The Scholastic Swindle: Quashing Adolescence

Adolescence is so beautiful, even if awkward and insane — and perhaps precisely because of that. The world today with its blistering speed and global consumption has no place for this madness, this careening. And so kids are put on the straight and narrow, their demented energy harnessed by, and into, the capitalist engine (yes, the matrix).

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Michael said...

...with joyful complexity, i'm sure.

Yaman said...

Not too long ago, Newt Gingrich wrote an op-ed calling for the "end of adolescence." Among his motivations, the so-called moral corruption of young people (he has a problem with stds and drugs--which apparently didn't exist before 'adolescence' came about?). His real reason, though, is that adolescents are a waste of time and energy and are not as productive as he says they otherwise would be--adolescence is bad for business.

High school is a double world. There is a special track for some people (the AP and IB kids, and the others who manage to get into a 4-year college) and in some schools everyone else is kind of left to fester. Unfortunately the first group is driven into the competitive rage you're talking about; but that doesn't mean there's no booze, drugs, sex, or frolic. It's just all very... controlled. By the time they finish, they/we've tried all these things, not really out of curiosity or excitement, but because we were supposed to have tried them before we finished. Our experiences are preempted by the knowledge that we're supposed to do this at some point.

The other group is kind of just an ambiguous idea to the first group. They're the underlings we'll have to deal with, probably not even in the work place (because they'll have their fellow college grads there), but with other menial and mundane aspects of life (restaurants, sanitation, gardening, post offices, ..). By then, we've already become full fledged vampires, ready to live our lives on lease--because that's what all the neighbors are doing, and apparently it matters what they say.

I haven't really sensed a strong sense of ownership and independence among people my age over our lives. I chose to go to Cal because of its legendary 60s reputation or whatever, but, despite the genuine people I had a chance to cross paths with, there's more reactionary force from other students than from professors or administrators or any other collective on campus. Some people seem to think that rocking the boat means everyone might drown, without even taking a moment to consider that the boat's been beached for some time.

Vlad said...

I think that American High Schools is the best thing that can happened with a people ever!

I think so because I trully love these schools...and I'm dreaming visit it sometimes :). May be I think so because our schools is totally different - I live in Ukraine.

All what I've known about American schools - is from movies and TV-shows - and this all is so freakin amazing, I can't describe it :) and may be for native Americans such things is very simple and not-observable, but for me it is a whole NEW WORLD!!! I can't imagine how great it - that any studetn at school has his own lock where he or she can put his things :)....or go to school by buss .. or even by own car!! That's so cool!! and these all pool-parties every weekend....mmm...what about education - this so unbilieveble, when The teacher can teach how he wants, making presentation, sheduling home school projects, and not only talk to a students but show them all experiments (in physics, bilogy, chemistry etc...) and I think it's soooooo interest (!) to study in such conditions!!! :) And what about High School Prom (I suppose I wrote it right :)) it's so nice and like in tale...where particularly every dream may come true (may be kiss the best girl in school, may be make some trick, may be fall in love...) And all these yeras in school - they are I think THE BEST days in person's LIFE! He or she will never forget about it...

It so amazing and so... (I can't find words to describe what I', feeling now...)

May be I'm wrong..because I know only movies... but if that movies are true....so it's probably _the_best_time_in_life_

Dear Daniel, I remeber that you've said in one of the firsts lectures of rhetoric (from webcasts) that there's no such things are "good" and "bad" and all things are bad in the wrong time and all things are good in the right time...And I understand that for some studetns these schools can be the worst time in their lifes and they're hating them every minute :), but at that time (I've never been in American Schools)and from my prospective American School is the probably the Paradise for 13-38 boys and girls and every day is like a sweet-dream :)

nthmost said...

Sir Ken Robinson says schools kill creativity. And he's funny.

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