Hey kids — it’s time to put away childish things. Unless you want to end up working in some Appalachian sweatshop, making Nike Airs for a billion wealthy Chinese (whose parents had the foresight not to indulge their own children with summer vacations)…
“But when American students are competing with children around the world, who are in many cases spending four weeks longer in school each year, larking through summer is a luxury we can’t afford.”
But seriously folks, we could try this. We could go whole-hog and start them in school at, say, 12 months. And keep them in school (or in multimedia interactive pods or something, which might work even better) year-round. And cog-enhance them with the latest, bioinformatically-tweaked amphetamine derivatives.
Because we don’t want them to fall behind. I heard the South Koreans now bring their kids to these special schools, shortly after birth, where they stay till age 35, and are taught 24/7/365 by unblinking robots and emerge with, like, four PhDs each. Are we going to let those upstart Asiatics whup us when it comes to education? No way, Jose.
Granted, it won’t be fun for the kids. Their brains didn’t evolve to grow that rapidly; their skulls are literally too small to permit it. But on the other hand, we can give them full-strength Tylenol in their school lunches. And anyway think of all the progress we’ve made — by cutting back on the whole childhood thing — since the late Pleistocene, or even since the 60s when the schools got out, like, the first of June and didn’t start again till September! Folks, if we do this our children may wince in pain now, but eventually they will thank us!
And even if they don’t, it doesn’t matter. It’s not we who are doing this! It’s Evolution! It’s the metamind of our culture, wisely nudging us to stay competitive, to produce more and more, to consume more and more, to push that GDP-meter ever higher. And if we have to (I think we may, quite soon) we’ll just leave the flaws of flesh-and-blood behind and become fully post-human.
To stay ahead. Or at least to keep from falling behind.