Kids These Days

Kids these days with their screens and their Snaps.
Kids these days with their hoodies and their tight pants.
Kids these days with their short attention span and their potty mouths.
Kids these days with their constant questioning of authority.
Kids these days with their hostile rejection of polite society.

Back in the day, when kids needed information, they had to ask an adult.
Back in the day, the teacher did the talking and the student did the listening.
Back in the day, it was “no sir” and “yes, ma’am,”
or it was the principal’s office.
Back in the day, the kids were not violent,
but the teachers and administrators were.
Back in the day, waistlines were high, belts were on,
and shirts were always tucked in.

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Kids these days with their low pregnancy rates.
Kids these days with their aversion to tobacco.
Kids these days with their declining rates of alcohol and drug use.
Kids these days with their anti-bullying campaigns, Gay Straight Alliances,
and Black Lives Matter.
Kids these days with their unprecedented interest in civic engagement.

Back in the day, we didn’t talk about sex and that allowed us to believe
that kids were not having any.
Back in the day, we declared a “War on Drugs” and created a
“school-to-prison pipeline.”
Back in the day, the students smoked in the courtyard,
and the teachers smoked in the lounge.
Back in the day, lesson plans for gym class included a game called
“Smear the Queer.”
Back in the day, kids openly mocked people with mental
and physical disabilities.

Kids these days with their consensual relationships.
Kids these days with their body positivity.
Kids these days with their hashtags and their social activism.
Kids these days with their openly critical views of capitalism.
Kids these days with their strong penchant for changing the world.

Back in the day, we taught boys that “maybe” meant “try harder.”
Back in the day, we taught our kids not to question the intentions of the 1%.
Back in the day, we taught our kids that people like MLK
were a danger to our society.
Back in the day, we didn’t teach “political correctness.”
We told the marginalized to “get over it.”
Back in the day, we didn’t believe women.

Kids these days with their “unsatisfactory” standardized test scores.
Kids these days with their reluctance to embrace corporate education reform.
Kids these days with their startups, coops, collectives, and communities.
Kids these days with their crowded classrooms and underpaid teachers.
Kids these days with their categorical rejection of 45.

Back in the day, we didn’t have to try so hard to hide our racist motivations behind where kids went to school.
Back in the day, kids were taught the American dream
and the virtues of a middle class white society.
Back in the day, we elected racist bigots on a regular basis.
We just didn’t call them that.
Back in the day, we made a long term plan to destroy public education.
We called it “No Child Left Behind.”
Back in the day, we spent a lot more money on education,
and asked a lot less from our students.

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