6 thoughts on “The New American Dream: The Uncomfortable Reality of Diminished Expectations

  1. Althought you first sentence contained the warning, “Don’t tell me that I’m wrong,” let me be the first to tell you that you are wrong.

    Where to start? Maybe the repeated references to Julian Castro. What does he have to do with this story? His inclusion reminds me of bloggers who like to include the name of Ayn Rand in their postings because that apparently increases views. Maybe Castro does the same thing.

    I was struck by your comment about the heroic Castro twins being bred for public service. Coincidentally, I was reading John Stossel’s book, “No, They Can’t,” last night and he lamented the fact that Americans tend to claim politicians as heros (e.g., Ed Muskie, Ted Kennedy) instead of people in business and science (e.g., David Packard, Norman Borlaug) even though the latter do much more to improve our lives. Stossel’s point seems to be a good one.

    Your main point seems to be that working hard and getting a college education is no longer enough. Instead you point to a need for lifelong learning. I don’t know where you received your college education, but I learned almost 40 years ago in college that learning didn’t stop when you receive your diploma. Indeed inculcating an interest in continuous learning and relearning was inherent in any college worthy of the name.

    Your secondary point appears to be an endorsement of the Pre-K for SA program. Pray tell, what is no innovative about that. Most kids in SA already receive pre-k and if the program had achieved even a modicum of success, the city would find itself in its current educational nadir. We need innovation, but that means doing something different.

    Any finally, regarding your gratuitous praise for affirmative action, which you correctly suggest contributed to the Castro twins’ success, do you think the twin sons of college-educated activist parents should be granted admission preferences over the daughter of a poor, uneducated single mother because the former is Hispanic and the latter is white? If the government picks the winners, then don’t crow about the winner unless you consider what happened to the person who the government picked as the loser.

    • If people do more in the business sector than in public service, then why is Mitt Romney so eager to be in public office if his business skills “do(es) more for our lives”? 7 years wasted on running for President and his time as Governor could have been better spent saving the world and improving OUR lives if he would’ve just stuck to his desk job. I’m not arguing one over the other, but I would say that some pretty important things that affect us all come out of Washington D.C.

  2. Good piece Robert, I think you are right about the need to take risk and try new ways of thinking about education. We are living in a post information world where the idea of linear learning and quantitative assessment is becoming too basic of a way of educating both children and adults.

    Here is a short piece I wrote about re-thinking the post information age: http://www.mygeekylife.com/?p=231

    Cheers,

    joey phd

  3. p.s., I suggest that America’s problematic situation has developed because of the failure of the country and its people to save/build toward a better future. Although the Democratic Party is wont to classify its spending programs as investments, the fact is that America and its people spend beyond their means for current gratification instead saving/building for a better future. I believe it was Ezra Klein who said that American government has become an insurance conglomerate with a large standing Army. Americans need to do more; their government needs to do less, albeit better.

  4. : In the future “illiteracy will not be defined by those who cannot read and write, but by those who cannot learn and relearn.” Any form of standing still is deadly.”

    This seems to apply to your article, even as a Baby Boomer, your writing is still the same, nothing eye opening. Relearn, grasp, engage!
    Cheers
    No forwarding this work.

  5. Bob,
    Thank you for the article. I am a part of that very idealistic generation, and I ask myself frequently where we went awry? I personally see a seperation of the folks who are still striving every day to make this a better planet, and another “baby boomer” group that became incredibly greedy. Yes, the most idealistic generation of current time brought you cleaner air, conservation, preserved and appreciated national parks, and an overall sensitivity to our place on the planet. However, we also brought you derivitives, credit default swaps, investments and laws that no one understands, and a culture based on the all mighty dollar. One plus one still equals two….in my opinion.

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