This is a story of attempted SD, thwarted by a brave woman who was willing to commit PD in order to aid this kid's education.
50 years ago, my mother decided to get her Master's, and become a teacher. She entered a program at a prestigious university, famous then, and still, for its Sporgball team. She taught the basic first year English courses.
A kid in her class, there on a Sporgball scholarship, was doing poorly. He had the brains, but wasn't trying, expecting to coast because of his Sporgball talents. At midterm, he had an F.
The athletic department put a lot of pressure on her to pass him. A lot. They said he was a sure thing for a pro Sporgball team, so what did he need to learn for? They threatened her with getting fired. She stood her ground, and took the issue - not the threats, but her academic integrity - all the way to the top. The administration sided with her.
Being a born teacher, she didn't leave it at that, but worked extensively with the kid, and got him working hard enough to pass. He resented it.
About five years later, she got a letter from him. It made her cry. He wrote to thank her; he said that at the time he was too mad to let her see it, but she had sparked the desire to learn. That turned out to be a good thing, because he wasn't quite good enough to be hired by a professional Sporgball team. Thanks to her, he had really earned his degree, which helped him get a good job. If she had given in to the pressure, he would have been out of luck.
She was a darn good teacher, and a few of her students became family friends. But that was her proudest moment.
When I taught at an ivy league university, I was heavily pressured by the dean of students to turn a B grade into an A grade for a student who was Orange. This student had committed Student Darwinism in my class. The class was a senior research seminar designed specifically for those going to grad school in history and American studies. The bulk of the grade would be derived from your final research paper, on which you could work the entire semester and which you could hand in three times during the course of that semester for review and critique. He had handed it in and it was B level, but not A level work. I had given him written critiques on the first version. Second version was almost the same exact paper as the first and I wrote at the end -- quite clearly and specifically -- that unless he undertook the additional research and writing I'd outlined above, he'd be getting a B and not an A in the class. "Your choice," I wrote. So at the end of the class, he hands in the exact same paper. So he gets a B in the class. Next thing I know, the dean of students -- who is also Orange -- calls me up and tells me I have to give the "poor" kid an A in the class because he's Orange. What the what? I explain to the dean that I have written proof of my critiques, as well as my rubrics -- all of which the kid ignored at his peril. He still pressures me. I refuse. He says the kid is going to file a formal complaint against me. I say go ahead. Dean gets very quiet and then asks, "You're really not going to give in?" NO. "But, but the kid is Orange and therefore he's been persecuted, blahblahblah... You wouldn't know because you're Blue and therefore don't see racism. And I'm sure you don't want a racism charge on your record." I then ask him for specific instances of racism or persecution this kid has endured in my class or frankly, anywhere. Silence. I then point out that, "It may not be apparent from my appearance, but I too am partially Orange. So if you're trying to claim racism by virtue of the fact that I appear to be 100% Blue, then you are barking up the wrong tree."
Kid never filed charges, but I found out subsequently that he had engaged in the same behavior in EVERY class and the dean of students had called up each and every one of those profs and had successfully pressured them into giving the kid undeserved A grades.
I still wonder what happened to that kid. The lessons he learned in college were not the correct ones. I still wonder what was up with that dean of students trying to use race as an apologia for Student Darwinism.