“If I mention the cliché “the dumbing-down of America,” it’s only because there’s no way around it. And this dumbing-down seems more pronounced among younger Americans. It has nothing to do with higher educational or income levels. It proceeds from a lack of curiosity and, in many cases, a criminally useless system of primary and secondary education. Until a few decades ago, almost all high school graduates could read a daily newspaper. The issue today is not whether they read a daily paper, but whether they can.”
Brett McCracken echoes these sentiments in his blog post "What's Wrong with Kids Today" when he explains:
The problem with kids today is not that they aren’t motivated to be successful and/or change the world, it’s that they aren’t curious about the world. They aren’t interested in thinking critically, deliberately, and probingly about anything, unless it spells immediate pleasure and or advancement for their life. They are utilitarians in the first place, bored by any inquiry that lasts more that a few minutes or which requires more than a few Wikipedia searches.
I have always been skeptical of individuals to try to paint "groups" with a single brush, as I believe the two previous opinions do. There is no question that some young people are uninspired, but this is not exclusive to this generation. From my perspective, the youth today are as capable as students in the past, perhaps more so. Students read regularly, althought dated sources of print materials may not be the medium of their choice. They are much more likely to publish, produce and text ideas and critically evaluate the world around them. My greatest challenge as an educator is not to dismiss "the ways" they acquire information and learn, but to engage them in meaningful activities that allow them to use their technology to gain greater insight. Do you think teenagers lack motivation and commitment? How do you respond to Ebert and McCracken's comments? Let me know what you think...