I found myself reading the radio again. NPR has a fine blog and today the link to this article came across my Twitter feed Neil Gabler, the person being interviewed in this article said the following, which really struck me:
We have been taught that a middle-class existence is ... maybe a $250,000 house, and a vacation every year, and a car for each adult, and education for the children. And indeed, those are the very metrics that the commerce department has used in defining what a middle-class life is. But as I point out in the article, if you put a price tag on that middle-class life, as USA Today did several years ago, the price tag for that middle-class life is $130,000. Only one in eight Americans makes $130,000. So the middle-class life that we've all been taught is ours — if only we work for it — is out of the reach of all but a very small number of us.
We better begin to rethink in a serious way what he means to be successful in the United States because very few are going to "make" successes out of themselves. Of course, we also need to also make it so that American wealth is shared more broadly and fairly.
As technology begins to take the jobs of white collar workers, the need for a reimagining of success will be increasingly urgent.
Our best schools can help kids by encouraging learning for its own sake. We could also help reimagine what success means.