Katie Osgood: Don’t Change Our Kids, Change Our World

Diane Ravitch's blog

Katie Osgood works in a psychiatric hospital for adolescents. She weighs in here on the debate, if there is one, about “grit.” Grit meaning perseverance, determination, character.

The kids she works with are in terrible trouble, and Katie says it is not their fault.

She writes that:

“…. the hyper-focus on individual character traits like “grit” is incredibility dangerous and damaging.

“I think of my students at the psychiatric hospital where I teach. My students are overwhelmingly students of color and many are students coming from the most debilitating poverty. And the oppression, neglect, and abuses they’ve experienced often manifest as significant mental health problems. Many have severe depression, suicidal ideation, debilitating anxiety, aggressive outbursts, or self-harming behaviors. According to Duckworth fans, these are kids significantly lacking in “grit”.

“And my kids are often very quick to give up on academic tasks. I work with many students who shut…

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