Sweeping a Problem is Bound to Explode: Leon Botstein’s Article Related to High School

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Updated: Aug 18, 2023
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Life is constantly changing, making many beliefs appear to both the believers and non-believers. Leon Botstein, in his article “Let Teenagers Try Adulthood”, shares the perspective of a believer. His article discusses graduating school at the age of sixteen, school shootings, and what it feels like to be an outsider in an environment full of insiders. Botstein is partially correct about graduating high school at the age of sixteen; however, his reasoning is insufficient.

Botstein suggests that it would be a positive adjustment to allow students to graduate earlier, perhaps at 16 years of age.

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He opens the discussion with the increased incidences of national tragedies, particularly school shootings. According to him, the root of these tragedies is the structure of high schools. He opines that the elite – those who play sports and embody society’s ideal of physical perfection – are favored. This bias creates an unbearable atmosphere for the “outcasts.” Botstein states, “The Littleton killers, above and beyond the psychological demons that drove them to violence, felt trapped in the artificiality of the high school world and believed it to be real” (Botstein 134). He then argues for the need to restructure the education system entirely. Doing so will enable teenagers to graduate earlier and pursue their goals.

The foundation of Botstein’s opinion is that graduating high school should occur at an earlier age than it does now. Botstein emphasizes, “We need to face biological and cultural facts and not prolong the life of a flawed institution that is out of date” (Botstein 135). He uses this assertion to justify his idea of a constantly changing society. Many other aspects within the nation are updated often and are effective; therefore, he believes the current school system needs an update to change the severe drawbacks within. Botstein’s logic behind the idea of leaving school earlier is that it will help reduce the incidence of school shootings. He reasons that the small cliques which are prevalent in high school are the root of the problem. In his opinion, these close-knit groups can only be breached with a bullet or a diploma.

Graduating high school early outweighs the cons with pros. Leon Botstein proclaims, “Most thoughtful young people suffer the high school environment in silence, and in their junior and senior years, mark time waiting for college to begin” (Botstein 134). This belief underscores how being in high school until the age of eighteen or older, with the same tedious schedule, can cause students to become less motivated to pursue higher education. Therefore, graduating at sixteen reduces stress associated with having a job while in high school. Trying to juggle work and high school can be an extremely taxing balancing act—some end up dropping all the balls. Receiving a high school diploma at an earlier age would imply a change in the education layout. Botstein posits a bold idea by stating, “We should completely abandon the concept of middle school and junior high school” (Botstein 134-135). Middle school is a part of the education system where students can fail and still proceed, which can hinder their progress and advancement.

Moving forward is an act that a lot of parents had to do in response to these tragic school shootings. Botstein articulates, “Individuality and dissent are discouraged” (Botstein 134). He believes that the reason this is happening is due to the closed groups that exist in high school and the unfriendliness of the more popular kids. This part of his thinking is something that needs to be argued. The students who are implicated in these shootings, as the shooter, have a mental illness that has a deeper root cause than simply being bullied in high school. His proposed solution may seem to be solid, but in reality, it is just sweeping the issue under the rug. Changes need to be implemented within the school walls, not the overall structure of schooling, to address the problem effectively.

Botstein has some logical aspects of an argument, although there are some that don’t add up. He calls for a change in the setup of the education system, with a solution to the high school shootings centered around insiders. A believer is someone who strives to make changes, while a disbeliever just sits and watches with their mouth wide open.

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Sweeping a Problem is Bound to Explode: Leon Botstein's Article Related to High School. (2022, Aug 18). Retrieved from https://papersowl.com/examples/sweeping-a-problem-is-bound-to-explode-leon-botsteins-article-related-to-high-school/