Seems like everybody over the age of 40 likes to talk about how messed up this new generation is: how we're raising spoiled underachievers who (eye roll here) have no work ethic, feel entitled, and need an app to get out the front door.
The underlying assumption is that previous generations were smarter, savvier, scrappier. What's going to happen to our country? We all need Dragon Moms to whip these kids into shape.
So I was happy to read the report this week that set it all straight: America hasn't fallen behind the rest of the world in academic achievement – we were never world leaders when it came to math and science. It's a myth that we've fallen from our glory days. Our standing is actually improving, thanks to the current generation. According to the Brookings Institution report, there never were any glory days – they were just the exaggerated dreams of older generations looking back through rose-colored glasses. Back in 1964, American 13-year-olds took the First International Math Study and ended up ranking in 11th place. Considering that only 12 nations participated, including Australia, Finland, and Japan, our next-to-last performance was pretty abysmal. Other international tests American students have taken over the years have also never showed that we were in the top spot.
Personally, I think that our children are improving with every generation. They're much more progressive, open-minded, and intelligent than we ever were.
I spotted this message on a high school student's Class of '12 T-shirt the other day: "It's not the end of the world, we're just taking over."
All I can say is, what took you so long?