The Pressure Mounts

Photo credit: Brandon Grasley (CC-By-2.0)

The day started as it always does … bumping around in the dark.

The coffee was still too hot to sip … and there was this … this mother’s growl in the dark …

“… this morning … find multiple parents complaining about excessive Kindergarten homework 6-7 handouts, writing assignments … and 1.5 hours of I-Ready per week for a FIVE YEAR OLD … high school English teachers … told … there is no value in their students reading an entire book or a Shakespearean play … because there is NO VALUE FOR STANDARDIZED TEST PREP …”

Read that a second time. Slowly … so the craziness is crazy-clear.

Pressure. Pressure. Pressure.

Kids pressured … parents pressured … by pressured teachers. District supervisors pressured by principals who were pressured by superintendents … who were pressured by state magistrates … under pressure from politicians.

Would you like some valium with that coffee? So that you’re comfortably numb?

Not coincidentally, failure was one of Jake’s biggest fears … The relentless drive to avoid such a fate seemed to come from deep inside him. He considered it a strength.”

And, of course, it’s all manufactured madness. Concocted craziness. Ginned-up by this educational lunacy of the last decade.

Education’s deep spiral has now hit bottom. And the thud you hear? That’s your child’s head … hittin’ the wall.

And it gets worse.

Now the madness-makers … the crazy creators … they wanna prescribe the cure. There’s a scary syndrome for that sort of clever weirdness, right?

It’s no secret that lots and lots of kids are falling apart. On every level. A few keystrokes will leave you with enough sad reading for a thousand sips of coffee.

“Alarmed, Jake’s parents sent him to his primary-care physician, who prescribed Prozac … the first of many medications …and some made a bad situation worse.”

And the pressure is more grinding than most understand … because there’s a new twist to this educational waterboarding … technology.

So, there are fewer sanctuaries than ever for children … less time to day-dream … less recess minutes to hang upside down … less giggle time and song time. Less kid time.

No respites. No pauses. And it’s not just several anxious days each spring. It’s everyday. Perhaps several times a day.

It’s competency based education … CBE … and it has your kid on the hot-seat … All. The. Time.

“A few weeks later, Jake locked himself in a bathroom at home and tried to drown himself in the bathtub … He was hospitalized for four days …after he returned home, he started hiding out in his room again. He cried, slept, argued with his parents about going to school …”

And this is the grave new world of education … one of rich monotony and dangerous stress … where kids are squeezed and strained and duressed. And then sent home to decompress … until they fall apart. Like Jake.

It’s happening to kids as young as 6 and 7 … right through the teenage time. Stress doesn’t discriminate … and it doesn’t cure itself.

Everyone sees it, too. It’s no mystery.

Homes suffer through homework hell. Kids don’t wanna get on the bus … because they wanna get off the hamster-wheel. Some act out … and some fall apart.

And now the same geniuses who made the mess are galloping to the rescue … with “mindfulness and meditation” … and they want to record “the thoughts, attitudes, beliefs and mental processes of children.”

Your children. The ones they’ve already abused. The ones that may have already jaked.

It’s the latest intrusive, progressive fad called “social-emotional learning” or SEL … and it’s designed to get into your kid’s noggin. Literally.

And where’s this all coming from? The corporate world … the work place … and “the desire of the corporate progressives … to use SEL to change education from focusing on academics” … so students can be “slotted into careers.”

Ah! Those algorithms! … from way back when … are payin’ off big time! And you thought “career ready” was an empty chant. Think again.

Now it’s clear-clear … that children are being covertly nudged into this or that career pathway … justified by overwhelming mounds of data that can be Hansel and Greteled all the way back to the days when joy was first run out of their very brand-new lives.

“That summer, after two more hospitalizations, Jake’s desperate parents sent him to … a residential treatment facility … one of a growing number of programs for acutely anxious teenagers.” And a new industry was born.

And now a new battlefield is in plain view. Parents have seen it all before … so this … this is just a new swerve … a new lurch.

It may be time to take up your shields again … and to bang them more loudly than ever.

The mother who set this morning on fire … she deserves the last word.

“I don’t know who you think you are … but the parents are awake. We are on to you and the behavior of your administrators. We will hold you publicly accountable until you decide to do the right thing for our children. And we will make you famous until that day. You should be ashamed of yourselves.”

I rather like that threat.

Cross-posted.

8 thoughts on “The Pressure Mounts

  1. Parents must take the risk of talking to each other. They are the only ones who have the numbers to make a difference in schools. If they do not speak up and resist the hostage taking of their children, the long cherished freedoms necessary to live according to our beliefs and values will disappear completely.

    1. I am a parent who will talk to other parents, but the other parents don’t want to listen. I am considered the crazy lady. Where I live, the test scores rule and the parents love the testing. The parents are happiest when they can compete, using their children’s test scores, with other parents. I’ve had enough. My daughter will continue in public high school because she has her art and music and friends, but my son will be going to a private, all boy’s high school next year. No Common core, no standardized testing, no AP for all, no SEL, and no ed tech. I will not have my son “Jaked”. He hasn’t liked school since preK and it has only gotten worse every year. 1 day of shadowing at this high school and he has a passion to attend. We will have to pay dearly for it, but it will be worth it to see him enjoy learning and enjoy going to school. It’s a shame that public schools can’t provide a good atmosphere for ALL children.

      1. Oh, my. You’re son’s tale is all too common … and always disturbing. I know all about the “crazy lady” stuff … trust me. I hear that lots … that I am not seeing it as I should.

        The sacrifices you are making should have been unnecessary … public education should never have veered down this wretched reform road. Its has so warped itself.

    2. Yes, parents have to speak up, but so too do teachers. We parents can’t do this alone. Teachers – who know better – have to start being part of the resistance. I talk daily to my daughter’s teacher about the madness and she agrees with every word I say and then she does what the principal and the district mandate her to do.

      I know it’s hard, I know teachers have families to feed and mortgages to pay and, no, I don’t want teachers to lose their jobs. But somehow teachers have to start talking to each other and uniting and refusing to inflict this abuse on students en masse. United is the only way we – teachers, parents and students – will stand.

      1. At some point … if matters do not become more aligned … the rank and file should separate from the current union leadership which has become completely disconnected from the classroom experience … and deaf to the shouts of teachers.
        And parents should jump pat the chance to align with those teachers because that same union leadership has sound out their children.
        The day is coming. It is.

        1. I am very pro-union because I think it protects the rights of workers, but the AFT and UFT have been allowing this to go on. In fact, they are going along to get along and are a large source of the problem. They are allowing children to be harmed. When will the teachers rise up and fight against this? When will the teachers fight for the children? When will the teachers decide to do what is right for all children? As parents, we are squeezed out of the equation…we are told by admin that our volunteer services aren’t necessary so that we aren’t in the school to see what happens daily. As parents, we are given so little information about our own children and their daily activities. It has to come down to the teachers having a national uprising before anything will happen to make this situation any better.

      2. @Dienne77….I’ve talked to so many teachers and all I get is the same answer…..we work to feed our family and we can’t afford to lose our job. I’m done waiting for teachers to do what is right for children. They are committing child abuse and it’s wrong. I won’t allow it anymore for my rising high schooler son.

  2. I spoke to other parents years ago about Common Core and the data mining. Some seemed to share my concerns, but they basically did nothing to help fight it. The various school staff I spoke with seemed to understand my concerns, but they would not do anything as they did not want to risk losing the funds they receive from the federal and state governments. If I had known about Common Core, CBE, and SEL before my child had started school, I would have home schooled.

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