Today's high school seniors are different than the graduates of years ago. Students are changing in significant ways due in part to a variety of racial, cultural, and economic backgrounds. Differences in graduates are occurring for many reasons, but I believe it is mainly due to today's technological environment in schools and the evolution of family structure.
Practically unknown a decade ago, the virtual world has become commonplace for students. The high school students of today have evolved during this new information revolution and computers are clearly reshaping education. The Internet is a powerful tool for learning as it is an incredible source for information. Traditional research tools and sources found in libraries have recently been supplemented by the information available on the Internet. In 1999, 54% of high school seniors agreed that they have used the Internet for research or homework, where as in 1989 the percentage was only 8%.
As the Internet expands into classrooms, resources from all over the world are available to students. Never before have students had the opportunity to access so much information so quickly or easily. Technology has broken the barriers of class, race, ability, and disability that once existed for students.
Another reason for this change in high school graduates is that over the past 20 years family structure seems to have changed dramatically. I believe that parental involvement is one of the most overlooked aspects of education today. Most families now spend more time out of the home, usually at work, and they're spending less time with their children Single parents and mothers returning to work have also created a loss of time with children. In today's society, independence is forced upon students as a result of the responsibilities they are given. Consequently, kids now days feel more pressure. In 1979, 13% of high school graduates stated that they frequently felt overwhelmed by all the things that they had to do. In 1999, that percentage increased by 17% to 30%, more than doubling in twenty years. Many graduates today have the increased pressures of maintaining good grades to get into college, have the pressures of being popular, and some have part-time jobs. All of these factors put added strain on them. The change that happens because of this strain is that these days, kids are expected to grow up faster than their parents did.
Today's high school graduates are different because of the technology available in schools and a change in family structure. Computers are unquestionably changing the way students are learning in schools. The Internet not only gives them access to information that was not readily available years ago, it can also bring together worlds that are thousands of miles apart. The growth and change of family structure has also changed over the past twenty years. The higher expectations of children brought on as a result of more responsibilities have raised demands on students. High school graduates are changing and will continue to change in years to come as society evolves.