A new lost generation: Disengaged aimless and adrift

More than a quarter of America’s school-aged children were. Absent from school 10 percent or more of the time last year. There’s no shortage of explanations on offer for this surge in “chronic absenteeism. Mostly blaming the Covid-19 pandemic and its aftermath: lockdowns; lowered expectation; health and hardship; bullying and school safety issues. Remote learning and “Zoom school” made attendance optional, which is a hard habit to break. A letter from U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona to chief state school officers a few weeks ago cited “multiple, often interconnected factors” for chronic absenteeism. High school students, he wrote, might face “competing demands such as staying home to be caregivers to younger siblings or a sick family member or working outside the home to support themselves or their families.

While that may be true for some

Number of students, I fear there’s a Egypt Phone Number List larger and even more troubling trend at work. A New York Times report, circling but not quite landing, came closer than Cardona when it suggested that “something fundamental has shifted in American childhood and the culture of school in ways that may be long lasting.” Since the start of the school year, I’ve been visiting schools and talking to educators about faltering school attendance and learning loss associated with the pandemic, which vaporized twenty years of achievement gains at a stroke. I’m left with a nagging sense that we’re misreading chronic absenteeism almost entirely. It fits a larger pattern of young people absenting themselves not just from school, but from life.

Alarm bells ring

Phone Number List

When young people leave the rails Indonesia Phone Number List poor decisions, and live recklessly, driven by uncheck appetites for pleasure, wealth, or status. But as my AEI colleague Yuval Levin observe in a disquieting essay for The Dispatch a few years ago, disorderly lives now seem “less like exorbitant human desires driving people’s lives out of control and more like an absence of energy and drive leaving people languishing and enervated.” Worse, this lassitude is mask by data that can make it appear things are actually improving. Teen pregnancies and out-of-wedlock births might be down, for example, but that’s because marriage and birth rates are declining overall. Fewer teenagers die in car accidents because fewer of them are getting drivers licenses. “There is less social disorder,” Levin concluded, “because there is less social life. We are doing less of everything together.”

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