Are We Really The Dumbest Generation?

Uh oh.  Some people think this generation is getting dumber than the ones before.

Best selling author Mark Bauerlein thinks the generation of teenagers and young adults under 30 are being turned into know-nothings because of technology and a lack of motivation. He explained his theory in his latest book The Dumbest Generation.

According to Bauerlein, the intellectual level and capability to complete and understand daily tasks are dropping – significantly. He says kids today can’t think for themselves and can’t even perform simple mechanical tasks such as sewing and mowing the lawn.

Penn Manor Junior Brian Geer responded simply to this idea: “I’m not stupid.”

New generations are being judged through academics. Photo courtesy of

Although some students admitted they find a way around using even the simplest household appliances.

Regarding our generation’s pull tab cans, Geer said,  “You don’t even need a can opener, just upper body strength and powerful thumbs from flipping channels on the TV.”

Other students struggle with an array of household chores.

Taylor Breidenbaugh said that she doesn’t know how to sew.

Senior Bethany Dickert doesn’t know how to mow her lawn but claims, “I’m not allowed to go near my lawn mower.”

She also said she doesn’t know how to defrost a refrigerator or freezer.

But besides duties outside of school, what about academics? Despite the accusations of being a bunch of dumb teenagers, Penn Manor excels in ways that are very apparent.

According to school records, 45 students graduated with honors in 2006. This figure rose to 85 in 2009. As far as AP classes are concerned, 136 students were enrolled in 2003. This number rose to 145 in 2006 and sky-rocketed to 390 in 2009.  Students in the class of 2009 took a total of 97 college classes.

In contrast, Lancaster Newspapers reported that Penn Manor’s SAT Scores have declined in all three categories this past year.

Critical reading? Minus 32 points.

Mathematics?  Down 24 points.

Writing?  Subtract 36 more points.

Altogether our district scored 92 points lower, pushing us down from the third spot in the county to the twelfth.

Along with Penn Manor’s SAT scores comes the Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) reviews. Pennsylvania Department of

Reports from the Pa. Dept. of Education show that only 71.5 percent of students scored proficient or above proficient in reading and even less, 58.9 percent were proficient in mathematics.

SAT scores of schools in South Central Pennsylvania. Courtesy of the Lancaster Newspapers.

PSSA test results recently came back as well. These revealed that Penn Manor’s math scores increased, reading scores stayed the same, writing scores dropped and the worst decline was in science.

The state is expecting 100 percent of students to be proficient in reading and math by 2014.

Many students here at Penn Manor have strong opinions on the criticism being hurled at their age group. Senior Kaitlyn Imel decided that, “It’s simply adjusting to social norms and technology.”

Other students like Caitlyn Whirt took offense to the article written by someone in her parent’s generation.

“They raised us. They shouldn’t be criticizing us, she said.”

Maybe this year will be the time to expunge our nickname of “The Dumbest Generation.”

By Christa Charles

4 thoughts on “Are We Really The Dumbest Generation?”

  1. Don’t blame it on the generation. Blame it on the fact that less educated, less inteligent people reproduce in greater quantities than educated, intelligent people. Generations will continue to become “dumber” until natural selection takes its toll.

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