Our obsession with elite colleges is making our kids feel worthless


Julie Lythcott-Haims in Quartz:

In Palo Alto, California, in the heart of Silicon Valley, our adolescents kill themselves at four to five times the national average. The majority of the children who have taken their own lives have put themselves in the path of the CalTrain whose tracks cut through the very center of town. But their deaths only temporarily halt our community’s forward momentum.

As both a Palo Alto parent and a former Stanford dean, I believe it’s time for Silicon Valley to confront a heartbreaking paradox. We’ve sown a set of educational, technological, and economic opportunities that are meant to shape a brighter future for our own children, our nation, and the world. Yet growing up here can make our kids feel hopeless and helpless about whether they actually have any chance of attaining the grand futures we have in mind.

In theory, parents want to know what’s going on. But when The Atlantic’s Hanna Rosin published a thoughtful, in-depth analysis after coming to town to interview teenagers, educators, clinicians, and families, the outrage over her article rivaled the outcry that followed our most recent spate of suicides.

How dare this “stranger” try to tell us about our own community, people complained in emails and social media posts. How dare she suggest that our problem is not simply severely depressed kids who didn’t get the help they needed because of a lack of resources and social stigma?

More here.