One of my favourite commentators is back on his hobby horse again this morning. I am referring to Dr Kevin Donnelly’s piece Give academic excellence in state schools a sporting chance in The Age this morning.
Dr Donnelly opines that
“Competition and excellence in sport is acceptable; unfortunately, the same incentive for academically able students is sadly lacking [in Victoria].”
One of the consistent fallacies in Donelly’s diatribes is the equation of competition and excellence. (He also likes to measure excellence on a single measure – graded assessment – and deny the opportunity for excellence to all but a small percentage of students who fit the academic mould.)
Rather than promoting absolute excellence, competition in academic endeavour almost always discourages it.