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Are Disruptive Students Diamonds in the Rough?

By Walt Gardner — May 05, 2017 1 min read

I’m always open to fresh ideas about controversial issues in education. But I must confess that viewing persistently disruptive students as potentially great assets to society is too much of a stretch (“The Case for the Rebel,” The Atlantic, May 3). I say that knowing full well about Albert Einstein’s school record.

The argument made for Einstein and for other lesser known rebels is that what got them into trouble in school is precisely what got them to the top out of school. I don’t doubt that original thinkers often possess qualities that are incompatible with rules and regulations. But their latter success is an anomaly. It’s a little like pointing to Bill Gates as an example of why dropping out of college is no big deal. The fact is that these luminaries are outliers.

I’m not saying that teachers shouldn’t try to understand why some students are disruptive. But it’s quite another story to maintain that these students are the future of the nature because they are orginal thinkers. In some cases, they’re also future felons.

The opinions expressed in Walt Gardner’s Reality Check are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.