Sunday, December 11, 2016

Elementary age

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It is not new news that Common Core is messing with our students’ homework and frustrating parents nationwide, but evidence is suggesting that the new “standards” are triggering major anxiety issues with our kids as well.

School psychologists in the state of New York responded to a survey released by the state School Boards Association and the state Association of School Psychologists. The results showed about three quarters of the respondents from nearly 700 school districts in New York report that state assessments are garnering more anxiety than local ones.

The amount of testing that students undergo is astronomical. The average amount of just standardized tests students take by 12th grade is 60. That doesn’t include advanced placement tests, quizzes, unit tests, and all the other regular assessments that come along with curriculum.

There have been reports of students becoming physically ill because of the stress of these tests. Some teachers, like the award winning Ron Maggiano, of Fairfax, Virginia, have even left the profession altogether because of how oppressive measure like Common Core have become.

The Left would like to blame the state of the educational system on No Child Left Behind and the Bush Administration, but the last eight years have seen few advancements and the new programs are not yielding better results.

Students’ performance on these tests is severely affected by the level of stress that they incur. Some are even punished academically because of poor testing abilities, even if they are otherwise performing well in school.

Teachers are seeing their work as educators measured by the onslaught of standardized tests that they are required to prepare students for each year. They are being evaluated on how well these stressed out kids are doing. None of that seems very fair.

The scary part is that most elementary age students are internalizing their anxiety about the tests instead of being more obviously distressed. So instead of acting out or expressing concern they are becoming withdrawn and worrying excessively.

Another study concluded that children’s levels of anxiety were in part due to parental expectations as well as pressure from teachers to do well. It can be hard for teachers to not feel as if their jobs are riding on how well their students perform, because that is exactly what is happening. Parents as well are being encouraged to see these tests as a legitimate measure of their child’s abilities.

The only real way to help our kids through this is to not just be involved in their school but to encourage them to see beyond these particular test scores. Until the adults fix this, we’ll just have to help our kids through it.

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