Thursday, December 12, 2013
The Associated Press
(Continued from page 2)
In this Jan. 18, 2013 photo, Chanhassen High School students relax during their 20-minute "recess" in the commons area Jan. 18, 2013 in Chanhassen, Minn. Chanhassen is among a small but growing number of schools that has homework-free nights scattered throughout the school year along with the "recess" breaks two days a week where students chat, catch up on homework, rest, play games like hackie sack or grab a snack. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
In this Jan. 18, 2013 photo, Chanhassen High School students relax while another plays a computer game during a 20-minute "recess" in the cafeteria commons area during a stress break Jan. 18, 2013 in Chanhassen, Minn. Chanhassen is among a small but growing number of schools that has homework-free nights scattered throughout the school year along with the "recess" breaks two days a week where students chat, catch up on homework, rest, play games like hackie sack or grab a snack. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
"We're seeing parents who are putting their preschoolers in tutoring programs," she says. "The intentions are good. But we're missing the important point, to let them develop and play" - even in high school.
She says parents also have to model the behavior for their children.
"I'll be honest. I'm guilty. I don't take a day off," she says. "But at some point, we just have to stop - and prioritize - and teach our children to do the same.
"We have to give up this 'go, go, go' mentality."
Lisa Lawrence, a mom in Austin, Texas, said she realized this when her daughter, now a sixth-grader, told her she felt like "nothing she did was ever good enough" for her mom.
"It sent chills down my spine," Lawrence says. "I think I felt that way growing up."
So she's backed off. And so has Dorway, the principal in Minnesota who's also a dad.
After his son's seventh-grade band concert last year, he recalls watching three kids "running down the hall, literally stripping out of their band uniforms with basketball uniforms underneath."
"This is insane," he says. So once the homework issue is further examined, he's vowing to take on the "holy grail" of issues at his school - the packed practice and game schedules of student athletes.
Back at Prospect High in suburban Chicago, counselor Lynn Thornton ponders the question of expectations, as she pets Junie, who is sitting next to her in a school counseling office.
Educators are feeling the pressure to perform, too, she says. And while raising standards can be good thing, she wonders if we've taken things too far by making "high school the new college."
"I really don't see it changing," Thornton says, "until maybe colleges would really step up and say, 'Hey, you know what? You guys teach high school and we'll teach college."
Until then, students will find Junie at their beck and call, often on the counseling office couches.