A friend of mine put on Facebook an article called "Why Generation Y Yuppies are Unhappy." It's from Wait but Why, a blog I've never read before, so I don't really know what the author's (or authors') angle is. As a representative of Generation Y (as defined by this guy--I always thought I was a GenXer) who is generally pretty pleased with myself, I thought I'd see what the buzz is.
Without stealing the guy's thunder, he makes the generalization that a person's happiness is the difference between how they expect their life to go and how it actually goes. The lives of people of my age or younger have turned out to be much more difficult than we expected them to be. He places responsibility for this on our unrealistic expectations, caused by a ridiculously successful period with the Baby Boomers. Also, we all think we're special.
I make it a point not to read the comments of non-education-themed blog, but I suspect I wouldn't have to go far down before somebody blames public schools for the destructive "I'm special" idea that everybody 35 and younger supposedly has. "Can you believe they give ribbons to everybody at track and field day?" "Everybody has to be recognized, so nobody gets any attention." And so on. I suspect strongly that this straw man I've chosen to attack would like the alternative even less. The alternative is schools (public and otherwise) choosing who is special and who isn't. And, honestly, if there's one thing we've demonstrated beyond any doubt, it's that we're no good at predicting who's going to be successful. It's true that not everyone is "special," as the author defines it. It's equally true that anybody could be, and it's not my job to tell someone they're not.
So I'll keep making sure that every kid in my room gets caught doing well once every two weeks and preparing them as best I can for a world that doesn't care how clever their memes are.
PD The blog in question is hosted on huffingtonpost.com, which strongly suggests that the author himself is a Gen Y Yuppie. For what it's worth.