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A Response To Mike Barnicle This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   The column by Mike Barnacle in the kick-off issue of The 21st Century was misplaced, juxtaposed in a den of contradiction.The issue featured Mr. Barnicle as a "guest columnist," but it appears to this reader that the column was not originally composed for the magazine. The obvious marquee value of The Boston Globe writer was, most likely, the motivation behind including such a reprint. As a high school newspaper editor, I must admit the column serves its ostensible purpose. It was intended to arouse thought or debate on its content, and for me it has. I can't help asking, "why this particular column? "

In the middle of a paper which, by its premise, shows the abilities of local youth, Mr. Barnicle can be found with what reads like an epitaph for the nation's teens. In the column, he catches himself in the revolving door of hypocricy by the very introduction. "Nobody asks, AWhat do you have for homework?'" he contends disdainfully, noting what appears to be only a surface interest by parents about their children's school work. Mr. Barnicle is quick to point out the shortcomings of today's families, but has he done his homework? His column suggests that there is an assignment all of America is not doing which is causing our students to fail, but does he even begin to suggest a solution? Has he asked what he can do to help heal the wounded educational beast in the United States?

I have an assignment for Mr. Barnicle: he should take a look around, not 180E toward the problem, but 360E back at himself. He might notice his reprinted column is nestled among two heartfelt editorials on abortion. There are kids all over who want to make a difference, despite their painful educational shortcomings. Recognizing a problem is a good service, yet recognizing a solution is an even more valuable one.

America, undoubtedly, has real problems in the very structure of her society which may retard the growth of her youth. Perhaps even the students featured in The 21st Century will find themselves insufficient when they venture out to challenge students from around the world. iIwould hope, at least, that they would be able to take with them the confidence that a positive role model can provide. Once more, I ask Mr. Barnicle to look around. If you want to make a bad situation better, start with yourself. In education, you must pick up a student when he falls down instead of noting that he has stumbled and therefore leaving him behind. Give kids a chance and they'll strive to excel; The 21st Century proves that. n


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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