Grade inflation at America’s colleges and universities has been a hot-button issue for at least the last two decades, but in more recent years the problem has spread to America’s preschools as well. According to a recent study, the amount of good behavior required to earn one Smiley Face sticker in the average American preschool has fallen by 25% over the last ten years, while the effort required to earn one ‘Nice Job!!’ has fallen by more than 40%. More troubling still, Helper Stars now are regularly awarded to America’s preschoolers for behavior that was once taken for granted, such as sharing, saying ‘please,’ and even napping.
Contacted for this article, Thomas Friedman, New York Times columnist, author of the best-selling book, The World is Flat, and all-around expert on just about everything, commented, “Will these American kids be in for a rude awakening when they enter the new, globalized, interconnected, borderless economy? I think so. In other words, it seems likely. Once they’re out in the real world, will these kids be rewarded with a Helper Star or a Smiley Face sticker every time they set up a new supply chain network? I don’t think so. In other words, it seems unlikely. Do you think the kids in China and India are getting any stickers in preschool? No siree. All their stickers are exported to the US, and their notion of preschool is two years of working in a bauxite mine.” Friedman concluded, “Have I mentioned that the world is flat?”