Newt Gingrich: Let’s End Adolescence

Posted on December 13, 2008



In discussing several topics on adolescence, education, and youth development, a friend referred me to this article by Newt Gingrich entitled “Let’s End Adolescence.” (Updated article and video here.)

His solution is simple:

…replace adolescence with young adulthood. But hastening that transition requires integrating learning into life and work. Fortunately, innovations in technology and in financial incentives to learn offer hope…The fact is, most young people want to be challenged and given real responsibility. They want to be treated like young men and women, not old children.

I concur. One of the greatest challenges I face is ridding this nirvana called adolescence of boredom and lack of direction. How does Gingrich propose this execution of adolescence in a way that is financial viable?

So consider this simple proposal: High school students who can graduate a year early get the 12th year’s cost of schooling as an automatic scholarship to any college or technical school they want to attend. If they graduate two years early, they get two years of scholarships. At no added cost to taxpayers, we would give students an incentive to study as hard as they can and maximize the speed at which they learn.

A friend of mine that works at a local high school was mentioning this same kind of feeling, believing that “high school is the enemy” of the very thing we’re trying to accomplish within high school.

I have a feeling there are several political and social implications that must be dealt with (such as family, child labor laws, etc.) before we can move forward. I’m curious how all the various pieces of the puzzle inform and hinder each other. And getting others to think this way is an uphill battle.

Thanks Brian W. for forwarding on this article to me, and for helping to educate me on what we can do in our environments to strive for new paradigmatic shifts in thinking. And may we all begin to see youth in new and fresh ways.