Thursday, April 12, 2007


In western North Carolina is a college with a problem. It is the same problem experienced by several other colleges and universities but this college came up with a new innovative solution. There was no problem recruiting minority students. Black, Hispanics even Filipinos enroll in the school regularly. The problem was most of these minority students did not seem to graduate. What is the use of having a special program to help minorities get an education and break the chains of poverty, if no one graduates?

In some schools they take the easy solution. They simply reduce the standards and let less qualified minorities graduate. Beyond the fact this cheats the students, it is also a slap in the face of every minority graduate who actually worked hard to earn his degree. Lowering the standards does not help anymore. So what can we do?

The answer is “expectations”. If the teacher does not believe the student can perform, the student will not perform. If the student believes they can not perform, they will not perform. The North Carolina college put the minority students into special classes. These classes had HIGHER standards. The minority students had to work harder to get a good grade. Many expected massive failures and increased dropped out rates. You guessed it; fewer students failed or dropped out. These minority students began getting better grades than the regular students. They met the challenge and won. Minority students now graduate in significant numbers.

I have taught at schools around the world. Filipino students have more innate talent and intellect than I found in most countries. The biggest problem here is most students lack self confidence. I blame the recent nursing scandal not on their ability to pass the test but on the fact those students did not believe in themselves. The first step to any success is to believe in yourself. If you do not believe in you, no one else will believe in you either. The second step is perseverance. If you fail ; do not quit. Each failure is a lesson in life. John F. Kennedy Jr. took the bar exam nine times before he passed and became a lawyer. I was rejected three times before I was allowed to go to Officer Candidate School. I graduated in the top of my class. Failure is not the shame, giving up is the shame.

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