Gritty kids who succeed do so in spite, not because of, the education system. They follow the path they love. Kids know what they love even when they can't articulate it in some cognitive/symbolic way that makes sense to adults. The problem is that kids just don't want to go and do what/where we think they ought to. Teaching and learning are FAR more than "small class size" -- closer to one on one, and THAT is "too expensive" for an increasingly hyper-conservative, top-down control oriented system. Freeing up the little buggars to chase their curiosities, then selectively providing them with the tools they need at the time they need them? Boy is that a scary notion to all those folks who want to get rid of Darwin and science, let alone art. Sir Ken is spot on.
It's the system, not something missing in the kids.
The passion or determination to continue
learning is not the same as the 'grit' to achieve. There is no obvious
means to an end when learning something without understanding the
benefits of that which is learned. Our education system teaches ideas
before there is the rationale to the benefits of applying those ideas.
In an indirect way you are insulting the student by forcing them to
learn something without giving them a reason why they need to learn it
other than grade performance. That is not a relevant goal for some
students. There has to be a deeper meaning to the objective of learning
to illicit determination, spirit and creativity.