A Nation of Millennial Entitlements

by Walter Brasch

A student sued Misericordia College because she failed a nursing class. Twice.

She said she suffered psychological problems. Those problems included anxiety, depression, and poor concentration skills.

The college had agreed to allow her to retake the final examination last summer.

It set her up in a stress-free room, gave her extra time to complete the test, and did not provide a proctor. The professor said the student could call her by cell phone. That professor was in another building monitoring another test.

The student again failed the required course.

So now she’s suing. She claims the professor didn’t answer her numerous cell phone calls. She claims this made it more stressful. She claims it wasn’t her fault she failed. It was the professor’s fault. The college president’s fault. And several others’ fault.

So she sued, claiming the college violated her rights under the Americans With Disabilities Act.

That lawsuit acknowledges she had average to below average grades.

Let’s pretend that a federal court agrees with her, and she gets so many accommodations that she now passes that course and somehow earns her nursing degree.

Let’s also pretend that when she takes her nursing boards, the state gives her extra time, in a room by herself, without a proctor, makes one available by cell phone to answer questions-and, perhaps, allows her to have whatever notes and textbooks and learning aids she needs to pass that exam.

Assume all this. Now, here’s the next question. Would you be comfortable having a nurse who can’t handle stress? Who admits she can’t concentrate? Who barely passed her college courses and requirements for a license?

Society should make accommodations for persons with disabilities-as long as those disabilities don’t directly affect others and reduce the quality of care. Perhaps the student could be a nurse-educator, helping others better understand the need for vaccinations or how to care for young children. If that’s the case, why even test for state boards and get the R.N. added to the B.S.N. degree? Perhaps, with psychological help, the student might be able one day to handle the stress of testing and clinical nursing.

Perhaps, the student could become an administrator. But, would nurses be willing to work for someone who suffers stress attacks and has never worked in patient care? Would teachers be willing to work for principals who never taught a class? Would firefighters be willing to take orders from a battalion chief who was never on a fire line or who rescued victims?

There are persons in the health care professions who are blind or deaf or who are paraplegics, and who perform their tasks as well as anyone else. But, almost all of those with physical disabilities probably studied hard, may have even exceeded the expectations and abilities of others who don’t have physical disabilities, and are working in areas that don’t impact patient care. A neurosurgeon with epilepsy, for example, would be rare, but a medical researcher, psychiatrist, or rheumatologist with epilepsy or mental or physical issues might be highly functional and, possibly, contribute far more than any neurosurgeon.

John Nash, who probably had far more psychological problems than the nursing student, still managed to earn a Ph.D. in mathematics from Princeton, become a tenured professor at M.I.T., and earn the Nobel Prize in Economics for his work on game theory. His story, told in A Beautiful Mind, has a subtle underlying theme-even with his mental issues, he didn’t expect society to grant him extraordinary accommodations.

In college, many students resort to excuses to demand special treatment. They complain about the amount of writing required. They complain the professor distracts them because she is too beautiful, too ugly, or wears dated clothes. Black students complain that their White teachers are racist; White students complain that their Black teachers are racist. They claim to have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and gobble adderall as if it were M&Ms, taking away time that teachers, counselors, and physicians can work with those who truly have ADHD and who, for the most part, don’t use that diagnosis as an excuse.

In a grade-inflated environment, where a “B” is now the “new average,” propped up by many professors not holding to rigorous academic standards and the college more interested in pleasing parents, who pay the tuition and fees than in enforcing rigorous academic standards, the student graduates. Perhaps we need to ask who might be more valuable to society-a plumber, an electrician, or a farmer, against an unemployed English major who can write compositions about ethereal subjects or a lawyer whose goal is to amass thousands of billable hours and a country club membership on the way to a partnership.

Our society is saturated with people with college degrees who complain they didn’t get the “A” they wanted, and now whine it isn’t their fault they have so much debt and no job.

Many of our millennial children believe they are entitled to have what they believe their needs are. After all, the media skewer them with ads, photos, and stories of people who “have it all.” Isn’t it just logical for teens and those in their 20s to hear the siren call from the media and want the bling that others have?

When all the ephemera are stripped away, we are left with a college generation that believes they are entitled to that high grade, that job, that upscale lifestyle.

Somewhere, there might even be a clinical nurse whose own problems, or perceived problems, affect someone’s health.

[Dr. Brasch was an advocate for the mentally and physically disabled, long before he had to use a handicapped parking placard. His latest book is Fracking Pennsylvania.]

 

Endorsed Judicial Candidates Sweep to Democratic Victories

The three endorsed Democrats for the PA Supreme Court swept yesterday’s primary election.  David Wecht, Christine Donohue and Kevin Dougherty will attempt to fill three seats on that court in November.  I really like the first two candidates but supported Anne Lazarus for the third slot.  Chief Justice Ron Castille reached the mandatory retirement age, Seamus (Shame US) McCaffery resigned in disgrace after getting caught spreading hundreds of pornographic emails and Joan Orie Melvin was convicted of corruption.

As such integrity and trust are major factors in these races.  Kevin Dougherty, whose brother is infamous union boss John “Johnny Doc” Dougherty of Philadelphia’s IBEW local, has the potential to continue the shameful record of political Justices who get caught doing nefarious deeds.  I won’t vote for him in November.  Instead I’ll write in the name of Superior Court Judge Jack Panella.

Alice Dubow won the race for Superior Court over Robert Colville.  Both are well qualified.  Commonwealth Court will have Michael Wojchik as the Democratic nominee.

The three GOP candidates for Supreme Court are Judith Olson, Michael George and Anne Covey.   Covey ran such a shameful campaign last time she was sanctioned for her smears of her opponent, a civil rights lawyer.  It’ll be interesting to watch how the Democrats use that against her this fall.  After all, this election is about integrity.

It’s unusual for endorsed Democratic candidates to win elections.  The Pennsylvania Democratic Party has a bad record of actually electing its preferred candidates.

Primary Election Endorsements

My endorsements for Tuesday’s primary election are as follows:

Supreme Court:



Ann Lazarus

Christine Donohue

David Wecht

Let’s not further politicize the court with another Seamus MCafferry type from Philly (Kevin Dougherty).

Commonwealth Court:

Mike Wojcik

I like Todd Eagen and think it’s time for a labor/worker rights attorney on this Court which hears Workmans Compensation cases but I feel Eagen is damaged goods due to his obvious campaigning before it was allowed.  The attacks upon him for that in the general election will make him unelectable.

Superior Court:



Robert Colville

I like Dubow too but voters must pick just one.

Berks County:

Commissioner:  Don Vymazal

Controller:  Sandy Graffius (Republican)

Recorder of Deeds:  Fred Sheeler

Philadelphia Mayor:  Jim Kenney

Magisterial District Judge:

(My home district in Berks County)

BK McDonough

Berks County Court of Common Pleas:



Kelly Kline

Jonathon Kurland

Montgomery County Commissioner:



Josh Shapiro

Val Arkoosh

Joe Sestak Interview

I sat down for an interview this afternoon with US Senate candidate Joe Sestak.  We covered a wide variety of issues but the conversation kept returning to the issue of trust.  Trust in the integrity of our elected officials.  Towards the end of the interview I accidently knocked the video camera and Joe cracked a joke about it.

I’ve known Joe since he was in Congress representing Pennsylvania’s 7th District in suburban Philadelphia.  I covered several of his events then and also his Senate contest six years ago versus Arlen Specter and Toomey.  Enjoy our conversation.