Top 3 Trends in Schools and Why We Should be Worried.

Trends in education come and go, but these latest trends have significant consequences for an entire generation of children.

  1. Lowering Student Expectations and Dumbing Down Academics – Many schools are eliminating Advanced Placement classes arguing two underlying reasons; 1) that the idea of giftedness has led to considerable inequities in mathematics education because not everyone can participate, and 2) that students feel bad about themselves when they do not succeed. The California Mathematics Framework supports teaching math through a social justice lens. A Pathway to Equitable Math Instruction calls for dismantling of racism and white supremacy that surfaces in mathematics through skill-leveled tracked classes, course selection and intervention rosters, as well as finding only one “right” answer.
  2. Accommodations that Give Up on Children to Support the System – Under the stated goal of providing classrooms without stress, students are no longer required to make oral presentations or participate in read alouds and class discussions. Schools can be quick to offer accommodations that make it easier for teachers to get through the lessons without challenging or upsetting students.
  3. Sexuality and Gender Identity ideology is a social and political construct that has taken hold within our schools, influencing children often without parents’ knowledge. Core curriculum standards for Sexual Orientation & Identity and Gender Identity & Expression in Kindergarten to Second Grade requires children to ‘Discuss the range of ways people express their gender and identity’. Teachers use books and games to facilitate the practice of children selecting new pronouns or asking children to question their identity. One such book, Who Are You? The Kids’ Guide to Gender Identity reads, “Babies can’t talk, so grown-ups make a guess by looking at their bodies. This is the sex assigned to you at birth, male or female.”

Why we should be worried.

What happens when a child’s world is so fluid that even math problems can’t have one right answer? It is impossible to navigate the world without certainty, guidelines and even absolutes.

These 3 trends in education are presented as solutions to address social problems in schools, however are trying to solve the wrong problems! Effectively, schools are teaching children to shy away from competition or excellence, from stressors or challenges, from the awkwardness of puberty or even biology. If students do not have adequate academic or social skills, sensory motor development or confidence to be successful in school, then THAT is the problem to solve.

When students are not challenged academically, they fall to the lowered expectations of their work; and if the material is beyond their skill level, they are likely to shut down with overwhelm. Learn more about Why Teaching Academics by Skill Level vs Grade Level is Better for Your Child

Chronic stress is affecting our children’s ability to regulate emotions and behaviors, to pay attention, and to start and complete tasks. School districts reported soaring rates of absenteeism and surges in student disciplinary actions. In early 2021 emergency department visits for suspected suicide attempts were 51% higher among adolescent girls and 4% higher among adolescent boys compared to the same time period in 2019.

A student who is overly anxious may become paralyzed and unable to learn the math lesson, however, math can also be an effective way to teach confidence. Math is a step by step, concrete process that can be mastered and moved to the next level, experiencing mastery and confidence along the way. When a child is successful in academics, they can learn confidence. In a calm classroom where everyone is respected and the lessons are engaging, students can learn self-management while speaking and participating in class. Overcoming fear and anxiety is directly related to being successful at school, and Your Child’s Self-Regulation is Not Just Self-Control.

California Board of Education upholds the practice of sexual and gender ideology as a way to learn about the characteristics of bullying and how to avoid being a bully. On the contrary, children learn to be kind and respectful in a school environment where adults hold clear boundaries and teach kindness and respect, which has nothing to do with gender.

Schools are responsible for the curriculum and learning environment that either supports child development and student success or perpetuates these harmful trends.  From a developmental perspective, the young child who is being asked by a respected adult to question their own reality or that of their parents can be confusing or even disturbing.  At this age, children are just beginning to differentiate themselves from their parents and still believe in Santa Claus. Social skills, taking turns, fair play and friendships are concepts that can be practiced in school to support a child’s ability to develop their own sense of self.

Caulbridge School understands that sexuality and gender ideology, healthcare and nutrition are family decisions and are not taught as part of the curriculum. Caulbridge School works to develop a child’s sensory-motor, social-emotional and academic skills in a balanced way, as skipping over any of these distinct areas will have consequences as your child moves through his or her school years.