By Kathryn Wichman
The Bethel High School class of 2012 has students attending prestigious colleges and universities throughout the country, having earned almost three million dollars in scholarships and grants. One would never guess that many of this year’s graduates left kindergarten nearly illiterate. This makes me wonder, are the extraneous expectations and pressures currently on elementary-aged children really for their benefit, or can today’s youth find success without the higher expectations?
In 2010, Connecticut joined 45 other states and three territories to adopt the Common Core academic standards. In addition this year, Bethel joined many other districts nationwide to adopt a full-day kindergarten schedule. These factors, along with many others, are taking a toll on today’s youth.
Increased stress and anxiety in children is the direct result of increased pressures in the classroom; all this anxiety is detrimental to a student’s health. Anxiety.org reports that all this anxiety can lead to sleep deprivation, eating disorders, or depression along with physical symptoms such as stomachaches, diarrhea, headaches and rashes, even for society’s youngest students. The website also notes that stress and anxiety may increase a student’s chance in engaging in destructive behaviors such as drinking or drugs.
It’s a common misconception that higher standards are beneficial to students in the long run. The reality is, second graders should not come home crying about their workload three weeks into the school year.
Today’s educational standards are detrimental to the health and well-being of today’s youth, and quite frankly, as the class of 2012 proves, not necessary for success.