Disillusionment with Where We Are
Disillusionment among American youth reveals a stark reality about the effectiveness of our current systems, society and a lack of leadership. There is a significant decline in the perception of the mental health of youth. And a bleak outlook on schooling for the future. Traditional approaches are failing to meet the needs of our youth. One in seven teens (65%) feel mental health of young people in their community is poor or fair.
About half of teens believe public schools are doing a fair or poor job. Only 8% see it as excellent. And only a quarter are confident the current school was doing a good job preparing them for the future.
This is a critical opportunity for transformative change. The call is not for superficial adjustments but for a bold imagining of schooling as an experiential, practical, and student-centered experience. And we have pioneers, who have already embraced such models. We just rarely hear about them in the mainstream.
The potential for creating environments where young people thrive exists. These models, ranging from public to private, homeschooling, and international systems, foster holistic learning experiences.
Investing in healthy teachers, administrators and advisors who value youth wellbeing is essential. Pioneering innovators have been experimenting. And scalable, effective models exist. But current government structures, politics at the expense of society and fear of change often block them.
Furthermore, evaluating the narrative around AI and work could open pathways to a future where technology complements human capability. Can it foster a society that values integration over division? This shift requires a collaborative effort with young people at the forefront. Co-creating a vision for life and work that embraces technological advancements in a healthy, fear-free manner.
The challenge extends to political leaders, who can address these issues with genuine, impactful actions that build public trust and dismantle outdated paradigms. It’s a call for courageous, conscious leadership that prioritizes radical honesty and openness to what truly benefits our youth.
Do we truly want young people to be bored, tired, and pressured? What does this say about us?
In essence, the disillusionment felt by many is not just a sign of failing systems but a call for action. Questioning who we trust and creating meaningful change that matters. The question remains: are we ready to step out of the shadows and into a future that values health, holistic education, and a unified approach? The time to act is now, for if not us, then who?