Monday, June 18, 2012

Five Good Reasons

1. Teenagers should have a say in the way schools are run.
If it weren't for us, there would be no schools. We're what education is all about, but everything is determined by parent associations, teacher unions, and district superintendents.
"Oh, but teenagers don't know anything about running a school."
Maybe not. And maybe an adult leukemia patient doesn't know anything about running a hospital. But he knows when the hospital food is bland, when the nurses are slow on administering his medicine, and I bet he has a very strong personal opinion about that health care bill. Shouldn't he, of all people, have a say in the way he's going to be treated? It affects him most of all.
Likewise, we may be the only ones who know what's going on.
2. Teenagers should have a say in the way the government is run.
When you think about it, we already do. Consider the Arab Spring. Was is sparked by fifty year old men in suits, sitting around a conference table, systematically planning protests? Maybe to a certain extent. And then we've got facebook. There's no age limit that can prevent you from making an online movement.
But I'm talking about a legal say. Our parents and teachers can loose jobs in a bad economy, tell us we aren't affected. We breathe in polluted air from trucks we don't drive and factories where we don't work.
"But you can vote in a few years anyways, why be impatient?"
We'll also be working and going to college in a few years. We'll be paying college tuition and taxes. Plenty of us are paying taxes now. And those things can affect us before we're old enough to vote.
Let's use Obama as an example, seeing as he's currently the world's favorite scapegoat. Nobody under the age of 21 can be held responsible for putting him in office.
I'm fifteen. My sixteenth birthday falls four days after Election Day this year. Whoever the adults of America select as president this year will be president when I turn eighteen and go to college. If he messes up, I won't be able to help fix it until I'm nineteen, exactly two days short of being twenty.
And then there are the unfortunate few who will never be adults. Who would Trayvon Martin have voted for? We'll never know.
3. Teenagers should be taught about young people in school.
"What did they ever do?"
Not only are the contributions of young people to historically significant-Joan of Arc, Louis Braille, Claudette Colvin, Johnny Shiloh-they're interesting. My eighth grade U.S. History book contained over 900 pages. One was about children and education in the colonial days, one for the girls in the Salem Witch Trials, one for child labor laws, one about teenage culture in the 1950's, one for young people protesting the Vietnam War, one for the twenty-sixth amendment. If you count two other pages containing paragraph-long mini biographies for Joseph Plumb Martin and Sacagawea, that makes a grand total of eight pages. Less than 1/100 of history.
And they wonder why some of us don't want to learn anything. It doesn't seem relevant. Time to enrich the curriculum.
It's not just history. The authors of The Outsiders, Frankenstein, and (surprise) Anne Frank were all teenagers. Even math-ugh-has some cool people. Evariste Galois, who died in a duel when he was twenty, created an entire branch of algebra.
And I thought I knew some geeks.
4. Teenagers should not be discriminated against in places of business.
I don't know how many of you saw the story I posted last month about a trip to the doughnut shop with some friends. To make it short, we were told to leave our backpacks by the door so we couldn't shoplift. A few minutes later, a woman walked in with a bulky handbag. She was allowed to carry it throughout the store undisturbed.
Statistics show 25% of shoplifters are under the age of eighteen. Do the math-that makes 75% adults.
If you wouldn't do it to an adult, there's no logical reason to do it to a teenager.
5. Teenagers should not be subject to unjust stereotypes.
"We stereotype? When?"
For the record, we do not spend all our time drinking, smoking, doing drugs, having sex, getting tattoos, piercing various parts of our bodies, texting while driving, texting some more, playing video games, and watching TV while doing junk food. And turning thirteen doesn't automatically make somebody a loud mouthed, sassy, disrespectful, trouble-making brat. That's why I started this blog in the first place. No matter how obedient or intelligent or religious or just plain normal you are, you get lumped in with anybody who ever misbehaved.

No comments:

Post a Comment