, and an essay question," he said. "One of the boys finished the multiple choice, and said, 'Let's see how I did.'
"So I graded it. He got eight out of ten right.
"So then he said, 'That's good. Will I pass if I just blow off doing the essay question?' "'You'll pass,' " I told him. "'With, like, a 61 percent.' "
"'Then let's leave it at that,' " he said.
"'You sure?' " I asked him. "'Sixty-one isn't very good.' "
"'No,' " he said. "I'm cool."
Alarmist, most likely, but after reading the Bronson article and being pointed in some relevant directions, I can see there is a connection between the culture of self-esteem and inability to pursue the messier side of learning.