26 November 2003

reason # n to stay middle class: otherwise your kids will be miserable.

ok, that's not actually (entirely) the point of the article i've posted -- it's about a crackdown on cheating in a westport, CT, high school. but the cheating itself is at least partially a product of the sorts of pressures rich kids face: do as well as everyone else; go to a college with a fancy brand name; etc., etc.

HOWEVER, there's something very wrong with this poor-little-rich-kid approach. it doesn't question their affluence. none of the students, parents, teachers or administrators in the article thought that a bit of perspective might be a viable solution. i tend to think that a big part of the problem in communities like westport is their isolation from the struggles that most people face. "community service," mentioned in the article as just one more thing these kids are overburdened with, appears to be only a burden -- something these kids are doing because they have to do it to get into the particular college they have to get into.

it would be nice to see these folks become part of the community of an inner-city school, or a midwestern public school, for a few weeks. obviously, that amount of time probably couldn't teach them to have respect for non-professional work (another subtext of the cheating-in-westport story) or to truly recognize their own ridiculous affluence. but maybe they'd get a small glimpse of what it looks like to achieve because you want to, not because you have to.