Friday, February 24, 2012

Teen-agers and Stress

The film Race to Nowhere (which the LJCA is screening at La Jolla High on March 22nd) talks a lot about the stress experienced by teen-agers today.
  • Stress damages virtually every kind of cognition that exists, including memory and executive function, motor skills, immune response and ability to sleep. Retreived Dec. 31, 2009, from Brain Rules,
  • Children are frequent victims of stress because they are often unable to communicate their feelings accurately. Certain physical symptoms, notably repeated abdominal pain without a known cause, may be indicators of stress in children. From New York Times article called "Stress and anxiety," Feb. 13, 2009,
  • According to the American Psychological Association (APA), typical schoolchildren today report more anxiety than did child psychiatric patients in the 1950s. From "The case against homework: How homework is hurting our children and what we can do about it." Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, December 2006.
  • Insufficient sleep has been shown to cause difficulties in school, including disciplinary problems, sleepiness in class and poor concentration. APA Monitor on Psychology, October 2001. 
  • Over 25 percent of adolescents have felt sad or depressed every day for 2 or more weeks at least once during a year's time. Youth risk behavior surveillance -- United States 2003, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 2004.
  • Suicide is the third leading cause of death of 15 to 24 year olds. "Teen Suicide," Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (2008, May 1).
Some things to thing about:
1) What ideas do you have for ways to combat student stress?
2) How are things today similar or different from when you were in school?
3) Which topics from the film affect you and/or your family?
4) Have you found ways to help your child manage stress? What has been helpful? Would you like more strategies to help your family manage stress?
5) What are ways that you would like to see the issues raised by the film addressed in your school and/or community?
6) What are the guiding principals you would like to see for education on the local state and national level?

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Race To Nowhere At LJHS on March 22nd

Are Advanced Placement courses necessary to get into a good college? Critics say that AP courses are impossibly broad and shallow in what they cover -- that AP teachers essentially have to "teach to the test." For this reason, some private college-prep schools have eliminated Advanced Placement courses. Private school administrators know that no university will penalize an applicant who attends a school that doesn't offer AP courses -- and that they can offer their students a better educational experience through honors courses. The documentary Race to Nowhere goes into some of the problems caused by AP courses. The film will be shown March 22nd at La Jolla High School's Parker Auditorium. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion. Middle and high school students welcome. Tickets are $10 in advance, $15 at the door. To learn about the film, visit