In the Blog
The high school rat race
Anne Applebaum in Slate this morning has a discussion of the pressure we put on high school seniors to get into the top universities, and whether that’s anything new.
American parents, she says, are caught between wanting to prepare their kids for a super-competitive world, and a misty-eyed nostalgia for the bike-riding and kegger parties of their own youth. She suggests that this nostalgia is a curiously American phenomenon, and that parents in Britain and Korea expect their kids to work their butts off without fretting over the vanishing notion of childhood. She also implies that today’s high school students aren’t, in fact, working any harder than their parents did.
But maybe the perception that each successive generation of high school students is working harder isn’t entirely based in a rose-tinted view of our own past. I left school six years ago (albeit in Britain) and there were only about two weeks of my four years at university where I worked as hard as I did for most of my big exam year at school.
Maybe we should start worrying a little bit about the pressure on teenagers to succeed. Is it so wrong to want to ride a bike?