These are, indeed, troubling times for our children…

  1. Thanks, at least in part, to the education reform movement that replaced play with an academic push in the pre-school years, Brown University researchers found that incoming kindergartners now start school with lower early-math and reading skills than their peers did ten years ago. They also found that indicators for low-, middle-, and high-performing students all fell.
  2. Despite stronger standards, more testing, and other “reforms,” just 35% of our 4th graders were proficient in reading on the most recent National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)–aka the nation’s report card–down from 37% in 2017. And just 34% of our 8th graders were reading on the proficient level, down from 36% in 2017. As for math, about 41% of 4th graders and just 34% of 8th graders scored in the proficient range. Not good in 2017, not good now.
  3. A recent study found that some 28% of high schoolers, and 11% of 8th graders currently use e-cigarettes, with more than 50% of both groups preferring Juul. The flavor of choice: mint.
  4. Says Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, “… Almost half of America’s kids have trauma, and they’re going to classrooms without nurses and counselors…”
  5. In 2017-18, about 4.8 million—just over 15%–of our 10- to 17-year-olds were obese, according to a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation report. The states with the highest such rates were Mississippi, West Virginia, Louisiana, and Michigan. Those with the lowest rates: Utah, Minnesota, Alabama, Colorado, and Montana. By race: 22% of blacks, 19% of Hispanics, 12% of whites, and 7% of Asians.
  6. According to the University of Technology in Sydney, “Time spent on social networking platforms puts lower academy achievers at higher risk of failing their courses. We found that, if they used Facebook for three hours/day—not substantially higher than the average of just under two hours—the difference was around six marks in a 60-mark exam or 10%.
  7. And now this just in from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development: “The daily use of television, computers, and mobile devices increased 3-fold from the age of 12 months to 3 years from an average of 53 minutes to more than 150 minutes.  Plus, “A child’s overuse of screens was consistently associated with the mother’s excessive screen use, especially for mothers who cared for their child at home.

Be worried, very worried, and take heed…

With my thanks, Carol