Teens expect to work hard, be rich

August 14, 2001 | By Kim Folstad

Wake up and smell the competition.

If baby boomers were worried that tech-savvy Gen-Xers would take all the good jobs, wait’ll they get a load of the “millennials,” the name for the newest generation of kids.

Not only are these youngsters gadget-wise, they are book-smart—taught to be tested thanks to accountability reforms imposed on schools nationwide. Despite continuing concerns about what children are learning—whether whole language or phonics works better for young readers, and whether anyone can actually teach math at all anymore—both SAT and ACT scores increased in the late ‘90s, and a record number of students took the college entrance and course placement exams in 2000. According to Neil Howe and William Strauss, authors of “Millennials Rising: The Next Great Generation” (Vintage Books, 2000), today’s teens are smarter, more ambitious and more motivated than either their boomer parents or their older siblings.

They are also “a consumer behemoth, riding atop a new youth economy of astounding scale and extravagance.”