Education

The Greatest High School Graduation Speech So Far This Year

"Maybe, instead of taking a fifth field trip to the Trail of Tears site, take one to learn about real jobs in an area they might want."

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KFYO, iStock

Columnist and author Ron Hart was asked by a local principal to give a high school graduation speech. Which probably wasn't such a good idea, especially for kids who are used to being told that the sky is the limit and if you can dream it, you can do it.

His counsel for the top 5 percent is simply that "they do not need me telling them they can do anything. They get it." For the rest, his advice is more sound: "Students should prepare for a job. Maybe, instead of taking a fifth field trip to the Trail of Tears site, take one to learn about real jobs in an area they might want." 

Then there's this:

Unrealistic expectations may be the reason suicide rates are up among middle-age Americans, now outnumbering deaths from automobile accidents. Suicides among whites rose a staggering 40 percent from 1999 to 2010. This is the generation of ninth-place "participation" ribbon recipients who post a picture of the sandwich they had for lunch on Facebook.

Students are victims of a giant fraud: the government-run education system that has molded them for 12 gullible years. Public schools are government-run; teachers are government-hired; and government determines standards, pay, curricula and graduation requirements. Government seeks to produce compliant citizens it can someday rule without much pushback. Smart, independent thinkers are not wanted….

Few schools teach about the value of hard work, ingenuity, gumption and entrepreneurship. 

Read the whole thing here.

Hart's column put in mind of Mike Rowe's Reason TV interview, in which the former Dirty Jobs' host, now on CNN's Somebody's Gotta Do It, talked about what he sees is the systematic stigmatization of trade and craft jobs that are plentiful and well-compensated. I agree with Rowe that virtually universal access to higher education is a good thing—and it's also true that many kids are pushed into attending college whether they are temperamentally suited or prepared for it. The result of that is high student debt and unfulfilled dreams.

Take a look:

Full transcript and more here.

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  1. We don’t need no education. – Pink Floyd, not afraid of double negatives.

  2. Members of the Greatest Generation at age 19 were saving Europe from the Nazis and asking nothing in return. Now kids stay on their parents’ health insurance until age 27. Kids are voting for socialist Bernie Sanders in droves, scared to death they may have to pay for something someday.

    ?

      1. What age group made up the largest cohorts of the US armed forces?

      2. I hope that’s what I think it is.

        1. N-n-n-n-nineteen. Nineteen.

          1. That was Vietnam

            1. I suppose I could have actually followed the link before I posted. 😉

          2. For a war that was long over by the time of my formative years, it sure would not shut up about itself.

            1. It’s all Bush’s fault.

            2. To be fair, many of the people in that war had some profound experiences to relate. Admittedly not as interesting as your skateboard heroics but interesting to some nonetheless.

              1. your skateboard heroics

                In my day, skateboards were for little kids. Nobody over 15 would be caught dead on one.

            3. WWII still hasn’t shut up about itself either. Nobody cares about Korea.

      3. The fact that the average age was 25 does not negate the statement that some of them were 19.

        1. But it does support the statement that the average age of the Vietnam soldier was nineteen.

          Nineteen.

          N-n-n-nineteen. Teen.

          1. Destruction!

      4. But they did fight free gratis, right?

        1. As Ian McSwearengen said , “Yeah yeah, free fuckin’ gratis.”

    1. Whenever I hear the “greatest generation” phrase employed I wonder what exactly makes them any greater than prior generations who fought in the Revolution, the War of 1812, the Civil War, the western pioneers who fought the Indians, fought in World War I, etc etc.

      As I recall, it was Tom Brokaw who made that up.

      1. “Whenever I hear the “greatest generation” phrase employed I wonder what exactly makes them any greater than prior generations who fought in the Revolution, the War of 1812, the Civil War, the western pioneers who fought the Indians, fought in World War I, etc etc.”

        The fact their enemy was eviler. They basically get to say they’re the greatest generation because they lucked out and got to be shot at by people who were really fucking evil as opposed to getting shot at by less terrible people.

        1. Attila the Hun has a sad.

        2. Most of them were drafted and most of those were in rear area support positions – not front line combat units.

          1. ironic, because now most of them need rear area support themselves.

            1. *steals Swiss’ slitted eye gesture and directs it at CE*

              1. Yeah, that’s a good start. You’re going to want full eye protection though.

      2. it was Tom Brokaw who made that up.

        It was, but in the context of the time they were “The Most Reviled Generation.” They were the squares who hated rock ‘n roll and supported the Vietnam War. From our vantage point now, they oddly look just like most everybody else – neither especially evil nor especially heroic.

      3. Whenever I hear the “greatest generation” phrase employed I wonder what exactly makes them any greater than prior generations…

        Because “Nazis”?

        To me what makes them not so great is the fact that they were also the generation that gave us FDR’s horseshit, and were really the first generation to look first and foremost to government for answers to all their problems.

        1. But who did they compare Hitler to? He was already Hitler.

          1. Your grandma?

          2. I actually saw an article about this a while back. Apparently before Hitler the go-to “most evil guy ever” in the US was usually Pharoh (the one from Exodus).

            1. They never heard of Genghis Khan?

              1. Hey, say what you will about the Golden Horde, but they had a very reasonable tax policy with an efficient enforcement mechanism. 🙂

        2. were really the first generation to look first and foremost to government for answers to all their problems.

          ^ This. They were the generation of Big Government if there ever was one. Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia were just the most rarified expressions of the zeitgeist.

          1. It’s important to realize why. Prior to the “GG,” news, culture, and morality were very much isolated to the local town or neighborhood. With the advent of radio and national-distribution magazines, the urban (progressive) culture of NY and Chicago was spread across the entire country. It didn’t take weeks for news of whatever to spread to the podunk towns across the country.

            Anyway, with that power, the progressive elites sought to conform the entire country to their ideals, and were quite successful at it.

            1. As noted by Bobarian, the GG was politically influential in the 50s. Their parents and grandparents were the ones that caused the New Deal and all that other bullshit.

              It goes to show how quickly the US went to shit. It was shortly after the Civil War that the Constitution started to unravel.

              1. I think the real demarcation point was the “closing” of the American frontier in the 1890s. Before that, there was a limit on how intrusive government could get because people always had the option of pulling up stakes and leaving if they didn’t like it. Once there was no uninhabited places left to go, that limitation was gone.

            2. “It didn’t take weeks for news of whatever to spread to the podunk towns across the country.”

              Before there was radio there was the telegraph.

              I imagine a lot of the podunk towns were hooked up to it.

        3. Well to be fair, they were children when FDR fucked things up. In general, they may have voted for FDR for his last term.

          Their parents and grandparents are the ones who you can blame for FDR.

        4. Wasn’t it mostly the previous generation that gave us FDR’s horse shit? The people who were 18-25 during the war weren’t voting much during most of FDR’s administration. They did take it and run with it, though.

      4. My Dad was a member of said generation, and he was always puzzled by the “Greatest Generation” stuff. The way he saw it, he just did a job that needed doing and nobody deserved accolades for that. In his view that was simply what grownups did in the course of a normal life–whatever came your way, you dealt with it.

      5. They sure did a shitty job of raising their kids.

        1. They sure did a shitty job of raising their kids.

          ^ This x 1000

      6. I wonder what exactly makes them any greater than prior generations

        A few are still drawing breath, so there’s that.

  3. I asked, “Should I tell them I hear the Monsanto plant is hiring?”

    “No,” said the educrat. “Encourage them. Tell them they can do anything.”

    “So I should lie? Have you seen most of these kids? They can’t do anything. Most think Shariah law is a daytime TV show hosted by a no-nonsense judge.”

    Sweet.

    1. Dreams are a great thing, but you know something? They take a lot of energy. But that’s OK. There’s a job waiting for you down the block from your house that doesn’t require a thought in your head or a hope in your heart. So come on down and work for the artificial flower factory. Why fight it? OK? Thank you.

      1. “If you can dream?and not make dreams your master;
        If you can think?and not make thoughts your aim;
        If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
        And treat those two impostors just the same;”

        1. “If you can dream?and not make dreams your master;
          If you can think?and not make thoughts your aim;
          If you can meet with Triumph and DisasterTrump and Hillary
          And treat those two impostors just the same;”

          FTFY

  4. This is the generation of ninth-place “participation” ribbon recipients who post a picture of the sandwich they had for lunch on Facebook.

    Only if middle-aged has been defined down a few years. I think 47 is middle-aged and that doesn’t describe me or anyone else my age that I know. *huff*

    1. Shhh. He’s ranting.

      Better headline? “Old Man Yells at Cloud”

      1. “Shhh. He’s ranting.

        Better headline? “Old Man Yells at Cloud””

        Basically. Most people are idiots, so focusing on THOSE DAMN KIDS THESE DAYS does kind of make you seem like a fogey.

        Mike Rowe says basically the same things this guy says, but in a much more engaging, less assholish way. He also makes this a partisan issue which guarantees no one on the left will ever listen to him:

        “That sort of coddling false confidence is why half of American workers are unhappy and disappointed when they have to work hard at something. They inevitably view themselves as “victims” (a.k.a. Democrats). Intuition tempts us to call this “compassion,” which is really feel-good lies fed to kids that take the onus off them and put the blame on others. It becomes a perpetual excuse.”

        In the Donald Trump era, I don’t think you can argue it’s only Democrats who see themselves as victims, refuse to engage with reality, and scapegoat other people to avoid addressing their own failures.

    2. I posted my my most recent bowel movement on snapchat last month. Does that count? It’s becoming a more and more important experience with each passing year.

      1. Why wouldn’t you do that here instead?

        1. Get with the times dude. Snapchat is where it’s at.

          But maybe I should commission Sugarfree to write an ode.

          1. Kik is superior to Snap, you old geezer. You get with the times.

            1. WTF is a Kik? You damn whippersnappers should just get off my lawn.

              1. OMG u dont no kik? LOL! u r soooo old.

                jk ily. 🙂

            2. But kik was around before snapchat?

    3. Only if middle-aged has been defined down a few years.

      ^ This.

      If people in their mid- to late-40s are committing suicide at higher rates, it’s because we’ve been subjected the longest to Baby Boomers babbling about themselves. The participation-ribbon shit didn’t really start until well into the 80s – the kids immediately behind us.

    4. Yeah, participation ribbons are for millennials and stuff.

    5. You think you are going to live to be 94?

      I figure optimistically that I’m about in the mid-point of life at 38. Of course I’m not going to start going around calling myself middle aged.

      1. I’d better live to at least that old or I’ll be seriously pissed.

  5. Wouldn’t would would would would wouldn’t would wouldn’t.

    1. “Wouldn’t”

      I don’t believe that!

    2. Your standards are too high.

  6. “Public schools are government-run; teachers are government-hired; and government determines standards, pay, curricula and graduation requirements.”

    I remember Ed Clark (1980 LP candidate with VP Mr. Koch!) saying that we wouldn’t stand for the government printing our books, but for some reason we think it’s reasonable that government schools “educate” our children.

  7. virtually universal access to higher education is a good thing

    “Virtually universal access to higher education” – your first boss telling you “here’s how I want this done” and then you doing it the way the boss shows you to do it. Show up on time, every time, clean, sober, ready to go to work, understand that your self-worth don’t mean shit, you get paid by how much you’re worth to the guy paying you. First day on the job and you’ve learned more than half the jackasses out there you’re going to be competing with for a paycheck.

    1. *applause*

      Frankly, I think virtually universal access to higher education churns out a bunch of overconfident, undertrained children in adult bodies.

      If anything, higher education should be really hard to get into.

      1. It is. You know how many facebook likes its takes to get into Princeton nowadays?

        1. Lul

  8. the systematic stigmatization of trade and craft jobs that are plentiful and well-compensated

    Tesla has the answer to that problem.

  9. “I agree with Rowe that virtually universal access to higher education is a good thing”

    Why? A huge percentage of people who go to college don’t actually learn anything that renders them more productive and don’t undergo a rigorous enough humanities education to get the benefits of the liberal arts. As a result, the country would probably be better off if fewer people went to college. Expanding the number of college students has heavily diluted the curriculum because they’re chasing the lowest common denominator and people wind up blowing tremendous sums of money when most of them would be better off if college were reserved for people who needed to learn a STEM skill or who wanted a legitimately rigorous liberal arts education.

    1. I read that as “access” meaning within reach if you’re worthy of it, as opposed to the old days where you might be worthy but you had no access because you couldn’t afford it, you were the wrong color, etc. Because the other reading makes no sense in the context of everything else I have heard from him.

      1. Okay. Usually when I hear “we need to improve access to higher education!” they mean “we need more bad students to help with grade inflation while playing beer pong for 4 years!”

        1. I agree & I read it your way at first too. Hell, “access” these days usually means “free shit”.

          1. Another word ruined by progressives, like “prolapse.”

            1. Dang, Sug. You are killing it today.

              1. I credit a horrific lack of sleep.

    2. most of them would be better off if college were reserved for people who needed to learn a STEM skill or who wanted a legitimately rigorous liberal arts education.

      ^ This. Or just let the whole system fundamentally transform.

      Colleges and Universities the way they are currently structured are simply anachronistic. They are still fundamentally organized on the model of training younger sons of the aristocracy to be priests.

      I think if the whole sector were left free of government interference/subsidy, we would quickly see a rise in trade and technical schools (even for STEM), and separate, topic-driven adult education for humanities for those who are interested.

      We’re already heading that way with the increasing popularity of community colleges. People get their technical degrees, get their jobs, and then when they hit their 40s often go “you know, I was always curious about Shakespeare, maybe I’ll take a class at the City College . . .”

      Such a system would work infinitely better than what we have now.

    3. “access” to higher education does not mean going to college.

      On the contrary, you can get lectures from Ivy League universities at no cost. Some will also post supplementary materials, and you don’t have to pay a dime for it.

      You can get education that way, just not credentials, or job skills.

      1. Good point. I would say we are pretty much at access to higher education, as long as you don’t confuse “educated” with “degreed”.

  10. …kids who are used to being told that the sky is the limit and if you can dream it, you can do it.

    This is why it is important to show your kids movies from Pixar.

    In Monsters University , for example, no one works harder than Mike Wasowski at learning to be a Scarer (a sort of celebrity job that even has commemorative trading cards with the top Scarers’ pictures and stats), but the reality is that he is just not scary.

  11. Members of the Greatest Generation at age 19 were saving Europe from the Nazis and asking nothing in return.

    Hah! Nothing in return – except “hands off my Social Security and Medicare, you sorry little ingrates! And get off my lawn!”

    1. See, I watched Band of Brothers and I missed the part where they scream “Medicare!” as they jump out over Normandy.

      Fucking Spielberg, always ruining history…

    2. I assume they also expected to get paid and fed and have access to whores.

      1. I assume they also expected to get paid and fed and have access to whores.

        ^ This

        Don’t know ’bout y’all, but my grand-dads joined the military in the early 40s for the lodging and steady meals. Fighting the fascists just sort of came along with it, but wasn’t really the main goal.

  12. We need to start teaching the tenets of economics so kids will stop being tenants in their parents’ basements.

    This reminds of a something a teacher friend of mine once told me about. He asked a kid who was basically your stereotypical entitled millennial slacker “Have your parents finished their basement yet?”

    “No, why?”

    “Because that’s where you’re going to end up living in a few years.”

    *mic drop*

  13. One of my coworkers got a call from his wife last week. She doesn’t know how to put air in her car tires and was stranded at a gas station. She has an advanced degree and credentials out the wazoo.

    Sure, he enables her, but what happened before that?

    1. Wow! That’s fucking crazy. I mean, I guess I’d understand if she couldn’t deal with a flat on the side of the road, but to not know where the air nozzle goes? Did she not have a bicycle growing up?

  14. Oh, good, another opportunity to make sweeping generalizations about generational cohorts as if everyone born in some time period is of the same mind.

    1. ALL BOOMERS ARE SELF-CENTERED AUTHORITARIAN COMMIES

      1. You’re not wrong.

    2. Oh, good, another opportunity to make sweeping generalizations about generational cohorts as if everyone born in some time period is of the same mind. grew up with similar cultural events and milestones that, while not the end-all, is certainly a factor to consider when looking at how societies behave.

      I don’t think anybody here is dumb enough to think that every [insert generation here] is the same, but being able to talk in generalities is useful when it is truly descriptive. I don’t know why that gets so many people’s hackles up. Yes, as a whole, boomers act differently than millennials. Yes, as a whole, men act differently than women. It’s not a crime to recognize those differences, while keeping in mind that they’re just generalities.

      1. This. We’re talking about the bellshaped curve, not the outliers.

  15. K-12 is THIRTEEN years. Can no one do arithmetic any more?

    1. This also! Government Ed strikes again!

  16. Great sentiments but Nick’s quotes are from the newspaper column, which does not claim he spoke like that to the kids,

    When my son brought his first girlfriend home for dinner, she described working for an Associate Degree at a local community college. Her major was airline reservations. My wife excused herself and left the table. Later, I learned it was not a potty run. She worked in reservations at United Airlines. She’s nowhere near as fiscally conservative as me, but she was LIVID … and in pissed … that taxpayers were paying to train her for a job she could get tomorrow, and be trained on United’s dollar. That was the early 90’s. I can’t imagine how much worse it is today.

    And among my liberal friends, they all HATE Bernie’s free college for all. Two of them are quite outspoken on the overall lack of personal responsibility in today’s young people. (gasp) Not all liberals fit the stereotype, just as all evangelicals do not.

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