Perhaps if the onus on accomplishments were placed on the students, instead of the teachers, students themselves (like the "good 'ol days", when America ranked #1 in the world in Education) would embrace the pressure and respond to it.
The facts bear themselves out. Since 1974, the responsibility for students to "learn" has gradually been placed on the shoulders of teachers, thus relieving children of it. Now, in the "All children must learn", doctrine handed down by (non-educator) "Education Specialists", and (non-educator) special interests, children have been effectively let off the hook.
My kids are more than smart enough to figure that out... aren't most of them, in fact? To teach concrete thinkers, therefore, to work harder for abstract reasons doesn't hold water. Thus, children work less, and learn less. It is a common-sense result. Unfortunately, people like Arne Duncan (Secretary of Education -- check his biography... not only did he never teach a dayin public schools in his life, as it turns out he never even attended public schools, lack the common sense to write effective legislation.
Our children do not compete because competition requires stress be placed upon the shoulders of kids. We do not allow stress..... "it might hurt them"... truth is, the lack of competition IS hurting them.