Let's give adolescents a chance to grow up

  • Article by: Ted Kolderie
  • Updated: October 12, 2013 - 4:30 PM

Society has invented an in-between where little is truly expected of teens. What if we turned them loose to achieve?

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arspartzOct. 12, 13 7:05 PM

"only academic success is rewarded." ----- I hate to tell you this but the rewards for being the sports star far outweigh any rewards or recognition handed out for academics in the modern school (by either the school or the general public).

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pumiceOct. 12, 1310:20 PM

Hmmmmmm. Providing accelerated learning options (PSEO) which make post-secondary education more affordable, providing choices which appeal to hands-on learners (vo-tech) and "treating teens more like [the young] adults [they are]"--one would think "government-school" disparagers would be ecstatic!

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pumiceOct. 12, 1310:50 PM

The line at the bottom of the first "page" is good advice, arspartz. If you had "read the full article," you'd have found this statement: "Today we see this kind of accomplishment mostly in fields adults can’t master or don’t themselves want to enter: sports, entertainment, digital electronics. (Google for 'youth accomplishment' and 'student competitions' to see for yourself.)" Ted Kolderie agrees with you....

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norselandcOct. 13, 13 5:47 AM

Please spare me another education reformer with some random ideas of how to finally make schools better. I believe that the longer a person has been out of the classroom, the less qualified they are to suggest what is best for students. I don't imagine there were any federal regulations governing the very interesting reform ideas rolling around in your skull. Nor were there any impatient 12-year-olds vying for a moment of your time as you dug up anecdotes about children who were exceptional enough to make the history books. Get real!

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comment229Oct. 13, 13 6:18 AM

Best school bulletin board I ever saw said "Knowledge given our here free; bring your own container." And I will give a lot of credit to the kids we never ever seem to talk about, but they are always there; that top 50% that every school has, that do well, are well behaved, are responsible, and try. They don't get enough press. The cool kids of every generation call them names: geeks, nerds, etc. and whoever posted it was 100% correct in that high school sports stars are put on pedestals. It's time for America to focus on our brightest and best. They not only brought their own containers, they used them.

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firefight41Oct. 13, 13 8:04 AM

From the article: "Is it possible this country could be getting enormously more than it is from its young people by treating more of them more like adults?" ************ In some ways this is true, but cannot be a blanket statement. For young people to be treated like adults, they need to act like adults. This is something that many parents do not teach their children.

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my4centsOct. 13, 13 9:07 AM

Pumice - I am one "disparager" who sees alot of value in what is suggested here. One problem we have right now with PSEO and other options is that the public schools don't always promote them. They'd rather keep the student and the $10000 that goes with them then promote the advntages of taking college credits. I am also leery of having some government agency administering a test to assess adulthood. Instead, increase the options for students, and allow them to make choices along with their parents. Families are much better equipped to make this determination than a test.

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jdlellis1Oct. 13, 13 9:30 AM

1-When discussing a child's day, parents should simply ask, "Did you learn, or did you learn to think?" 2-Adults need to act like adults as teenagers generally will emulate behavior seeking the path of least resistance (e.g., lowest common denominator). 3-Teenagers must to learn and exercise solid ethics, morals and values, otherwise, Molly Cyrus would be their choice for President.

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livinginthepastOct. 13, 13 9:45 AM

This is like revisionist history. The successes you talk about are the same kids who today succeed in our high schools. Kids working like crazy, becoming national merit scholars paving the way for bright futures. The kids of today that aren't doing well would have been working in coal mines, in the fields,or in sweatshops. The craftsmanship apprenticeship you are talking about that these people succeeded from doesn't exist today. Even in the times when those jobs existed they were the good jobs for the brightest of their times. They were the bright kids primed to succeed even though they came from poor backgrounds. The brightest of our times are in the high schools working hard and achieving. I do agree however there isn't much gained by keeping kids in high school who aren't there to learn. They just disrupt the learning of those that want to be there.

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pumiceOct. 13, 13 9:51 AM

Re: "Nor were there any impatient 12-year-olds vying for a moment of your time as you dug up anecdotes about children who were exceptional enough to make the history books. Get real!" Exactly, norselandc! At the beginning of the Industrialization Revolution, very young children worked in fields, factories, mills and mines. Many never reached adulthood. Many were maimed or suffered from chronic disease. Back in the day when 8th Grade was the end of education opportunity for most rural girls and boys, they went to work on the family farm. As recently as the early 1960s, many girls and boys left school as soon as it was legal. Boys of the era went off to the city (or to Korea or Vietnam); girls helped care for their siblings until they married and had families of their own. Kolderie's stories of adventure and accomplishment were the exception to the rule.

Although I disagree with Mary Lee Fitzgerald's notion that "[t]oday [schools are] filled with people who are essentially adults — being treated still as children,” I do agree that the concept of postsecondary education (including PSEO) needs to changed so it includes community colleges and vo-technical colleges. And that we as a nation need to dedicate more of our resources to our children and grandchildren.

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