The Moral Obligation to Make Classes “Easy”

Amanda Zunner-Keating
7 min readAug 19, 2020

Unachievable classes are a form of structural violence.

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

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A college degree opens the door to higher income, more cultural prestige, and a wider variety of dignified career choices. Beyond those benefits, a college education empowers us on a personal level by fostering critical thinking skills, improving self-esteem, and by introducing us to diverse fields and ways of thinking. When a course has too many barriers to success, it separates students from society’s necessary resources which is a form of structural violence. Quite simply, there is a moral imperative to make our classes achievable. We must more effectively integrate college education into our students’ lives so that more people are able to access society’s resources.

If you’re paying attention to popular media surrounding education, then you may have noticed a new emerging attitude about our students: There is nothing wrong with them. Contrary to the trope that students are irresponsible and lazy, and contrary to the narrative that good grades always reflect hard work, the truth is far more complex.

Here is what we are increasingly realizing:

Our students are not lazy: Our students do not procrastinate because they are lazy but, rather, because they are debilitated by anxiety surrounding tasks that historically have led to bad experiences (See: New York Times, NPR, and a fellow Medium writer).

For example, imagine a student who worked very hard on a major assignment in the Spring but…