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Harnessing the power of Millennials: new education strategies for a confident, achieving youth generation

Author: School Administrator

To hear many educators tell it, their biggest problem these days is America's high expectations of school performance.

The media keep repeating how the global economy soon will require nearly all young Americans to be fully prepared for post-secondary education. Legislators keep ratcheting up state-imposed and No Child Left Behind thresholds and dictating whole new teaching methods and subject areas. Most of all, parents are pushier than ever, demanding special attention, more options and, of course, instant results. According to a recent Metlife poll, K-12 teachers contend parents have become their No. 1 professional headache.

Yet there is another problem that is less discussed but probably more serious: America's low expectations of what the rising youth generation is capable of achieving. It is often assumed that today's new batch of kids is fated by history to continue along the path blazed first by young baby boomers and then trampled by young Gen-Xers. Toward more selfishness in dress and manners. Toward more splintering in life goals. Toward more profanity in the culture. Toward more risks with sex, drugs and crime. Toward more apathy about politics. And toward less interest in academic excellence and credentialed achievement.

Some pundits--especially marketers have dubbed them "Generation Y," as though these kids are merely Generation X on steroids, South Park idiots beyond redemption, the ultimate price for America's post-'60s narcissism. One poll concludes that only a third of adults thinks that today's kids, collectively, will someday make the world a better place.

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