Denile of Service Part 2
- 80% of 16 and 17 year-olds work at some point before graduation. 1 61% of teenagers work during the school year.2
- Youth pay taxes but have no say about how much or how that tax money is spent.
- Youth will be deeply affected by decisions about social security, but cannot vote to insure that the money they contribute today will be there for them when they retire.
- Youth have strongly held views about the environment, but have no voice in determining the leaders who must protect it.
- Youth are most directly impacted by education policy. As students, they have the best perspective to determine what reforms are needed but have no input in deciding what changes are made.
Youth Have the Maturity Needed to Vote
- Youth become physically mature at an earlier age. For example, the average age of puberty has declined from 16 ½ in the mid 19th-century, to 15 in 1900 to about 12 today.3
- Today’s youth are smarter than their parents’ generation. Studies conducted by Professor James Flynn have shown that IQ scores grew by 17 points during the period 1947 through 2001, with the increase accelerating to 0.36 points per year in the 1990’s.4 In other words, a child scoring in the top 25% in an IQ test today, would score in the top 3% of an IQ test in 1932.5 Experts have suggested an explanation to this trend: the explosion of new media, television and particularly the internet, which challenge youth’s cognitive senses and problem solving abilities.
- Youth are treated like adults in many respects. 16 year-olds are allowed to drive in 48 states.6 Youth 16 (or even younger) are tried as adults for serious crimes in many states. As a result, the number of juveniles in adult prisons grew by 47% during a mere five year period (1990-1995).7 If youth can be punished like adults, they should also be given the rights of adults.
Let’s face it today’s youth are much more advanced than those of even ten years ago. It just has that ring of unjustness about it, which millions people who contribute to our country in undeniably significant ways have absolutely no personal say in the running of the nation that they contribute to.