Effects of academic pressure on kids

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Effects of academic pressure on kids

Well, it’s an interesting… I did see the film “Racing to Nowhere” and it outlines a problem at one end of the educational spectrum, namely the schools that are high-pressure, college prep kinds of schools and it does seem to me that in those schools we’re working these kids to death. And they… literally, in some cases, where we’ve had kids committing suicide, because the pressure of high school and of getting into college was so great. At the other end of the spectrum are the schools where the academic skills are so low that the kids are not doing their homework and dropping out, and so on. That’s a whole separate problem. “Racing to Nowhere” deals with the kind of… this mania that has hit many private schools and some high end public schools, that if you don’t get into one of the top 10, 20 Ivy League – Stanford, whatever – colleges, that your life is ruined. And it’s just insanity. And it’s got to stop. We’re doing a great disservice to our children. And as I said about what education ought to be – it ought to be joyful and when you pressure kids like this, you just squeeze the joy out of education and it’s a terrible disservice to the kids.

Watch Video: Effects of academic pressure on kids by Paul Cummins, PhD, ...


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Paul Cummins, PhD

Educator & Author

Dr. Paul Cummins, President and CEO of Coalition for Engaged Education (CEE), received his bachelor of arts from Stanford University, his MAT from Harvard, and his doctorate from the University of Southern California.  In 1971, he co-founded Crossroads School in Santa Monica and built it into one of Los Angeles’s most successful educational institutions and a national model for innovative, independent schools. 

In 1995, Cummins stepped down as Headmaster of Crossroads and formed New Visions Foundation (now Coalition for Engaged Education) to offer opportunities for Engaged Education to all youth. The first venture was New Roads School, a diverse, K-12 independent school in Santa Monica that has a deep commitment to social justice. New Roads devotes 40% of its tuition budget to need-based student financial aid, guaranteeing access to students from a wide socioeconomic array. Cummins has since implemented a number of innovative programs to help children at risk.

Cummins has published four books on education, including Proceed With Passion: Engaging Students in Meaningful Education (2004), and Two Americas, Two Educations: Funding Quality Schools for all Students (2007), both published by Red Hen Press. His most recent book of essays, Why Poetry? Reflections on Poetry, Writing and Culture, was published in 2009 by Xlibris, in addition to two volumes of his poetry and two children's books published in recent years. He is currently finishing Confessions of a Headmaster: My Pursuit of Joy and Justice in Education (forthcoming from Red Hen Press).

Cummins and his wife Mary Ann reside in Santa Monica. They have four daughters and five grandchildren.

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