I've made no secret of my hatred of teenagers. I'd link to my past post where I call teenagers one of God's all-time top-five worst ideas, but I don't feel like it right now. Just take my word, it's there somewhere. Somewhere in all the crap, it's there.
Anyway, here's something to file under "counter-intuitive": a Vox article entitled "Today's Teenagers Are the Best-Behaved Generation on Record." It's not ironic, and it's not satire. This is supposed to be legitimate.
What is their evidence? Well, the teen birth rate is way down. But since the birth rate isn't the pregnancy rate or the abortion rate, I had to look a little more. Turns out that all three rates are at record lows right now, as is the abortion ratio, which is the percentage of teen pregnancies that end in abortion. Teens are less likely to get pregnant, and when they do they are less likely to kill the baby.
Also down are teen drinking and smoking. And more teens meet federal exercise guidelines, although it's unclear to me if those guidelines have changed over time (a common practice among government agencies to show progress or remain relevant).
So what's the deal? Are teens really better now than ever before? I'm hesitant to say yes. Fewer teens are doing the things we don't want them to do, but fewer are also doing the things we do want them to do, like learn-ding. More stay in school than ever before, and more are going to college than ever before, but test scores are either lower or rigged by changing the exam. College students require remedial courses in ever-increasing numbers. And kindergarten has become a full-day learning endeavor, while in my youth, kindergarten was a half-day play-date that still found time for a nap. (I remember being freaked out by my sleeping classmates. These kids were in kindergarten and they were still napping?!)
So kids are spending less time playing, less time being deviant, and more time being instructed, but they are still getting dumber. The wheels are turning faster and faster, but the vehicle is going slowly backwards. Like I noted once about schools' "good citizen" awards (not looking it up, go find it yourself), what's really happening is teens are getting more-easily controlled. And since that's the goal of state education, the only reason we should be surprised is that a state enterprise actually produced its target outcome.