The Brightest Students: What risks do they suffer from PARCC and other high stakes tests?

Childhood suicide is to be feared most.

The brightest children of all ages are often the ones who suffer from crash-and-burn behavior. They can be publicly shamed and lose their place in their world.

Since there can be no definite proof that high stakes testing alone is responsible for childhood suicides, we must simply use our own observations.

Childhood suicide rates have increased tremendously during the same years that No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top with their high stakes testing have existed.

Actual and perceived pressures by children often cause extreme behaviors, but the destruction of their own persona, the “smart” one or the “top” one, can be destroyed with one bad grade on an easy test, a high stakes mandated test, that “everyone” else passed.

Freeze on one day during one high stakes test? Be publicly shamed. Peer shamed. Be re-labeled for life. Crash-and burn.

This is a taboo subject. No adult wants to read about or experience this horrific reality. As parents, we must face it and do all we can to prevent it.

High stakes tests and childhood suicides

Why risk it? Take the pressures off by refusing or opting out for your child. Go to United Opt Out National for state-by-state sample letters and directions. You and your child have basic parental and civil rights. This is no time to be overly polite or timid because some intimidated administrator attempts to intimidate you and you child.

Peggy Robertson, one of the teacher moms who founded United Opt Out National, has this to say in her superb Peg With Pen blog.

We  must stand between the children and the harmful mandates that are being used to fail them mentally, emotionally, and physically. Colorado’s suicide rate has increased 16.7 percent from 2012 to 2013 alone.  We must question why countries, such as China and Japan, where high stakes testing is rampant, have such high suicide rates.  We must question – what is becoming of our country? And do we care enough to stop it? Or have we been placated by the consumerism that surrounds us? 


  • Changes in sleep pattern
  • Changes in appetite
  • Changes in school performance
  • Declining grades
  • Difficulty with concentration
  • Sadness or hopelessness
  • Irritability, anger, or hostility
  • Frequent crying
  • Withdrawal from friends, family

No parent of children in grade school or high school has experienced the same level of pressure from the extremes of high stakes testing and the incredible numbers of school days wasted upon test preparation and testing. The purpose of high stakes testing is private profit for a few billionaires and the legislators whose campaigns they contribute to.





About Ken Previti
This entry was posted in betrayal, Common Core CCSS, corporate education reform, government, legislative pillage, public education, testing and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Brightest Students: What risks do they suffer from PARCC and other high stakes tests?

  1. Dwayne S says:

    I agree. its just like the measles outbreak. People forget what it used to be like. They get complacent. If we don’t educate and invest in our children, the crime and other public health issues that will result will take decades to reverse.
    I was part of the original reform movement in the 1990s when they were breaking up the huge warehouse high schools of New York City and making them pleasant, manageable communities. But of course all of these schools cost money that taxpayers don’t want to contribute to. Billionaires don’t want to pay. Companies don’t want to pay. So what do they do everything they can to reduce the numbers. Oh sure, they can have all of their electronics and brand new cars but don’t want to pay a little more for infrastructure like roads and schools. Democracy is just too messy for these people.

  2. One incident stands out in my memory. This incident took place after school one day sometimes between 1986-1989. I was teaching in a middle school and one of my highest performing students came to see me. She was on the edge of being hysterical. Her eyes brimming with tears.

    Why, because she had earned an A- on a bubble test and feared she would lose her A+ in the class. She had earned straight A’s in school since she had started going to school. She seldom if ever even earned even an A-.

    I had to calm her down and explain that the A- on that bubble test was only worth a small fraction of the total grade, because I only weighted tests to be 10% of the total grade and offered challenging extra credit assignments that could add 20% to the grade as a way for students who didn’t do well on bubble test to compensate and still earn a high grade.

    I explained that she was doing every challenging extra credit assignment and her GPA in the class was the highest in all of the 8th grade English classes I taught. I think her average was about 127% for classwork due to those challenging extra credit assignments.

    But earning even an A- on one insignificant bubble test was enough to cause her to almost crash and burn.

    Our daughter was the same way. Every time she earned anything lower than a solid A, she would have a meltdown and it was always a challenge for me to calm her down and point out that one A- or B+ wasn’t going to destroy her GPA and her chance of getting into one of the universities she wanted to attend after HS.

    When she had to take standardized bubble tests of any kind, she would be overwhelmed with stress and worry. She graduated from high school with a 4.65 GPA and was an award winning scholar athlete, who went on to graduate from Stanford last June. What’s amazing is that after she was a student at Stanford, she stopped worrying and stressing out.

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