WASHINGTON – It’s report-card season for teenagers all over the country, but they aren’t just getting grades: They are getting revenge.

A national survey of young people lets them turn the tables on grown-ups by awarding their own grades. This year, the teens said, adults earned a mere C minus on listening to and understanding teenagers and for trying to stop them from drinking.

In its fifth year, the National Teen Report Card on Adults asks teenagers across the country to grade adults on everything from “being honest” to “protecting the environment.”

In some areas, the adults just do not seem to be getting the message: Their grade on listening and understanding slipped from a C last year.

“They don’t really listen to us,” said Charles Kuykendoll, a 14-year-old from Chicago who helped present the report card at a news conference Tuesday. “But maybe if they see it on the news, then they might.”

Since 1999, adults have not managed an A yet – the highest grade this year was a solitary B on providing education – and they have only inched up from an overall C to a C plus.

From 1999 to 2003, more than 35 percent of teenagers failed adults on protecting the environment, getting rid of gangs and stopping young people from smoking, drinking and doing drugs. The teens rated the grown-ups the highest on providing education and creating job opportunities.

The report card, based on a national survey of 1,000 teenagers ages 12 to 19 by Teenage Research Unlimited, is meant as a wake-up call and a tool for improving communication between adults and teenagers at home and in school.

“Young people have too many options. There are things out on the street that excite them; it’s like the siren’s song. Part of the lure to stay in school and get an education has to be that they have a voice in it,” said Paul Vance, the superintendent of the Washington public schools. “I made a note that we might take off from this and conduct our own internal survey as feedback for our own staff.”


Six focus groups of teens in Chicago came up with study tips for diligent adults:

-Give less information and listen more. Offer choices and reasons for doing things and let teens make up their own minds.

-Adults who are deceptive set a bad example for teens and foster similar behavior.

-Do not protect teens by lying.

-Adults should not tell young people not to smoke, drink, join a gang or have sex if they are engaged in similar activities or did the same as teenagers.



(c) 2003, Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services.

AP-NY-06-24-03 1906EDT



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