Our curriculum allowed our students to finish a report on Family Heritage, Inheritances and the Family Tree by Wednesday. Hurricane Irma's track was still looking like it would hit our area and so we moved to a unit on Natural Disasters.
We acknowledge that some believe that the conditions for Irma were not a "natural disaster" but one that humans contributed to making with their activities that supported global warming. While the children learned about hurricanes and preparing for hurricanes this week and will move to other natural disasters next week, this blog took a turn down the unintended negative consequences of human actions road.
Specifically, we looked at reasons why someone might want to move a child into our public school setting. One big unintended consequence has to do with the unintended "pruning" of our children's brains by our classroom activities...
No Child Left Behind or ALL Children Dumbed Down: IS THIS SOCIAL EXPERIMENT WORTH YOUR CHILD'S FUTURE?
We all want the best for our children and grandchildren. Even those without children should want the best for our community! However, sometimes when we take action to address one social ill, another unintended social ill arises. We can see this in a recent public school trend.
We agree with Dr. Judy Willis (a neurologist see her post from 2009 ) that the “no child left behind” debacle is one such well-intentioned effort that unfortunately has resulted in what a neurologist has called “Brain Toxic Classrooms”. We suggest that the intervening years since 2009 have only seen the problem get worse!
Dr. Willis notes that all animals have a primitive brain information intake system at an unconscious reflexive level that is based on novelty, change and cues that are
linked to pleasure. These are not found in classrooms where, according to Dr. Willis, a “teach to the test” curriculum has emerged. She notes that this type of curriculum causes disengagement as early as kindergarten.
“As early as kindergarten children begin to begrudge their time in school and gradually their brains construct neural circuits for self-stimulation (talking during lectures, drawing pictures instead of doing boring worksheets, fidgeting with change in their pockets or toys hidden in their desks).”
In such classrooms when there has been no interventions by parents, according to Dr. Willis, “children’s brain pathways to the prefrontal cortex (highest thinking conscious decision-making part of the brain) are pruned away from disuse.” We are literally making our children dumber as a whole by trying to have a one size fits all no child left behind.
According to Lisa Rivero (MA in Literary Studies and author of several award winning books on teaching gifted children and schooling), this is particularly toxic for the brighter child.
Ms. Rivero calls for individualized curriculum that allows for variation in learning rates and modalities. She argues that the need for individually challenging curriculum is necessary since
“when a child is challenged and able to learn at an appropriate pace and level, the child is closer to knowledge of self and acceptance of others than if the child is tied to a lockstep or inappropriate curriculum
This acceptance of one’s self is an important part of emotional growth and like novices of all types, children are prone to misinterpret their own conditions. When there is a misalignment, the learning environment can become toxic and continued involvement results in children whose growth and learning potential is forever stunted.
Check out our new video on when you might want to remove your child from a toxic environment and place them in an environment that allows for varying rates of intellectual and emotional growth while providing them with explicit instructions on how to continue to develop when growing at different rates academically, emotionally, ethically, physically, and socially.
Certainly changing the public school system is a worthy goal, but should it come at the cost of your own child’s potential? A private school might be a great short term solution for your child while you work to make changes in the public system. Private schools are not insular or greenhouse environments for the privileged but rather environments that have the freedom to craft learning experiences that are available to all given the amount of scholarships and discounts available (often up to 86% of students attending a private school receive some form of assistance).
The Renaissance Preparatory Academy offers tuition assistance to the vast majority of students who attend. Currently, they are offering tuition at $399/month up through grade 3 and at $419/month up through 9th grade. You can lock it in for this year and constrain its growth to no more than 5%/year saving tens of thousands of dollars over a 5 year period. Check it out today!
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