Well, according to the news piece I just watched, they are. In fact, the United States has dropped from the enviable top spot as world's most educated nation to (gulp) 12th place. Please tell me that this does not come as a surprise, folks. I have always been struck by the discipline and level of expectation Asian parents in general have where their children are concerned.
On the flip side of that, I have always been bothered by the lack of expectation we as Americans have for our offspring. I'm bothered by the over-showering of praise we rain on our children when they do things that we should expect them to do anyway. "Oh look honey, Johnny went poopy in the potty. Let's rent a limo and take him and his entire daycare class to Chuck E. Cheese!" I remember leaving my daughter's 5th grade graduation, and when we walked outside the building, there was a line of limousines waiting to scoop up the little darlings and spirit them off to God-knows-where. We're talking 5th grade folks. That's what, 11 years old? What on earth do these parents have planned for the kids' high school graduations? The Concorde to Dubai?
What are these kids supposed to strive for? What, exactly, is within their reach when they're out on their own? I suppose that's an experiment; the results have yet to be revealed. Then again, have you ever watched the TV show "Pimp my Sweet Sixteen" or whatever it's called? It's positively nauseating. That's our future?
Back to education. All this goes hand-in-hand. For once, I'm not really wandering off-topic. I have a friend who, when her son was in 4th grade, withdrew him from school because (and I quote) "His teacher got onto him for not doing his homework. He's just a little boy!" He never returned to conventional school, by the way. He was "home schooled" for a time, which means he sat on his behind and played video games day in and day out. The saddest thing about his story is that he was a very bright kid. He was also over-indulged and now, at age 20, he struggles with simple life issues, like getting a job and paying bills. Sadly, his is not the only story I'm familiar with.
We graduate kids from high school who can't spell. Many can't perform simple mathematical calculations. Our kids, on average, are in school more than 40 fewer days than kids in China. We push kids out into the world with their grubby little hands held out, expecting the world to accommodate them because they don't really feel like applying themselves. They've never had to. The world is not a nice place. It's not going to baby our babies, folks. Technology morphs by the second. The world is facing challenges that require smart people to solve. The world does not need whiny underachievers whose mommies and daddies swoop in to protect them from the world!
And while we're at it – YOUR is possessive – "Those are your shoes."
YOU'RE is a contraction of the two words YOU and ARE – "You're a poor speller."
THERE – "There are your shoes!"
THEIR – "Their shoes are not yours!"
THEY'RE – Another contraction, this time of THEY and ARE "They're confused about where their shoes are!"
OK now that that's settled…