By: Krystle Crossman
Students in public schools have been gradually performing better on tests and in their academic studies overall. The problem is that with this academic success comes high levels of stress according to a new study that was published by The Horace Mann League (public education advocacy group). Students from all over the world were looked at and it was found that with great performance comes great stress. The study’s main focus was on the seven countries in the world that have the greatest economies; Germany, United States, France, Italy, Canada, the U.K., and Japan (Finland and China were thrown in the mix as well due to interest in their students academic achievements). The National Superintendents Roundtable stated that when looking at and comparing the different educational systems across the world there should be more factored in than just academic achievement.
The study looked at six different factors:
– Support for schools
– School outcomes
– Social stress (Stressors include deaths from violence, teen pregnancy, death due to drugs)
– Student outcomes
– Economic inequities
– Support from parents
They wanted to compare these different factors between the countries to get an idea of which country was more academically “rich”. The United States did not fare well with these comparisons. They had the lowest amount of students with support from their families, had the most social stress, and had the highest amounts of poverty. They found that American was 13 to 16 times more violent than any other country. They also found that there was a higher rate of substance abuse. Unfortunately so many children live in areas that have high levels of violence and drugs in the US and this creates stress even when they are not a part of it. When they are stressed out like this and focusing on trying to stay safe in their own town their academic progress declines. The report showed that children in elementary schools in the US are performing well on the standardized testing but the middle schools left something to be desired.
Finland came out on top in the report as they had very low levels of social stress, very high levels of support from families, and very low levels of poverty.