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'Millennials' on America's Future

College students and supporters demonstrate against cuts to higher education at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif., Thursday, March 4, 2010. (AP)

Lots of new survey data out on young Americans, age 18-29, the so-called “millennial” generation. They have way more tattoos. We knew that. They have way less certainty they can pay their next tuition bill.

Millennials voted two-to-one for Barack Obama in 2008. Now they’re taking stock, in their own way, of everything. Big goals? Traditional: to be good parents, in a good marriage. Social views? Very open: on sexuality, race, religion. Politics? In flux.

This hour, On Point: we sit down with young Americans for their views on what can and should come next for this country.


John Della Volpe, director of polling at Harvard University’s Institute of Politics. He directed a recent survey of “millennials,” Americans aged 18 to 29, on their political views and prospects for the future. He is founder and CEO of SocialSphere, a strategy and technology company focused on millennials.

Joshua Sargent, 22, senior at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. Originally from Portland, Oregon, he is studying international relations.

Marcela Garcia-Castanon, 25, a graduate student at the University of Washington doing research on young people and politics. She is originally from Arizona, the child of migrant workers.

Charles Mitchell, 27, works at a non-profit in Washington that is focused on education. He identifies as a conservative. We first met Charles in 2003 when he was a junior at Bucknell University in Pennsylvania and was president of the Conservative Club.

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  • cory

    I can tell the millenials what they can look forward to in terms of employment.

    1. You’ll be in a “to the death” cage match against the impoverished masses around the world for jobs and benefits. They will have a distinct advantage over you, because they come from generations of impoverished people, whereas you come from a decaying economy where we are used to having plenty.

    2. You don’t really have any unions to protect you, as they have mostly died or become emasculated in America.

    3. Your government won’t help you, as they are beholden to business and have always supported globalization.

    4. You’ll be saddled with paying for the retirement of the baby boomers, who for the most part squandered our massive post WWII economic advantages.

    5. If you can deal with the above, and are in the top 1-5%, you can be wealthy beyond all expectation. You’ll then be entitled to tell the rest of us that you are self made, shouldn’t have to pay taxes, and that the rest of us should “pull ourselves up by our boot straps”.

    Welcome to your inheritance! You’re welcome!

  • John

    If the conservative was so supportive of the wars, why didn’t he enlist?

  • Ingrid

    Many of these “millenials” who profess uncertainty about their future prospects and tuition bills are also the same millenials who walk around with iPhones and Powerbooks and designer clothing. Their “water-cooler talk” is more likely to center around the latest YouTube viral video rather than national or global events. They fret about college tuition, yet most of them grew up feeling entitled to a college degree. Misery is relative…

    –Ingrid, 29, Boston

  • libby@sertoron.edu

    I am a member of this ex-genX generation.

    Worried about my future, but not in a senseless way. After spending many useless hours on checking my friends pictures on Facebook, then I discovered a gentlement named Richard Gage. His cause has changed my life; I have a better mission in life.

  • Anna

    As a 25 yr old college student homeowner and mother I have been influenced by the hyper-comsumerism of the 30-55 yr olds with the new cars, credit card debt and keeping up with the jones’ mentality. I think more and more of my age group is coming to the conclusion that this lifestyle is unsustainable and there is a mistrust of the media and advertisers in so far as how we are influenced or the decision to ignore these influences. Most people I know have had the “fear of god” put into them as far as thier dealings with mortgage brokers, loan officers, and financial advisors. I think this knowledge will lead us to better decisions then our parents made in many regards, and motivate us to deeper factfinding and information gathering when we make signifigant life decisions.

  • Pierre

    While we are coming of age during a time of great challenge and uncertainty, there are also untold opportunities to face the world’s problems. We live in the most interconnected time in the world’s history.

    Knowledge truly is powerful. Like never before, we can face societal, economic, global, and political problems as responsible citizens rather than relying on Washington to do it for us (consider stakeholder focused companies like Whole Foods or Patagonia).

    I think this combination of dogged, grounded optimism in the face of our current reality is indicative of our millenial generation.

  • Mike

    As a graduating theater major, I, like most artists, are feeling the tug between the security of a full time job or the risk of trying to make a living through our art.

    I would love to be a “starving artist” and be able to devote all my time and passion to theater, but the plain fact of it is that that’s not even a remote realistic possibility anymore.

  • Jon

    One of our problems as a generation (I am 28) are the problems of the Boomers. I mean this both in an ideological way – that we are, as a country, unable to get past Boomer arguments (as Obama said in a jab at Secretary Clinton – but also in a material way. Boomers just won’t (and most can’t) retire. Those who had retirement accounts rising in the late 90s have lost hundreds of thousands of dollars and are clinging to their careers making it unable for us to get entry-level career positions (even though many Millennials are better able to meet the demands of new economies than the Boomers who hold power).

  • Joyce

    Are the only voices for the “millenials” college students?

  • A Gen X Guy

    Dear Millenials:

    Don’t worry about it. You’ll do fine. Every new generation to come around has been acccused of being selfish, lazy, and uneducated. I remember being your age and having the same stuff said about my generation. And as I peruse through old newpapers, I read the same things have been said about each and every generation.

    Now look at my generation. We are responsible for the ‘internet’ craze (even though it was invented in the 70′s). Just look at the generation that had to go through WWII. They did fine as well.

    It takes time to figure things out. In in time, you’ll criticize the next crop of youths too!


    An X Gen Guy.

  • mack magee

    Everyone keeps opining (really maligning) conservatives for not putting forward programs to answer today’s problems. This is willful ignorance. For just one example, go to Paul Ryan’s Roadmap for America. There are many others. This oft heard comment is a shorthand way to dismiss the conservative point of view by people to lazy to look for suggested solutions. You, Tom, let this slur ride each and every time it is said, and I know you know it’s not true.

  • http://www.larsgrantwest.com Lars

    I’m astonished that America in general is so disillusioned with what the president has done. There’s this expectation that after little over a year the Obama administration should have turned this country around. The country is like a car that’s gone off the road and is sliding down a muddy slope. Just stopping the car from sliding, much less turning it around and starting the trip back up the hill, takes a herculean effort. People seem furious that our collective car isn’t back on the road and driving around with the top down. Americans seem want what they want and they want it now, but there don’t get, for whatever reason, that we have to pay for it. If you neglect to change the oil in your car for five years you HAVE to know that it’s going to cost a lot to replace the engine when it freezes.

    We need to collectively back a plan and see it through.

  • Ange

    Yes, why are the “millenials” represented only by those who have access to college. Might have been a much more interesting conversation if there were “millenials” reflecting various class, racial and life experience.

    What is represented here are a couple of ill-informed kids who have very little useful feedback to provide.

    I also wonder why the conservative didn’t enlist.

  • Anna

    It is interesting that the guests seem to have had thier education paid for by thier parents and seem rather ungrateful. Theres alot to be said for the many 20 somethings putting themselves through school and support themselves while doing it.

  • Wait one minute…


    Why not challenge Charles Mitchell on his assertion that Bucknell University provided him with a lesser education than his grandfather got in high school in Philadelphia?

    I think a lot of conservatives are uncomfortable with how education has changed. There is no singular narrative they can hold on to, so in a way students are now more accountable for weighing evidence and drawing conclusions. His grandfather likely got a singular view of the world, from an American point of view.

  • Susan Mojica

    Dear Millenials:

    to help you evaluate the issues (#’s 1-3) and how you can get involved (#4):

    1. Find out about Austrian Economics, key to our future:


    2. Many authors on many issues:


    3. From Switzerland – The internet is key and MSM does not an informed person make:


    4. Finally, one way to get involved:


  • Karin Vukovinsky

    I am of Gen X.

    As I listen to the comments about selfishness of millenials, I think that perhaps what we are seeing is their youth. EVERYONE is selfish and self-centered in childhood and youth.

    I think the most marked difference that I see in Millenials vs. generations who came before is the prolonged childhood. They marry later and are more entwined and dependent on their parents for much longer than previous generations.

    I have hope that as long as the Baby Boomers (truly the ME generation) and Gen Xers can live up to our responsibilities of leaving our children with a better world, the millenials will be set to speed up with new technologies and new opportunities – a whole new economy.

  • Dave Emerson

    Why the heavy focus on what political party is most popular? I think this really limits the conversation. Let’s get away from these severely limited labels and find out what these young folks think about big issues: energy, war, global climate etc.

  • http://makingthesong.blogspot.com Christopher Patterson

    I think, as a “Millenial” it is refreshing to hear of people in my demographic whose mind isn’t solely on such trivial things as “Jersey Shore”,the latest Pop/Rap artist, clothes and material things. We need to be aware of our world and our country because it will be our inheritance. Who wants something tarnished or damaged? We need to be more cognizant.
    College Sophomore
    Canisius College, Buffalo NY

  • Jeff

    As one of the first generations of American’s which think being gay is just like having brown hair, I refused to pass on life’s milestones which straight people may take for granted. I have taken a male to prom, talked about dates around the water cooler at work, and now look to take on the last big battle – Gay Marriage. With homosexuality on trial right now in CA (prop 8), I see my future much like many other repressed minorities (woman, blacks, ect) – dedicated to fighting for my rights and removing hate and discrimination in local and national politics. It looks to be a life long battle, and I am looking forward to it.

    Jeff 26

  • Renu

    This conversation is no different then the one that nearly every generation has in their 20s. It is about the same that I had 20 years ago. What disturbs me is that these are problems that happened over years and by conservatives and liberals alike. Also why success fueled by the thought of material wealth.

  • Jesse

    I think that we are in a time of royalty again. The gap between rich and poor is huge in these current times. From tv shows like MTV’S Sweet Sixteen to Keeping up with the Kardashians. The wealth is so in your face today it is disgusting. The kids of today measure there self worth based on the job they hold and their social status.

  • Steve

    9/11 isn’t what defined my generation so much as the reactions. I was a freshman in high school and didn’t know what to make of it, but we were defined by controversy over wars, profiling, the patriot act, the y2k recession.

    Secondly, this is a generation of entrepreneurs and that is where I find optimism for out generation.

  • William

    Dear Millennials – The fact that Ronald Reagan is an abstraction to you means that so are Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Vietnam, John F Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Eugene McCarthy, Robert F. Kennedy, and so on. Reagan is icon-ized and even idolized for the usual rhetorical and emotionally lazy reasons. He can be remembered for tax cuts, deregulation, republican acceptance of large deficit spending and gifted, friendly yet bellicose, TV savvy PR. I’m 57, and Reagan is not among my greater political influences, plus or minus. Be careful what you buy.

  • Jason

    Conservatives more then ever are very knowledgeable about the Great Depression and history. Because of this we know that the policy’s that Obama is pushing prolonged the great depression and WWII was what pulled us out of the depression. Countries that didn’t enact socialist policies that made people dependent on the government didn’t have a Great Depression, only a Depression. Your guest should read more about the depression of 1920 and the depression around 1980 because I would like to correct this depression in the same ways we got out of those troubled times,and not prolong the depression like was done throughout the 1930s

  • Bobby

    This country appears to be doomed. We produce nothing.

  • Janet

    You are going to work so get used to the idea.

  • Wait one minute…

    Caller Brian is right. The reason why schools are failing is because they are pushing technology as a substitute to deep (pre-cold war) thinking.

    More information is not necessarily better. It is good to have multiple perspectives, but you need to go deeply into each one. Teachers need to help direct students to quality representative texts, so students are not in a row boat in the middle of the Pacific.

  • Anne

    I am a 25 year old ‘millenial’ who has painfully watched as myself and my peers sink deeper and deeper into debt that is unavoidable in this new age of consumerism—where you can (and will) have everything you want. When I say unavoidable, I mean that in two ways:

    1.) We (as a generation) are burdened with the ever rising cost of a college education–forced to take on tens of thousands of dollars in unsubsidized federal education loans to get a degree that will allow us to secure a job that pays enough to barely get by.

    2.) Our corporate enterprise-focused country depends on the credit card more than we do. It used to be that a credit card was to be used as an emergency fund; used carefully and with respect. As it turns out, it creates billions of dollars of ‘monopoly’ money–allowing us to buy, buy, buy–funneling it into corporate America and allowing our economy to stay afloat. Credit is not backed by gold (as is cash.) Instead, it is backed by our lives.

  • John

    I agree with your guest Charles. Wages are at an all time low. Medical costs are at an all time high. Higher ed costs are ever increasing. All around cost of living (food, shelter, fuel) is at an all time high. Debt is at an all time high. Something has got to give.

  • Jason

    Wait one minute… you and th Caller are RIGHT!

    I solute you and wish more people would realize this.

    Take all computers out of k-8th grade and the students would be better. They would be less distracted and they would have to think and not search.

  • Jason M.

    It’s interesting that our would-be historians never seem to go beyond our “founding fathers” to consider the early philosophies that continue to guide us. The notion of “happiness,” for example, isn’t some new thing that comes with “selfish youth” or a culture of excess. It is integral to our capitalist and utilitarian values as conceived by Adam Smith and Jeremy Bentham. Critical thought requires going beyond what might be convenient or comfortable.

  • Jason

    John, something will give. Unfortunately the Fed has been monitizing the debt for 1 year now and running the printing presses in overdrive. Not long from now we will see deflation followed by massive inflation…. Hold on for the ride

  • Sara Giannoni

    It is so frustrating to hear the “American Dream” described in material ways! Isn’t it more a general sense of freedom and optimism, ingenuity? For some this has results in money, lots of money but it doesn’t have to. Doesn’t it more importantly result in the satisfaction that we’ve had the freedom to develop ourselves in the way that we choose and remake ourselves if need be. This time, although scary for some, can be a great opportunity to remake one’s self.

    Another point, so many people these days are concerned about the debt, but when it’s their program that might be cut, that just won’t work. We have had our cake and ate it for to long, that might be over, it seems over for now. This is the time for creative problem solving, not just for the government but for each of us. If we don’t want the government to control us then when cannot expect to look to it every for all of our problems. Who really knows how far the government should go, everyone thinks they know, but if the government is not helping you find another way.

    On and unrelated note, I heard people now upset that they voted for President Obama. We all interpreted “hope and change” in the way that worked for us, yes he talked big. Now depending on who you listen to is trying some big stuff, he is acting bold in some ways. The catch 22 of this country is that for any decision that’s made, there will be at least 20 people who are going to think that it will bring the downfall of something that’s important to them. We, at least some of us, voted for him, now it is time to put pressure on him and our congress people, put pressure where people are blocking what you want to get done. This part of the process, we don’t just vote and change the world, voting is just only one piece of the puzzle. I’m not convinced that demonizing anyone does anything but polarize, we certainly don’t need that! There are many things that I want done that have not happened but there is a lot to do, and a lot of people there intensely disagree with me. We need to find ways to continue the conversation in a constructive way.

    Thank You.

  • Todd Mercural-Chapman

    It’s important to realize that our generation did not just fall from the sky. We are a product of our upbringing. There is a chain of causality. We were instilled with values of our parents and the other members of our generation who have shaped society over the past 40 years. They were shaped by their parents. Materialism and selfishness did not begin with us, it was taught to us and positively reinforced.

    In terms of our relationship with technology, again we have to look to our education. Computers have been an integral part of my education since elementary school, and certain classes in college required participation in online discussion. Obviously we did not shape our own pedagogy. Electronic devices are “Technology is the future” is what we have always been told, and now we are running with it.

    Service was also something instilled into us. I am 28, educated at a reputable liberal arts school, started a political non-profit and canoed the entire Mississippi River to encourage youth-voter participation in the 2004 election (its success due largely to modern technology in terms of fundraising, PR and communication), served two years in the Peace Corps from 2006-2008 and I am still unable to find meaningful paid work. While service has been encouraged and, at times, required by the generations shaping our education, I have yet to see other members of that generation recognize the value in that service when reading a resume or discussing experience at a job interview. I am currently a nanny for my nephew, serving my family. Eventually, though, I will need to make a living, and I am not confident selflessness is even on the radar of mainstream Human Relations departments.

  • Ren Knopf

    The Millennials on this show would do well to pay more attention to what is being done and has been done and by whom. I heard much rhetoric being parroted. Rhetoric which has been said to obfuscate, confuse and, to be blunt, mislead the public. To name but a few: the claim that the current health care my be passed by underhanded means by Dems – yet the majority of bills passed by simple majority have been by Republicans. Medicare was one such bill. Government growth and spending have increased under Republicans – but the old labels stick. Why? Until the voting public stops playing the fool and refuses to look behind the proverbial curtain, pols will continue to say one thing and do something else. When “death panels” no longer have traction; when folks know better than to say: “keep government out of my Medicare;” when comments like: “defeat health care and we can break Obama” are remembered and taken for the party mandate they represent; when voters actually have a clue what is actually going on; perhaps then real “change” will begin. Until then, expecting immediate differences in Washington behavior is simply foolish. Can Millennials do this? Will they?

  • scw

    I am a Milennial and I am somewhat dismayed at my generation’s attitude towards work and the devaluation of the college degree. We are a very highly educated generation, but very few of us can change the oil in our car or tackle a plumbing project in our home. The skilled trades have been so stigmatized and college education so glorified that many of my peers avoid trade jobs like the plague. My peers and I have been told that the key to being successful is to go to college and get an office job. I and my peers have bought into this. Consequently it seems that bachelors degrees are now as common as high school diplomas were in previous generations. Now our society has some of the most credentialed restaurant staff and bar tenders but few skilled plumbers and electricians. I learned this first hand while living in Fort Collins, CO in 2005. I constantly heard public service announcements pushing kids to go to college and telling them that a degree was the key to getting a job. Then when I looked through the classified ads, I found openings for mechanics, plumbers, electricians, house framers, etc. I discovered that no one cared about my sum cum laud BS degree because you could swing a cat and hit someone with the same education as me. My degree might as well have been printed on toilet paper. I ended up working in a deli before I decided to return to school to earn my master’s degree. I was happy to have a job, but I felt pressure to do something more. Now that I am finished with my MS, I am back in a similar situation in a different town and a worse economy. I guess the moral of the story is that the market is flooded with people with undergraduate degrees and the radical kid who learns a trade will have more opportunity to get job and be economically secure.

  • Todd

    “This country appears to be doomed. We produce nothing.”
    Posted by Bobby

    Oh, but we do! We are the world’s #1 producer of DEBT!

  • Wait one minute…

    Todd Mercural-Chapman,

    you raise excellent points, and I hope you think you are not being attacked from all sides. I am gen x and I stopped searching for meaningful work many moons ago. The only thing meaningful now is politics. Live frugally, one room studios, rack up no debt, buy used, start a book club like caller Brian says- here’s some some good gen x authors: Naomi Klein, Raj Patel, Jeremy Scahill, Jeff Shartlet. Also, in our defense, we never meant pop culture and technology to be a way of life; we were just messing with it.

  • Wait one minute…

    And don’t knock crap jobs, you’ll learn more about labor rights and immigration from crap jobs than you can on campus.

  • http://www.filipinoboston.blogspot.com akilez

    What about Boomerang Generation those kids who graduated College are Going back to live with their parents.

    I’m 41 yrs old I am a Generation X. The 90s was a great decade for me. Lots of Jobs and no recession.

    I am now competing with Baby Booomers,Generation Y and the Boomerang Generations for a single position.

  • http://www.filipinoboston.blogspot.com akilez

    What about those people who are over 65 years old and still working?

    Are these the way We Americans Live. “Work until we drop” It doesn;t make any sense why work until We die.

    Life is not about work or money. Get sick for 2 days and We need a doctor’s note to get back to work if not We get fired. If a person is sick he/she is sick.

    Life in America is buy a car or house and pay those Material stuff until the age of 100. Life in America is not about white picket fences. It is how to survive until We pay of Our Debt.

  • Wait one minute…


    at 41, you came of age in 1990, pre-NAFTA. The increased competition comes from the fact that everyone wants a white collar job because there is nothing else.

  • http://www.filipinoboston.blogspot.com akilez

    Wait a Minute

    We are the same don’t get me wrong. I also have basement room,used cars and Value meals for lunch and dinner. I live very frugally, the last time I bought a pair of Jeans was 5 years ago for 15 buck by Michael Kors when Filene’s Basement started closing.

    After leaving the Philippines 1993. I saw my salary increase every year (remember that SSS info they sent you ever year)from $10,000 in 1993 to $37,000 in 2009.
    I am proud immigrant but not so proud to see Americans who were born here in the land of milk and honey.

    The CLOSING OF PUBLIC SCHOOLS all over United States are not a good sign for the future generations of Americans.

  • Brett

    I liked that the millenials on the program and in calling in were respectful and appeared to have decent listening skills. I live near a university and come in contact with a lot of young people through teaching music. I find that many young people care about their communities and what is happening in their government.

    Unfortunately, many young people only get really involved in politics when there is a presidential election. They don’t generally turn out for state and local elections. I also see that as far as Left vs. Right among young people goes, the conservatives are much better organized as a block. Young liberals/progressives seem to want to engage more in armchair discussions, and if it isn’t sexy to get out for a local city council election, or even a senate race or gubernatorial election, they aren’t going to get involved. So, this probably won’t bode well for Democrats in the mid-term elections.

    With regard to the one guest’s talk/sense of a loss of innocence in his generation (9-11), in my younger writing experiences, I wrote a lot about loss of innocence. It is a pivotal point for every person/generation. My generation had JFK’s assassination, as well as MLK’s and Bobby Kennedy’s; we also had Vietnam, as this generation has had 9-11, Iraq and Afghanistan. We had a perceived threat by the “Red Menace,” this generation has “terrorism.” We had more hope for a secure financial future, though (however misguided that may or may not have been) than this young generation. In the late 1970′s the “Young Republicans” began to organize and re-envision the US/world view; the “Religious Right” began to organize. Today, there is a new crop of young conservatives and young folks who wish to have their religious views more represented in politics; young liberals are more sensitive to environmental needs and in government representation that is inclusive…in a sense, there is nothing new, though. (In 1980, after Reagan was elected, John Lennon had been murdered, Jesus was being invoked more by conservatives than hippies on communes, and Dylan had been a born-again Christian for about a year, I remember thinking, “what in the hell is going on!”) I hope young people think long and hard about what kind of governance they want for themselves (albeit the choices seem dismal).

    Every generation in many respects has had to wrangle power away from the previous generation. It is not handed to them. This new generation will have to do the same. I wonder what form that will take and how it will manifest itself over time. (For example, in the 1960′s, I don’t believe people could have guessed or thought that the Boomers would have turned out the way we have!) In many respects my generation is on the threshold of being over, of beginning to relinquish power to a younger generation.

    Good luck, and sorry for the inheritance! Although, we did some things in an attempt to bring about equality, embrace diversity and respect the environment; I hope you guys continue on with that…

  • Wait one minute…


    I don’t doubt you made good after 1993, but remember NAFTA was just the beginning of a series of trade deals all of which take time to impact the economy. This wealth or debt, depending on your outlook, was built upon the availabilty of cheap goods, which disguised the erosion of the job market. People got different jobs, but those jobs were unsustainable- and you hear that word “unsustainable” often from millenials.

    Now Obama wants to create an export economy. What are we going to export, our good looks? Arms? Old computer parts? Oh, I know, our great health care system.

  • http://www.filipinoboston.blogspot.com akilez

    The Richest Man in the world from Mexico didn’t even know how use the internet. But he’s worth 2 times than Bill Gates and the other rich man.

    Try the Labor world like assembly plant techinician that makes $25.00 to $55.00 an hour with no college degree, or try being Janitor in a Hospital in Boston and make $17.00 an our plus 1.5 times evening shifts.

    So, what if you clean Popo everyday. it FEED your hungry stomach,pay your student loans and avoid eating Value meal Wendy’s or BK is from Texas.

    But that’s not the case in America.

    who wants those jobs that I mentioned?

  • Todd

    “The CLOSING OF PUBLIC SCHOOLS all over United States are not a good sign for the future generations of Americans.”
    Posted by akilez

    Not necessarily. America has been reaping what its pathetic public education system has sown. If the vacuum left by the demise of the current education system yields the opportunity for a better system to fill it, then perhaps we should hasten the closings. We need schools that teach students HOW to think, not WHAT to think.

  • http://www.filipinoboston.blogspot.com akilez

    Yes it is. A Public Education in America is the back bone of poor minorities in America.
    Eradicate 35,000 Public schools in America and what do you get Majority of poor kids will be out in the streets.

    Public schools means Free education for those who cannot afford Private schools. Close the public schools and where do you think those kids will attend school
    15 to 60 miles to the nearest Public from their homes?


    Yes it was proven in Boston 6years ago that Public school teachers need better education than the students. It is the other way around my friend

    Ask public school student who is the Vice President of United States of America and I bet he/she won’t even know. Why? because of the TEACHERS not students.

  • josh

    I am 27 and am unsure of the future. I believe what end of the stick you are. Socially most of my ilk of the same age are, unaware of what is going on in the world. More concerned with American Idol than American finacial situation. I am in the sector of the that is mostly derelict inits enviroment due to the fact of the shrinking manufacturing sector. Anybody looking for a job is fighting for scrapes which hinders the younger generations. As a whole I think even so depressing this might build character. Maybe even humble us. I don’t see the future of milenials because, the future is unwritten. Also maybe we will “harden” with the continuing conditions, and presume the American Dream is just that a dream. My only advice is this right now don’t go in to debt. If you can’t afford it don’t do it.

  • http://n.a. Mary K. O’Brien

    I listened to most of the program this a.m. I am 80 years old, a veteran of public school education, the civil rights and anti vietnam war struggle, the womens’ rights fight etc.

    And I am appalled that none of your young panelists mentioned the terrible Wall Street crimes that have led to the current debt/unemployment crisis. Last nights’ 60 Minutes program outlined the criminal activity of banks and multi millionaire Wall street executives. The education (ivy league?) of these young adults seems to have excluded an economic analysis of today’s problems. As long as the greed of the “robber baron” goes unchecked, the rest of us will pay the bills.

  • http://www.filipinoboston.blogspot.com akilez

    The guest of 60 minutes yesterday was Michael Lewis.
    I quote 60 mins

    If you had to pick someone to write the autopsy report on the Wall Street financial collapse 18 months ago, you couldn’t do any better than Michael Lewis. He is one of the country’s preeminent non-fiction writers with a knack for turning complicated, mind numbing material into fascinating yarns.

    He wrote his first bestseller, “Liar’s Poker,” about his experiences as a young Wall Street bond trader when he was still in his 20s and has since followed up with seven more bestsellers on subjects ranging from Silicon Valley in “The New New Thing” to big time sports in “Money Ball” and “The Blind Side.”

    His new book, called “The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine,” comes out later this week and it explains how some of Wall Street’s finest minds managed to destroy $1.75 trillion of wealth in the subprime mortgage markets.

    “60 Minutes” and correspondent Steve Kroft spent two days debriefing Lewis at his home in California.

    “This was an episode where capitalism was almost destroyed, just by the capitalists. And, in the most sensational way, they were sort of destroyed by their own folly,” Lewis told Kroft.

    Asked what happened, Lewis said, “The incentives for people on Wall Street got so screwed up, that the people who worked there became blinded to their own long term interests. And because the short term interests were so overpowering. And so they behaved in ways that were antithetical to their own long term interests.”

    Lewis, a one-time wonder boy on Wall Street, is about to turn 50 now, ensconced in a hillside compound in Berkeley, Calif. The property has a main house and three cottages and he is much happier writing about business than actually conducting it.

    Asked which book produced the money to buy the home, Lewis said, “This would’ve been ‘The New, New Thing,’ that bought this place.”

    Lewis estimates he has sold “some millions” of books. “I don’t know how many millions. Not John Grisham millions, but millions,” he said.

    He lives in Berkeley with his wife, former MTV News correspondent Tabitha Soren and their three children – a three-year-old son and two young daughters who he takes to all of Cal Berkley women’s basketball games.

    It’s one of the few breaks that Lewis allowed himself over the past 18-months as he dug into the idiocy and negligence that produced the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.

    “I’m afraid that our culture will come to the conclusion, ’cause it’s always the easy conclusion, that everybody was just a bunch of criminals. I think the story is much more interesting than that. I think it’s a story of mass delusion,” Lewis said.

    Lewis’ forte has always been discovering little-known facts and characters that change people’s perception about a story. So when he finally sat down at his computer with sacks full of research to write about this calamity, he had no interest in Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, or Ben Bernanke, or the CEOs of Wall Street’s big investment banks, who he believes had no clue what was going on while it was going on.

    He wanted to tell the story through the eyes of people who were paying attention and who knew that a financial disaster was inevitable.

    “There are a handful of characters who actually had seen it coming and made a fortune off of it. And there were so few of them, and there were so many people who had been on the other side that I thought that I kind of wondered who they were and why they got themselves into that position,” Lewis said. “What they saw. Almost more how they saw.”

    Asked how many people he thinks were in the world who understood what was going on, Lewis told Kroft, “Between 10 and 20 investors at most and this is from the universe of tens of thousands of people who could have conceivably made that bet.” Unquote

    copy right 6 Mins

  • Wait one minute…

    Consider the sources people. The attacks on public education are not necessarily motivated by those who want to improve education, rahter those that want to privatize it. By privatizing education, one can control the content. When you hear a guest like Charles Mitchell claim that his Bucknell education was worthless, that should tell you that there is something more behind his “concern” for education.

    On the one hand libertarians want to home-school or promote vocational education and on the other you have people who want public education to die.

  • http://JoshuaBrownandhisgeneration Elizabeth Steiner Milligan

    To Joshua Brown

    Re: His comment that members of his generation – at least the ones he knows personally – do not feel they have to earn more than their fathers to be considered successful

    Comment: I would urge Joshua to think about why he refers only to fathers.

    Says a lot.

    Oh – other than that – I would agree, for sure.

  • http://www.filipinoboston.blogspot.com akilez

    I remember one of my friend mentioned his public school teacher in a remote island in the Philippines.

    He said I wouldn’t be a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing graduate if wasn’t for my teacher.
    Who sacrificed her salary to buy us text books,pencils, school bags and snacks. His teacher only made $4,000 a year in 1983.

    She sacrificed everything to educate my fellow students. even the laziest student was to become successful one day.

    If wasn’t for his Public School Teacher. he will not be out of the hole and will still be in poverty.

    for my friend he is now working in England as a trauma nurse and the school teacher is still there in that remote island in the Philippines.
    The cycle of life still continues for that unsung hero.

  • http://wbur.org Kathyah

    Anne – I have difficulty swallowing your post. Did you attend a private or public college? If private, why not public? Did you come from a one- or two-parent household? Though more challenging in a one parent home, did your parent(s) live within their means?

    I ask because, just 20 yrs older than you, my parents did not allow me to take out school loans (my parents and I each paid 50% of college). Their perspective was ‘no loans for them, no loans for me’. They (my dad enforced it) taught me to live within my means. Best lesson I ever could have had.

    If you (or anyone) listens to 96.9 Sundays from 9-12, you will hear the hosts of ‘the best money show’ instruct parents (mostly) to look for public education.

    RE: credit cards. Again, parents taught me to live within my means. There is ‘stupid’ debt and ‘smart’ debt. Smart debt has assets behind it (home or car). Stupid debt doesn’t (not in substantial ways)

    The biggest reason I have trouble swallowing your message is you say you were ‘forced’ to take on debt for college – as if you had no control over the situation and it was not your fault. It removes 100% of responsibility.

    Akilez – I’m 45. Born in 1964. Depending on who’s quoting the birth year of ‘boomers’, I’m either a boomer or not a boomer. You’re considered Gen X? RE: older people still working/please move on so ‘we’ can work – I had this conversation with my dad at around age 28. It doesn’t change. Thanks for your 60 minutes quote. Something to look for :)

    RE: happiness. Could it be the commenter meant ‘in a job one likes’ as opposed to ‘a job one despises/hates’?

    A large part of the issue has to do with millenial parents not setting proper boundaries for their kids way back when and/or CONSTANTLY showering them with praise – even if it’s unwarranted. This contributes to the ‘extended childhood’ Karin mentioned and the boomerang generation mentioned by akilez.

    Public education – public schools need to be evaluated. Individual teachers need to be fired. And, yes, some schools need to be closed. This does not exclude the charter & all the other ‘silo’ schools from the same responsibilty of review and addressing.

  • Wait one minute…

    I would love for John Della Volpe to study the differences in political viewpoints from those who came of age after NAFTA, during ther WTO protests and the like. I never hear millenials talk about this unless they are from another country, which is why I am a little confused about his findings re:millenial globalist facebook users vs. baby boomer-gen x American firsters. You hear two of your male guests talk about theimportance of understanding this country’s history. But do they see that history in an international context? I think gen x does. We learned a lot from immigrants.

  • http://mickeycoburn.blogspot.com Mickey Coburn

    Listening to the Y generation callers on your show — we have so much in common! And I’m 70 years old. Looking for a job; had to work since I graduated college in 1960 and still have to work. I appreciate so much the efforts of our new President and his efforts on behalf of us all. It doesn’t help to bitch and moan. If we take hold of every day and look out for each other, it will be a good life for all our generations.

  • Lynne

    How about instead of firing hardworking teachers, we fire the absent parents that don’t have time to read with their children for 15 minutes/night, can’t give them a decent breakfast, complain that “it’s the other kid’s fault” every time their kid misbehaves, blows off parent-teacher conferences after the teacher has rearranged the schedule for them, can’t take them to the library; But! – have plenty of time to get their nails & hair done, talk on their cellphones, hire limos to drive their 5th grader home from her graduation ceremony, buy their kids all kinds of junk food, buy tvs/computers for kids to be on in their bedrooms, unsupervised (but, quiet, so they don’t bother the parent). They also have time to tell their kids how gifted they are, how adorable they are, and how terrific they are – constantly. Meanwhile they get mad when the teacher refuses to dumb down the learning for a capable child instead of letting them be a little uncomfortable and have to actually listen, read the directions, and think hard to figure something out independently. It’s very easy for parents to blame everything that goes wrong on a teacher or a school – it’s never their fault that their child never does their homework, comes to school without a coat, is sent to school sick, is dropped off late for school 2 -3 times/wk., doesn’t return a teacher’s phone call or sign a note sent home about academic or behavioral issues, and tells their child that everything is the other kid’s/teacher’s/principal’s/school’s fault, and shows no respect for the teacher or school.

    Parents send their kids to school too early “because he’s soooo smart”, but meanwhile he is running around the classroom like, well, a four year old when they’re supposed to be entering kindergarten being already five. Parents take their kids out of school for the yearly Disney vacation, not during the school vacation week because it’s “too crowded” or “too expensive”, but for another 7 – 10 days, or send them to Brazil for 3 weeks with their aunt in the middle of the school year (how do they afford this when they get free lunch?). They are offered free tutoring right across the street at the public library, but say “no, thanks”. They’re offered free MCAS prep sessions before school, but don’t show up. They’re offered summer school, but they don’t show up even though there’s also free transportation.

    There may be some teachers that need to be better trained, but there are many hardworking, dedicated teachers that go above and beyond for their students everyday. Today, they not only have to be educators, but also social workers, psychologists, nurses, behaviorists, caregivers. . . In my district, we are held to high standards, and are accountable to everybody – and that’s fine, that’s the job. I work 9 – 11 hours a day, bring work home over the weekend, and take grad courses over the summer. I also plan new curriculum over the summer, and am back in my classroom early in August to prep for back-to-school. We are observed every other year, have to recertify every five years, and are strongly encouraged to participate on committees, mentor new staff, make parent presentations, plan and implement authentic service learning projects, and create and maintain a webpage or newsletter for our students and their parents. In MA we are required to have a master’s degree, but we have never been paid like other professional employees.

    Please don’t blame everything that’s wrong in our society today on teachers. There are other people in our children’s lives, and their first and most important teachers are their parents.

  • Bush’s fault

    Tom and staff: thanks for yet another great segment. Unfortunately, it was hijacked once again by the chronic moaners who can’t overcome their poor education and career choices. Still…lots of other wisdom available on the comment board.

  • http://www.fireflit.wordpress.com Eva

    Although I am not a millennial, I am almost 14, I find that I experience many of the things that you are talking about. I check my facebook, twitter and blog a few times a day, I support Barack Obama (see blog), but I do know where this country has come from. When I started American History, my first assignment was to find quotes about history, the majority of quotes were along the lines of: History repeats itself. As a person who is in a private middle school in New York, I think that my generation is merging into the millennials. My age group (born 1996/5) was in kindergarten when 9/11 happened and I remembered it. We are close to the last people who will remember this event, however I do not identify with an America of destruction but with an America of hopes and bright futures.

  • Ellen Dibble

    Lynne (teacher in MA), you mention you are “strongly encouraged” to “plan and implement authentic service learning projects.” What’s that…
    I was very interested to read every bit of your report. I am also in MA, and as a court transcriber have paid a lot of attention to care and protection cases, where schools have a lot to deal with (along with everybody else). And I have volunteered in afterschool programs and summer programs with children in a community that surely produced difficult students. Everything you say about parents and children rings true.
    I tend toward a suspicion that the deteriorating environment might be behind it (food additives… is there something in the water??) Just remembering the situation gives me topical attention-deficit disorder or something like it. Terminal alert attentiveness but to the wrong things: terminal distractibility. It can’t be good for the IQ or career readiness.
    Thank you for your service, teachers.

  • Mary

    This segment had so much potential, but it really fell flat because it ultimately lacked the socio-economic and cultural diversity that I think one caller on air was alluding to. I would have really liked to hear from people in this generation who didn’t go to college, or who have young families at home, and see if they were nearly as optimistic as these panelists seemed to be.

  • Elizabeth

    I am a gen xer, born in 1981. I did not go to college right after high school; I got married at 18 and started a family at 21. Now, at the ripe old age of 28 I am: enrolled at my local community college working on an OT degree, sharing joint custody of my six year old daughter with my ex husband, remarried, working full time in an administrative position in state government (10 years with the state in october).

    I have no true regrets, only because I’ve chosen to learn from my mistakes and made it my mission to improve my situation in life and hopefully the lives of others.

    Everything I do, every choice I make, every avenue I pursue…is for my daughter. I had a rough childhood, and continue to struggle with parents who are unstable and dependent.

    I have tons of passions and ideas and opinions. I like my life and I try not to worry about the future for myself or my daughter, but I also don’t burry my head in the sand.

    I want to make a difference one day, and I’m confident that I will. I can’t say whether or not I trust our government or our President because I’m still learning. The only thing I can do is continue my quest for knowledge, remain an informed citizen and VOTE based on that knowledge.

    I support gay rights and abortion. I’m not a Christian, but I don’t support religion being removed from schools either. I don’t eat/buy meat, eggs or dairy unless local or organic. I read to my child (almost) every day, and have since she was in my tummy. I value education and hard work. I don’t have much debt, even though I’ve supported myself since I was 17. I’ve been addicted to drugs, then addicted to recovery, suffered from mental illness, then advocated for sufferers, failed miserably in school, earned honors in school.

    Am I optimistic? Yes and no. Yes because I am in control of my environment/choices/ideas. No because there are still way to many people “in charge” that are miserable and irrational, which inevitably trickles down for society to deal with.

    That is my semi-story,
    Elizabeth from VA

  • Fran, 25

    Liked the segment on your show, I felt the discussion could’ve kept going! Yes, I’m fairly optimistic, yes I’m pretty anxious about our economy & my day to day. But i think the thing that really hit home for me was a realization (a little crushing I might add) that people in charge might not really know what they’re doing. I mean when you go through your most of your young life with adults that seem prepared (teachers with their lesson plans, parents instructing you what to do, etc), it’s a hard pill to shallow, when you think to yourself….ok…it’s apparent they have no idea of the mess they made or how to get out of it….And it’s certainly not to say that I have the master plan either but it’s time for me to buckle down, get informed & make smart decisions. I feel like this generation is & will become a generation that strives to reclaim our great american tenacity, but reclaim it in a way that’s sustainable for everyone, not just ourselves.

  • Neil 29

    having voted in the 2000 election, what little faith i still had in politics was killed. I have no trust that our government can deliver on anything short of getting re-elected and perpetuating the myth of our society: That we can always grow, that our lives are about wealth and security.
    Our generation will see an end to many things. We all have a choice.

  • purpleoctopus

    I have to agree with an earlier commentator – this didn’t seem like quite the right mix of personalities. The socio-economic gap is so huge – I have friends on both sides of it and the individuals in this piece didn’t reflect the challenges of either.

    One caller remarked quite accurately that financial inequality is the elephant in the room. I was quite surprised by how quickly the topic was brushed considering how significantly it impairs or benefits select groups.

  • Helen

    Audio not working. Look forwarding to hearing in the near future.

  • Lynne

    Thanks for the “thanks”, Ellen!

    Service learning projects are a chance for school-aged children to learn about becoming a responsible citizen, and giving of themselves where there is a need in their local community or another area of the world. The projects may involve: raising money for the local food pantry, where the kids do small chores around home to earn their own money to purchase canned goods, fill a class box with food, and bus over to the pantry to stock the shelves; they may collect gently used clothing and toys to donate to a local shelter; visit a senior citizen’s center to read together and maybe start a penpal relationship with a senior friend; work at a recycle center; or earn money to fill backpacks with school supplies for needy students. Students and teachers may obtain sponsors and walk in an MS or Breast Cancer walk; collect gently used books to send to an orphanage in Haiti; volunteer to read to younger students; prepare and serve food at a soup kitchen; write letters to state leaders about endangered animals; lend a hand painting the local community center; etc. The projects differ according to the age and interest of the students and usually involve all academic subjects, i.e., there is some form of reading, writing, math, art, music, drama, history, and science embedded in the projects. These experiences give students the opportunity to use their problem solving and critical thinking skills in creative and cooperative ways to help others.

    For teachers, these projects often require a lot of planning and logistical prep work to ensure that the projects are led by and conducted as much as possible by the students. Some of the students’ ideas cut close to home for some of their own classmates and families, and sensitivity and confidentiality must be planned for.

    It’s wonderful to see the empathy expressed by children as they begin to look outward beyond themselves, and the strength and pride they feel as they realize that even kids can make a difference in the world or in the life of one person or family in their community.

  • Ellen Dibble

    I’m glad I looked back and found your response, Lynne. I see you’re writing at 9:36 PM, and I’m wishing that more teachers were in some of OnPoint’s forums. Certain topics (politics, religion, some foreign relations) have sort of reached critical mass in that people with different experience and knowledge can be expected to weigh in, just enough yeast to really move the topic. And the producers can bring different approaches with different guests. I notice there is an education topic tomorrow — when all the teachers are teaching, of course.
    It seems to me education could get a boost if forums like this across the country could reach critical mass. Well, I’m sure education is fought over strenuously in every school district, but not necessarily leading where we need to go.

  • Pingback: Teaching The ‘Me Me Me Generation’ | Cognoscenti

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