Let_Teenagers_Try_Adulthood[1] - Let Teenagers Try...

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Let Teenagers Try Adulthood By Leon Botstein Leon Botstein is the president of Bard College and author of Jefferson’s Children: Education and the Promise of American Culture . The following selection appeared on the Op Ed page of the New York Times in May 1999, shortly after the school shootings in Littleton, Colorado. T he national outpouring after the Littleton shootings has forced us to confront something we have suspected for a long time: the American high school is obsolete and should be abolished. In the last month, high school students present and past have come forward with stories about cliques and the artificial intensity of a world defined by insiders and outsiders, in which the insiders hold sway because of superficial definitions of good looks and attractiveness, popularity, and sports prowess. The team sports of high school dominate more than student culture. A community’s loyalty to the high school system is often based on the extent to which varsity teams succeed. High school administrators and faculty members are often former coaches, and the coaches themselves are placed in a separate, untouchable category. The result is that the culture of the inside elite is not contested by the adults in the school. Individuality and dissent are discouraged. But the rules of high school turn out not to be the rules of life. Often the high school outsider becomes the more successful and admired adult. The definitions of masculinity and femininity go through sufficient transformation to make the game of
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This note was uploaded on 05/16/2011 for the course LIT 337 taught by Professor Jackson during the Winter '10 term at Grand Valley State.

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Let_Teenagers_Try_Adulthood[1] - Let Teenagers Try...

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