I am not a sensitive person.

Let me elaborate. I can relate to people. I love relating to people. It’s amazing to see what goes on in people’s lives through their ups and downs. However, there is something that bothers me about many public schools throughout Maryland. This is the 50.1 percent rule. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this rule, it’s the cushion that many public schools give to students who fail to complete their work or who put forth little effort. If a student earns a grade below 50.1 percent, the grade is automatically raised to that minimum.

This is a terrible idea, and it scares me to think that soon there will be students who don’t understand that minimal effort leads to failure. I come from a family that has always placed the utmost emphasis on education. Education, as I learned when I was young, is a way to rise above those who rely on influence or power to climb the socioeconomic ladder. Education has always been an equalizer that would allow me to make a living as well as any of my future dependents. I was taught that if I worked diligently, my efforts would be rewarded, and for the most part this was true. When I was in middle school, and even in my first year of high school, the grades that students earned were based on effort alone, and we had no cushion to break our falls if we performed poorly.

This cushion that is present nowadays has come to impede the way that people study. It seems that high school teachers and administrators love giving students anecdotal evidence of the real world, where nothing is easy, and people are expected to achieve success in everything they do. If teachers believe this, then why do they care so much about how sensitive we are to failure? I’m not saying this to demoralize students and turn them off to working hard even when they know they may not score the best. Instead, I’m saying students in schools that use the 50.1 percent method should instead have to face the failure that results from a lack of effort in order to learn how to study and prepare themselves for the real world. Few cushions exist in college, other higher forms of education or in real world jobs, so why should teachers keep their students in an illusion until they graduate high school?

Education is a trial-and-error process that requires students to find a learning method that works for them. Some like flashcards, some like repetition and others learn best from pictures and diagrams. Eliminating the consequences for their errors doesn’t teach students valuable lessons such as the importance of paying attention to detail, and catering too much to their sensitivity teaches them that minimal effort will still be somewhat rewarded.

So no, I am not a sensitive person. Not in these cases. Sympathy has never been my strong suit, and I hope that schools eventually become less sympathetic and less sensitive to students who do not put in the effort that is expected of them. Schools need to realize that meeting students halfway by giving them a grade of 50.1 percent is actually not helping students at all. If students never learn the importance of hard work, the real world will come as a shock to them after they graduate.

Surjo Bandyopadhyay is a sophomore physiology and neurobiology major. He can be reached at surjobandyopadhyay@gmail.com.