Tuesday, September 11, 2012

College and prep work in the U.S.--intentional immaturity

This is one thing that I've always resented about things here. I'm not sure if it's like this in other countries, but in the U.S. there's a great trend to isolate folks who are going on to advanced education from the rest of life, mothering and cloying them in order to be good students...and then have them go onto college with the expectation that life there will not be real but will be a time of transition where they will be similarly protected by the authorities who watch over the school. The problem with all of that is that folks from working class backgrounds don't get any 'transition' to real life. You turn 18, graduate from high school, and there you are, an adult with all of the possibilities of adulthood offered to you, and if you don't come from a background where your parents baby you through high school it's the same thing--you see life in all of its rich variety much sooner than your comrades who go on to college do. And this is not necessarily a bad thing.

So, there are constant debates in the U.S. about the proper role of the university in regulating student life, and about the role of high schools in protecting kids, but, quite frankly, if you're not from a privileged background none of that really matters, and it's kind of entertaining, actually, to see bourgeois parents argue about protecting their little darlings in print while the rest of the country is just getting on with life. 

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