YOU'VE ALL HEARD the depressing statistics about the younger generation - my generation. "Insert large number here out of 100 cannot properly locate insert easily recognizable country here on a globe." Usually what follows, if this is a newspaper story or magazine article, is a scathing criticism of our school system, saying how the school districts and the DOE aren't doing enough to help these kids succeed. But they're wrong. It isn't the districts' fault, nor is it the principals', the teachers', and most of the time not even the parents' fault that their kid can't tell Asia from their -- You get my point.
The truth is, it's the kids' fault.
Many high schools are struggling to raise their graduation rates but the students that they're trying to help aren't even trying to help themselves. Why? Because most high schoolers are entitled, lazy and unmotivated. Due to a combination of coddling parents, technology allowing everything to be accomplished without real work and being told from the first day of Kindergarten that America is the "society of the hill," most kids think they've beaten the system and don't work hard because of this.
This isn't to say that there aren't motivated, hard-working high schoolers, but from my experience more and more kids are doing the absolute minimum and they complain while they're doing that.
What do I propose we do about it? I don't know. Is there a way to motivate someone who obviously thinks he's smarter than the establishment? I don't think there is, short of forcing him to have a near-death experience. In my opinion, motivation and drive are innate things, you can't teach someone to want to do well, they have to want to. And, in the case of my generation, the only thing they want to do is watch Jersey Shore, emulate their MTV heroes that weekend, then tell whomever will listen how cool they were over the weekend.
Maybe I'm a cynic. Maybe I have too high of expectations and every generation seems like this until they grow up more. But what if my generation never grows up? I get depressed whenever I think of my future as an American, because it seems like Idiocracy is becoming more and more fact than satire. To soothe my own conscience over this, I remind myself of my mantra for this year- Control What You Can Control. I can't motivate my classmates. But I can motivate myself, succeed, and hope that my kids get the drive gene that seems to be becoming increasingly rare.