Anxiety in Parents and Students
When did parents stop trusting our educational system and anxiety begin building in our children?
As an educator, I can remember the shift. My fifth and sixth students in the early 70's did not experience the high anxiety of the children today. They were very productive young people who enjoyed the learning process. They were challenged, but responded to challenges differently.
The shift began when the newspapers began posting standardized test scores and reporting that the schools were failing our children. That started the public looking for any evidence that we had failed our children.
What resulted was a hyper focus on tests scores instead of the real evidence that we were, in fact, successful. Parents trusted us until the media bashed the system in place. As their distrust grew, we began seeing heightened anxiety in our students.
Was the system perfect? No, but it was not a failure.
Winning back the trust of parents is hard when the media continues to show how we are failing and not how we are succeeding. This instills fears in parents that did not exist when I first began teaching.
We also have to contend with those who gain financially from parent's fears and offer expensive programs that guarantee students will score well. Who really gains from this?
I don't know about you, but I would prefer my students learn how to navigate challenges and become problem solvers rather than be good test takers.