“Grit” is in the news again big time with the appearance of Angela Duckworth’s alliterative best-seller Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance. I wrote about both the conceptual and methodological problems with grit last year, and given the attention Professor Duckworth’s book is attracting, I thought it would be worthwhile to repost what I wrote below and add a few thoughts here.
The book is drawing its share of mixed and negative reviews for superficiality bordering on pop psychology, for its narrow conception of character, for its focus on individual personality traits over social and economic factors, and for problems with methodology. Most of these characteristics were evident in Professor Duckworth’s work long before the publication of her book, but it seems that they got amplified as she (and most likely her editor) prepared her book for a general audience.
Given the number of mixed to negative reviews, it would seem that the opinion-makers are finally countering their original enthusiasm for grit. The ledger is balanced. Those of us with concerns about grit can relax.
Well, no. The meteoric rise of grit reveals troubling problems in the formation of our public discourse about education. I and many others have written about our policy maker’s culpability in the formation of this discourse, but here I’d like to consider another dimension of the circumstances that give rise to phenomena like the one we’re witnessing with grit.
With some notable exceptions, not many journalists who cover education–and even fewer opinion page columnists–have a solid background in the Mike Rose. Grit. | Fred Klonsky: