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Out of Our Minds
Thursday, September 22, 2005 10:46 AM
What Kids Want
Anita Sharpe on Making a Difference

'America's kids are hungry to be challenged for some larger purpose, which has been utterly absent in this presidency,' writes Thomas Friedman in his column this week urging Bush to make energy independence and conversation the hallmark of his second term -- and galvanize young people to help create 'the greenest nation on the planet.'

Meanwhile, a story in the New York Times says teen-agers are tiring of spending lots of money at the mall. In fact, says the Times, it's now cool to shop at discount stores. 'Today not everyone in this country wants to be like Paris Hilton,' author and professor Juliet B. Schor tells the newspaper.


Community Action Hero David Yorka - 9/26/2005 4:53:03 PM
I see a new optimism in this generation that is benefiting from our way of life. Not good-not bad--savy and alert.

How about a follow up from the authors of Becoming Adult: teenagers and the world of work?
Robert - 9/22/2005 10:32:42 PM
Not to be a spoil-sport, but following a few compelling anecdotes about inspiringly thrifty teens, the article on teenage shopping notes that 'spending by teenagers has dropped 4 percent in the last year to $158 billion.' Hardly a seismic shift, and where I come from $158 billion is still a lot of money.

Similarly Slate took The Times to task regarding a 9/20 front-page article (the most emailed article that day, so it struck a chord) which suggested significant attitude shifts among women attending elite colleges regarding work/life balance and their intended choices. However the underpinning research was very sketchy and seemingly unscientific, including a vaguely described email survey, and an over-abundance of what Slate called 'weasel words,' qualifiers such as 'many' women, 'some,' 'it seems,' etc.

All these so-called trends -- kids being less materialistic, Harvard B-School grads staying home fulltime -- are they truly fact-based and statistically significant, or simply what we'd like to believe?


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