Finally, Grads Get Good Advice: 'You Are Not Special'
Editorial: Self-esteem movement takes a needed knock in speech
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Jun 12, 2012 12:11 PM CDT
Loading... Please wait

(Newser) – An English teacher in Massachusetts gave the commencement speech to a local high school and delivered a rarely heard message in such settings: "You are not special," David McCullough Jr. told students in Wellesely. "You are not exceptional." The students applauded, as do the editors at the Los Angeles Times today, in honor of McCullough's "bald honesty and overdue dose of reality."

The self-esteem movement that swept schools nationwide about 20 years ago—think inflated grades and seventh-place ribbons—has done an awful job preparing kids for the real world, say the editors. Luckily for the students in Wellesley, they had McCullough to tell them that "what will make them exceptional—or not—are their actions, not their beliefs about themselves." So when they run into that first hurdle in college, maybe they'll find a way around it themselves instead of whining to mom. "If so, they'll have learned something worthwhile on commencement day." Read a transcript of the speech here.

View 1 image
More From Newser
My Take on This Story
To report an error on this story,
notify our editors.
Finally, Grads Get Good Advice: 'You Are Not Special' is...
6%
1%
1%
0%
91%
1%
Show results without voting
You Might Like
Comments
Showing 3 of 20 comments
BCWills
Jun 13, 2012 12:40 AM CDT
O no, kids today! This generation will ruin America! In my day! My daughter got a tongue ring! I didn't act like that when I was young! All bs that gets recycled every generation. We LOVE to think that the next generation is some how different and worse then our own. The kids of this ''self-esteem'' movement (where is there any evidence for this in the article?) will write similar articles when they turn 40.
Twiny
Jun 12, 2012 8:37 PM CDT
These kids were the ones who went to school during the grand Self Esteem experiment in our schools. You're all winners, they were told. There are no losers, said their teachers. You showed up and just drooled on your test paper? That's ok! Here, have a trophy! You know what the scary part is? These idiots will be running things in a few years, and we're gonna let 'em vote...
$4565535
Jun 12, 2012 2:00 PM CDT
God doesn't care about you. Care about yourself. My highschool classmates who believe God will take care of them... they are all earning minimum wage and dropped out of school.