I don't mean to be quoting quazse so much, but he has been having his moments.
I like @Eagledad's summary. One of the fundamental problems that I see in many schools as well as in troops, people expect less.
It's funny you say that, my son and his wife are both 10th grade English teachers at two different high risk schools. My daughter in-law's school is being recognized a lot lately for the high rate of graduates continuing to collage. When I asked him why some schools perform better than others, he said it is "expectation" set by the school staff.
One thing that I constantly remind scouts and parents is that PoR's aren't about leadership -- even though some happen to have "lead" in the title. They are about responsibility. There are jobs to do to make a troop great, and someone has to do them. When someone does each job (patch or no patch), the troop thrives.
My older son liked leadership because he likes to change the status quo toward his vision. My younger, more introverted, son hates the idea of others waiting on him for direction. Yet, he enjoyed responsibility because he likes making things neat and tidy. It wasn't until my older some gained some wisdom that he started looking for workers like my younger son because they always reached his vision. Much like me, my older son found that he is an idea guy that doesn't get much done unless he has a good crew of doers like my younger son. Troop leaders need to understand the difference so that they can help scouts find where they fit in that big picture of life and nurture them to continue to grow.
Finally, the method in boy scouting is called "leadership development" for a reason ... boys should start with barely getting a job done themselves and end up getting his buddies involved in helping him do a bang-up job. I was just discussing tonight with the SM and CC about how some SPLs start with more disadvantages than others.
I have found this to be a common characteristic of successful patrol method boy run programs.
As our troop matured, our Eagle rate also started to grow with the membership. It was noticeable enough that when the DE visited a meeting watch our program, he asked my opinion. I basically gave him the same quote as qwazse. Our scouts are given small responsibilities when they join the troop (Grub Master and Cheer Master). As small as the expectations are, they are still challenging for the age and maturity of the new scouts. We mentored them to used the whole patrol to reach the goals of their responsibilities. Scouts are encouraged to reach out to their buddies for help in all their PORs. Eventually it's just a habit used in all their activities, not just PORs. And without realizing it, they are all of a sudden Life Scouts needing only a service project to finish Eagle.
I'm not bragging about our Eagles, I am not an Eagle driven person. But the right habits of character make the path of life easier. For example, one of the results of using the many-hands is discipline. Over time our scouts developed the habit of when a scout was behaving badly, everyone around the scout was held responsible for his actions. Every scout was held accountable for the behavior (good and bad) of the scouts around them.
As the PLC matured, they took pride that leaders didn't need to yell to motivate other scouts (they saw drill sergeant type troops at summer camp), they just simply spoke in a normal tone because they knew they were supported by the other scouts around them. We adults didn't drive that to happen, it was just the result of quazse's point of using many buddies.
That is a big deal because the hardest action for a boy is to confront his friends while not hurting their feelings. But when character of the troop expects the best friend to confront the behavior with support from of all the other scouts, bad behavior gets nipped in the bud. Of course scouts of this age still have their moments of mischief, but reports of bad behavior to the adults drop off considerably. I remember standing in the shadows watching the troop play capture the flag. Nobody knew any adults were around. A 14 year old scout who just transferred into our troop said a few four letter words as he was playing. One of the other scouts said just matter-of-factly, "we don't talk like that here". The transfer responded just as matter-of-factly "gotcha". And that was that, nipped in the bud.
Sorry to step on your post qwazse, but you have great insight.