This news article published yesterday:
In a state where the youth voting rate is even worse than the dismal national average, more than half a dozen Kansas teens are running for statewide office in 2018 — a sort of viral movement against apathy that could, in theory, make a high school student governor.
Naturally, adults are trying to stop it.
Naturally. Because that’s what adults do. Squash the ideas of our youth that do not fall in line with the status quo.
George Couros, in a presentation to parents, asked if any of their children want to be YouTubers when they grow up. As was expected, a few people made an audible scoff at the idea. And yet, people are doing it. In 2017, the average salary of the top 10 YouTubers was over $10 million a year. Entrepreneurial people who saw an avenue to create content that expresses their creativity have turned an outlet in to a source of income.
And now, teenagers in Kansas, after finding a loophole in the Kansas state laws, are running for Governor. Not because they want to make a mockery of the state, but because they know they have a voice worth hearing. Jack Bergeson, a 17 year old Junior, explained his reasons for running in written testimony to the state legislature: “Allow me to clear up a misconception: I am not running for governor as a stunt, or a gag. I am running for governor because of the minimum wage worker that has to work three jobs just to get by. I am running because our education system has been lagging behind other states. I am running to get money out of politics. But most importantly, I am running to get as many people involved in politics as possible.”
Jack, and others like him, are looking for ways to make their voice heard. To fight against apathy. To make a difference. They are tired of living within the confines we have placed upon them by our systems, structures, and beliefs. They are ready to start building their own. And as educators, it is our moral duty to equip them with the skills they need to do so. What is the point of teaching facts, history, math, science, etc if they are not also taught how to create new knowledge, new experiences, new ideas and amplify those to the world?
I agree with George when he says that we should be helping students find their path. There should be nothing “natural” about blocking their way. Especially not in education.
One day, I hope articles like this one will read: Naturally, adults are trying to help them pave the way.