Is “pretty good” good enough?

This morning, a colleague of mine shared this poem written by Charles Osgood about 25 years ago.   It is relevant to everything, but particularly education.

Pretty Good
By Charles Osgood

There once was a pretty good student.
Who sat in a pretty good class
And was taught by a pretty good teacher.
Who always let pretty good pass.

He wasn’t terrific at reading;
He wasn’t a whiz-bang at math;
But for him education was leading
Straight down a pretty good path.

He didn’t find school too exciting,
But he wanted to do pretty well.
And he did have some trouble with writing,
And nobody had taught him to spell.

When doing arithmetic problems,
Pretty good was regarded as fine;
Five and five needn’t always add up to be ten.
A pretty good answer was nine.

The pretty good student was happy
With the standards that were in effect.
And nobody thought it was sappy
If his answers were not quite correct.

The pretty good class that he sat in
Was part of a pretty good school.
And the student was not an exception;
On the contrary, he was the rule.

The pretty good school that he went to
Was right there in a pretty good town.
And nobody there ever noticed
He could not tell a verb from a noun.

The pretty good student, in fact, was
A part of a pretty good mob,
And the first time he knew what he lacked was
When he looked for a pretty good job.

It was then, when he sought a position,
He discovered that life can be tough,
And he soon had a sneaky suspicion
Pretty good might not be good enough.

The pretty good town in our story
Was part of a pretty good state
Which had pretty good aspirations
and prayed for a pretty good fate.

There was once a pretty good nation.
Pretty proud of the greatness it had.
But which learned much too late.
If you want to be great,
Pretty good is, in fact, pretty bad.

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