June 18, 2013
Written by Christopher B. Murray
Thursday, 13 October 2011 06:35
The recent survey of Ridgefield students (in which they are critical of the lack of respect shown them by adults), the recent death of a high school student, the prevalence of substance abuse/drinking, and the sheer exhaustion of students are evidence they are under real duress. We, as a community, must answer their plea.I compare the workload current high school students endure versus my high school era (mid 70s), and it reminds me of my favorite comic strip, Doonesbury. The strip’s main character, pedantic Michael, writes his senior thesis: “Juxtabronchial Secretions of the Upper Mollusks.” His slacker buddy, Zonker, pens the more prosaic: “Our Friend, the Beaver.” Compared to my daughter’s study topics (until 1 a.m.), I sheepishly “survived” the “Our Friend, The Beaver” era.
Culturally, it’s difficult to uniformly “step back” from the pervasive need to prepare our students for challenging futures, particularly given 1) the obscene cost of higher education and 2) a global economy. (Money always plays a key role, whether we admit it or not.)
Last year, my daughter, now a junior, “stepped back” from a major after-school commitment (after eight years) and her happiness, health and performance improved measurably. I realized, to be honest, the problem was my unimpeded ambition for her. I realized I needed to be her father first and that meant, on occasion, she needed my protection. Our students still need it, whether they tell us explicitly or obliquely under duress.
If elected to the Board of Education, student well-being will be my priority. We should readdress the dramatic problem of teenager sleep deprivation. Today’s students average 6.5 hours of sleep. My generation averaged 7.5 hours, while teenagers need a minimum of eight hours. Studies show more sleep leads to better health, more natural teenage behavior and improved performance.
|< Prev||Next >|