When I read articles discussing the fact that educators are concerned about children “peeing and vomiting” due to stress in school, I get very upset. I get upset because these are the kinds of symptoms that are red flags for bullying, or other notably unhealthy situations going on in a child’s life that caring adults need to intervene in immediately. I get really upset because the typical causes are not at play here: the problem is school itself. No, it’s not the schools’ fault, for schools have been put in the same difficult position that parents and students are. Children, however, are paying the biggest price.
I just read an article this evening, the most recent of a string, that has be highly concerned. Here is one comment from a principal in New York from that article: We know that many children cried during or after testing, and others vomited or lost control of their bowels or bladders. Others simply gave up. One teacher reported that a student kept banging his head on the desk, and wrote, ‘This is too hard,’ and ‘I can’t do this,’ throughout his test booklet.
Other parents are reporting refusals to go to school, acting out, as well as chronic stomach aches, headaches, and other stress-relates symptoms. I challenge any misguided soul to respond with “They just want attention,” because, yes, they do want attention, much like a drowning person wants attention.
This is not just a bad day at school. This is an ongoing exposure to high amounts of stress that causes permanent damage to children’s brains. The stress hormone cortisol kills brain cells and disrupts the development of young brains. The National
Scientific Council on the Developing Child notes: Frequent or sustained activation of brain systems that respond to stress can lead to heightened vulnerability to a range of behavioral and physiological disorders over a lifetime.
Common Core asks young children to do things their little brains are not capable of doing. Much of the “critical thinking” and “rigor” that Common Core brings to the table draws upon the prefrontal cortex, and this area of the brain is not well-developed in young children, yet they are being forced to try to use it in ways they simply are not able. Young children are frustrated and, because they do not have the understanding of what is taking place in education, often blame themselves. They think they are simply “dumb,” that there is something wrong with them. The problem is not the children.
The problem is the creators of the Common Core Standards, and the fact the federal government is forcing it on our schools. The problem is the fact that nothing about Common Core is evidence-based, and they are NOT internationally benchmarked, as one of their many dishonest selling points claims. The problem is the fact that money takes precedence over the well-being of children. The problem is that the standardized testing dictates the curriculum. The problem is that elitists who care nothing for us or our children have an agenda that is being forced upon this country. And the problem is that our children are the most vulnerable.
Ponder this for a moment: if these same children were having these same symptoms because of stress at home, what do you think would happen? Parents would be slapped with a child abuse charge in a heart beat. But it’s ok if something else is causing the stress? I don’t think so.
Now think about this: What happens when there is excessive stress at school and at home?
It’s not just younger students either. Students in middle school and high school are suffering from the effects of unhealthy and sustained stress as well. Cases of self-mutilation have increased, as have anxiety-related diagnosis and depression. The reasons are evident when students make comments such as “I just can’t handle the pressure” or “It’s too much.” Students are suddenly being made to feel like they aren’t good enough, all because of a score on a test that is proven ineffective and unnecessary. How do you think that will impact the use of drugs for our youth? Many self-medicate as it is, Common Core isn’t going to help.
Stress to some degree is normal, and children have their own brand as part of growing up. When you factor in disabilities, poverty, social issues, unhealthy homes, children with deployed or absent parents…you get the picture. Now give it a good coating of Common Core. What do you get? Devastation.
I refused (opted out) to have my daughter subjected to standardized testing any longer. In doing so, school became school again for her, and she is learning, in fact excelling in some areas, just fine. With no standardized tests looming on the horizon, and mom celebrating and supporting her daily steps in her own education, she knows that the only thing that matters is that she does her best, one day at a time. That’s more than good enough for me. Nothing else matters.
- The Common Core Nightmare: The Negative Impact Of Common Core Curriculum On My Students (elephanttreefeatures.com)
- Test-related Stress on the Rise in New York (dianeravitch.net)
- Common Core Poses Threat To Future Of Students, Culture (stopcommoncoreny.wordpress.com)
- Is Common Core Causing Kids to Self-Mutilate? (stoptheaclu.com)
- 9 Harmful Effects of Test Induced Stress (osu.uloop.com)