Everything I Need to Know I Learned Before Kindergarten

Here’s some ba-dum-ching! for you from the New Yorker shouts and murmurs blog, a Commencement Address for the Preschool Class of 2014:

As a fellow Excelsior alum, I see a preschool class that is uniquely equipped to solve the problems our world faces. I read some of your admissions essays to get a clearer sense of who you are, and wow. It’s inspiring to see how many of you aren’t afraid to defy convention. The number of you who drew abstract representations of yourselves instead of submitting a boring personal statement—that’s the kind of out-of-the-box thinking that makes you exceptional. …

If you want your parents to know how grateful you are, learn how to code. It’s time to harness the skills you’ve gained from swiping on your mom’s iPhone and sending all of those cryptic e-mails to her co-workers. I’m not going to sugarcoat reality: the competition out there is fierce. For every time you sat on Dad’s iPad and almost broke the screen, other preschoolers were out there building touch screens that don’t even crack. Figure out coding, and you’ll be able to pay your own way through college or, best-case scenario, you won’t even need to attend. Think big picture: you’ll run your house by the time you’re thirteen, and your parents won’t be able to say no when you’re invited to Calliope’s boy-girl sleepover.

In other words, study #STEM! Or get a PhD and someday you too can earn $63,000 as a writer-editor for the Smithsonian.

Though this is funny, the idea of children as young as five being separated out into “gifted and talented” programs is not a joke — New York City public schools start tracking in kindergarten. WTF, NYC? Is that really necessary, or just a way to keep rich parents in the system? Also, wah, I’m totally being mocked: my daughter’s middle name is Calliope.

Students Pissed, Doing Something About It

Marc Bousquet writes about the impressive student protests in Quebec for The Chronicle of Higher Education.

“Should I Go To Grad School?” vs “MFA vs NYC”

Jessica: Also, delicious. So, we're coming at this anthology from perspectives that are similar — we both asked, "Should I go to grad school?" and said, "Yes!" — and different: your graduate work is in academia, and mine was an arts MA. This anthology read (to me, at least) to be focused more on academic graduate programs — PhDs — than a similar anthology that came out in February, n+1's MFA vs. NYC. But the publication of both of these anthologies in such a short time span begs the question: why now?

We Were Poor, And College Was The Answer to All My Problems (Right?)

College was positioned as The Answer To All My Problems from a very young age.