I recommend keeping all your angsty teenagers away from Rebecca Solinit’s seductive, persuasive column in Harper’s Magazine calling for the abolishment of high school. If I had gotten my hands on it at age 16, I would have quickly become a devoted convert, relentlessly proselytizing my parents to get on board.
Thank goodness I didn’t read it at 16.
As painful as high school was for me, it’s an experience that I now view as, if not indispensable, incredibly useful in helping to understand myself and the world. Here’s why that awkward, humiliating, and, above all, tedious passage to adulthood is good for us.
Solinit begins the essay by explaining how she skipped high school herself and wonders what she missed. She argues that widespread bullying and an alarmingly high suicide rate are grounds to scrap our current education system for teenagers. But because her goal is to diagnose, not cure, she isn’t too specific on how exactly we should educate those aged 14 to 18.