Great Expectations, No Exceptions

Lauren Maciariello, Author

It’s everywhere. Teens crying and shaking due to grades and stress. The pressure from high school comes at students in every direction. Teachers, parents, coaches, and even colleges are reminding students every day how important every single grade is. All of this, until someone snaps.

The Texas Education Association needs to reform the public education system to eliminate the GPA and ‘ranking’ system to allow for a less stressful school environment.

Anxiety and depression are at an all-time high. It seems like everyone is on some sort of medication to be able to manage all this stress. The school system is neglecting the students’ mental health in exchange for more government funding. The school system is a just a factory; it sends more numb and exhausted children into the world every year. Students are not being taught how to cope with the anxiety school produces, and as a result, the mental health of students is suffering.

Suicide rates are steadily increasing due to this. According to The American Psychological Association, suicide rates have risen 33% since 1999. Students are expected to be a part of extracurricular, clubs, have a job, be in Advanced Placement classes, and find time to spend with their family. Student are expected to balance 30-hour weeks on top of 40 hours at school while completing homework, service hours, and being active in clubs. This means that maybe students will have only a few hours during the week to just breathe and make sure they are okay. The expectations for students are too high. This has become the expectation not the exception. Students are striving to create this glowing resume for colleges, but when they fail, they can’t cope, and that’s when something bad happens.

The public-school system is not allowing children to be children. With the endorsement graduation plan, they are not allowed to explore different topics and potential careers but are expected to just know. This stress is not isolated to high school; kids are being expected to choose their life plan as young as 8th grade. The stakes are too high, and it’s starting too early.

Some argue that this pressure only reaps better results. By reminding the students of the importance, they take it more seriously. Diamonds are made under pressure, right? However, Mayo Clinic’s research shows that stress can not only make someone physically ill but prohibits clear brain functioning. If the goal of this pressure is to produce better work, it is doing the opposite.

The public-school system must be reformed to allow for education to be beautiful again. The idea of a place to come and meet with people of the same age to learn about language and the world is a wonderful concept that was created to progress our society not stunt it. If we eliminated the ranking system, it would be a start to taking some of the stress out of school.