I think we really should discuss the pros and cons putting so much effort into zero-effort kids. I'll just provide a little of my own ideas.

I have a teenage son who is a zero-effort kid. He does have ADHD, but I (and others) believe he can learn how to manage it. Despite education being a fairly high value in our house, a good school system, and lots of carrots and sticks, he just does not want to learn much. He is in the minimalist path to acquiring a high school education in Alberta: that piece of paper won't matter that much to future employers. We, as a society, are kind of parking him for a while where some reading and math can filter in.

I had a cousin named Rob. Rob was a zero-effort student from the 1970s. In fact, his Grade 9 teacher sent a letter to his parents saying: "Rob won't amount to much in life."

Rob somehow got his high school diploma. He went to work as a truck driver. After a couple of years of hauling logs and an accident, he somehow acquired some seriousness for learning. He enrolled in heavy duty mechanics and is now the manager for the mine truck division of a heavy oil operation, probably making $150,000 a year, supervising other mechanics and coordinating his shop.

Despite the lack of performance in school, there are quite a few changes in attitude from teenager to 25 years old. Whatever reading and math skills those teenagers have acquired, it will still help in their transition.

So there is a good point in FORCING kids to get educated. But there is a cost that takes energy away from the more motivated kids.

My solution is a Unit Based Curriculum

Let each student move as fast as they want. Park the zero-efforts where some reading and math can filter in.

Dave Volek is the inventor of “Tiered Democratic Governance”. Let’s get rid of all political parties! Visit

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