That just doesn't make sense. Praise your kid for doing not for being. Who's advocating teaching smart kids everyone is the same? It seems like any child is going to realize this isn't true.
>is this "praise effort and self esteem" movement responsible for the current wave of anti-free-speech protests on college campuses?
That is a result of the cultural admiration of protesting / fighting for rights / rebelling against X. Admiration of the real civil rights movement, environmentalism, etc.
The problem is that as a society we're running out of clean cut black and white issues (no pun intended) to be opposed to. There are still problems, but not nearly as many _simple_ problems. Things are complicated these days.
So they're straying off into the weeds trying to attack complex social issues with the same strategies that worked against simple ones and coming out looking like fools. And likewise the targets of their protests are straying because complex issues don't have a big bad evil you can hate, and that nuance and detail are being lost.
The once reasonable protesting class are being supplanted by increasingly unreasonable protestors who are rebels searching desperately for a cause.
It seems that has been the general trend in elementary education since I was a kid. As an example, I remember the year that all the talent trophies were changed to be the same size, and everyone got one just for participating. Athletics were an exception, though; it was considered acceptable to be better at sports. It was a noble attempt to try to boost the underprivileged, but just ended up confusing everyone.
This is an interesting explanation for the phenomenon I had not yet considered. I am not yet convinced it is the right or only one, but I will keep it in mind.
They went from "tracked" classes that mixed the 20 year old 9th graders with smart kids. Everyone got to suffer together.
It was honestly probably the best thing that happened to me. It helped me build empathy and grounded me to accepting that intelligence is only one piece of the puzzle. I'm now working in a position that gives me huge intellectual freedom.
There is a silver lining.
In my specific case, it was a poor rural district with four 20-25 student sections. Mixing up the barely literate and disruptive kids made things harder. In my senior year my project partner in Civics was a fellow senior who basically couldn't write.
The only escape was AP classes -- but we only had AP English, US History and Calc.
As part of "raising standards" they started requiring advanced math. We were unable to compete the material, and I learned a lot of math while cramming for the annual exam -- which in my state was standardized and a key to college admissions.
Not having to do 'difficult' homework was the catalyst that gave me the freetime to work on programming which is another reason why getting kicked out was great.
Not sure why I'm thinking about it or why I'm even mentioning it, but this happened in the same city Ray Bradbury grew up. Everybody in the school was required to read 451, which was treated as a homework with uninterested students' contempt. It's very interesting to be raised in the city that influenced much of his writing.