- High school (which has become just a frantic, callow rat race for brand-name college admission) is not an eternal principle of the universe. It was invented relatively recently -- a point solidly made by Jon Savage in his interesting new book, "Teenage" (which I reviewed last weekend in the New York Times Book Review). Age segregation by grade, in my opinion, is a mechanistic atrocity that spawns ruthless social cliques, who oppress and enrage the losers in the provincial pecking order.
As I have argued for years, we desperately need a return to vocational training. The virtually universal conversion of American high schools to a pre-college track over the past half-century has watered down the curriculum to its present deadening uselessness. Lower-middle-class and working-class families who pay taxes have a right to expect that primary schools will prepare their children for a productive life.
My platform calls for a revalorization of the trades (which are related by craftsmanship to the art schools where I have taught for most of my career). Upper-middle-class families should be ready to support their children's unorthodox choice for a career in carpentry, masonry or landscaping.