The Long Transition to Adulthood" by Ellen Goodman expresses today's need for more "adulthood training" along with our adolescent school socialization. This essay is an insight into the evolution of education and how our methods of socialization lack instruction on the transition into adulthood.
With an informative style, Goodman persuades the reader that our school systems are not effective in teaching life skills needed to operate in the adult world. She asks us the important question, "How do we become men and women?" She believes that it is left solely up to the schools to produce adults today, and that is not sufficient for a well-rounded, responsible, self-reliant adult.
Goodman reminds us that in the past, there was no in-between period when a child was not quite an adult but not a child anymore. "Americans weren't legally adults until they turned twenty-one but they did important work on farms by seven or eight."
She compares the family to a vocational guidance counselor. The author traces the events leading us into the Industrial Revolution and Depression showing the reader the increasing value of an education and the decline in family influence. Goodman shows what little emphasis was put on the actual benefits for the children, but the economy when deciding to end child labor during the Depression. Child labor had "become and economic menace." By pointing this out, she emphasizes the lack of benevolence put into the initial phases of public education and little concern for the lessening influence of our "vocational guidance."
Goodman makes reference to the fact that school boasts to youth a promise of better jobs in return for perseverance and studiousness. As a result, she tells us "school is what young people do for a living," because without an education in today's workplace it is...