Let’s Ask The Kids

This post is a reaction to the previous one. While I am not sure that Mr. Rogers is at fault, I think that there is something wrong with the kind of power we seem to be giving kids– one that often comes with little interest in instilling knowledge or responsibility in them.

The Heinz Foundation for example just dumped $17,000 into a project to get the input of 40 Middle school kids on ways to create a vibrant downtown. It looks like most of the kids have never lived in Pittsburgh and that their average age is around 13.

“Marissa Maddigan, 13, of Munhall, said her group favors eliminating vehicular traffic in Market Square”.

“Students also suggested allowing buskers; cleaning up graffiti and litter; posting more police officers; and holding winter hot-chocolate festivals and ice-sculpture competitions.”

For the most part, the ideas printed made sense and showed a lot of creativity. The concept of asking for young peoples input and active involvement is also very valid. But what kind of lesson is being taught about taking decision making seriously. Urban planning is a critical issue that will affect the future of the region. Are the kids studying for several months or years to look at the history of the city? Are they traveling to study other cities or exploring the case history or logic behind their opinions?

The suggestion, for example(the only blatantly dumb idea they printed) to put in skywalks is in fact a proposal with a long record of failure in many cities since it helps to remove and not add people to the street while the idea of eliminating car traffic in Market Square needs some a lot of study.

I am not sure if Mr. Rogers is at fault or just kids but we don’t seem to be a society that takes thinking seriously anymore

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