According to the author of “Teen 2.0: Saving our Children and Families from the Torment of Adolescence” that’s exactly what we should be doing. Teens are in limbo. They aren’t given enough rights to be independent, but they are fully capable of handling their lives and in many cases better than those who are actually deemed adults. The arbitrary age laws can really depress potential.
In his book, Robert Epstein, outlines profound, totally unexpected suggestions for our society to consider in order to free our young people and give them the power to reach their full potential. We see delinquent behaviors because kids feel trapped, controlled, and unappreciated. We have dumbed down our expectations of our young people, so they are fulfilling those expectations to society’s detriment. There is so much information packed in his book that I find myself wondering how in the world we can get everyone to read this and truly devise supported plans moving forward for our teens.
The chapter that stands out for me is: “How Society Must Change”. Here, he goes right for the jugular and makes no apologies. Below are the main points. I personally would love to see this in place.
“We need shorter compulsory school hours, a shorter compulsory school year and fewer required school years.”
“Students need options, the most important being the option to test out of courses, school years or school itself.”
“We need to shift away from teaching in the traditional classroom environment.”
“We need to shift toward new methods of individualized instruction.”
“One of the most factory-like aspects of the modern school-segregation by age-needs to be ended.”
“Education needs to be spread out over one’s life, not compacted into the childhood and teen years.”
Breathe all that in. I know it sounds like crazy talk to those who want to believe in the system–and he even admits his suggestions will be hard to implement. But it’s music to my ears and I’m happy to have read his score.