Your Mach 4, 2020, issue contained two seemingly contradictory articles. The “Student Dispatch” column reported on apparent grade inflation. But another article, “Expanding Support,” discussed increases to mental-health services. Why would more students require mental-health services if achieving A grades has become easier than ever?

Let me suggest an answer. As the parent of two young children, I have read books, and attended lectures, on raising successful children. There, I have had reinforced the common-sense conclusion that children need to learn resilience and persistence, that failure is not something to be avoided, but a normal part of life that must become a learning experience. Success that is earned through hard work produces self-confidence, rather than empty “self-esteem.” (So much for participation trophies.) The education system seems to be teaching our children the exact opposite, that they should be shielded from adversity and competition at every turn, and that they have no control over their own lives. When will educators come to their collective senses?

When I was a student, I read letters from older alumni with scorn. “Ah, but I was so much older then. I’m younger than that now.” Just look at a third article in the same issue: “Volunteers Help Local Children With Disabilities Reach Their ‘Peak.’ ”

Thomas R. Clark ’80
Chester, N.J