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Monday, October 13, 2014

Will a Common-Core Aligned Society Have More Or Less Suicide?

Once upon a time, my school had a well-funded program called SPARK which allowed a specially trained counselor to visit classrooms throughout the year to discuss issues involving peer pressure, alcohol and drugs, eating disorders, sex and suicide.  There were different sets of lessons to target the freshman, sophomore, junior and senior classes.  The counselor had generous office hours to meet with students who needed a friendly ear, extra time and some specialized counseling.

We still have a SPARK counselor in our school, but there are no more classroom visits.  We have a guidance department and the older students take a semester of health.  It is not enough.  We need counselors in 9-12 classrooms for at least five days a year packed full of potentially life-saving discussion.  Some students will not seek out help on their own.  The help must come to them, anonymously, through a classroom door.  

Test prep and "college and career readiness" aren't worth a damn if kids don't know how to deal with the pressures of their teenage and young-adult years.  I would chose preventative measures any day over dealing with the aftermath of a crisis.  Wouldn't you?  What if the child was one of your own? The development of young and mentally healthy individuals must begin from the earliest years.  It may not align to the goal of the Common Core which impresses failure upon students, but, alas, just one more reason why the Common Core misses the mark.  

So, have you ever asked yourself:  Will a Common-Core aligned society have a higher or lower incidence of suicide?  No one can say for sure.  (South Korea, an educational model in some important ways for the likes of Secretary Duncan, has a high suicide rate for adults.)  But do you think the self-appointed "reformers" have ever asked themselves this question?  Do you think they even care to?  Haven't they got the meaning of life all sewed up?  

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