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Assaults Show Common Core Misses Important Standard

Photograph by Getty Images/iStockphoto

One in five women are victims of completed or attempted sexual assault while in college.

Do you have a daughter? I do. She’s little and full of life. She loves fairies, dance and soccer. She makes mud pies while the sun sets in the distance and rides her bike extra fast to feel the breeze in her hair. She fills journals with stories and loves math – even the new version of math that seems to require forever and a day just to complete one problem. She can’t get enough information about animals and what she can do to save the habitats of animals all over the world, even creepy looking bats.

And one day she will probably want to go to college. Right now, at this very moment, that petrifies me. While our country seems determined to produce “college and career ready” students, it’s not doing much to raise kind and considerate kids. And that’s a mistake.

As a mom, psychotherapist and parent educator, I’m certain that we need a paradigm shift in this country. “College and career ready” are important words, but we need to tack on “kind and considerate individuals” too. While the Common Core State Standards specify learning goals in a lot of areas, they don’t address the social and emotional growth of children and adolescents. At all. In short, high school students graduate with a fair amount of knowledge on various subjects, but they might not know how to relate to their peers.

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We assume that kids are getting this input at home, at school and in the community. But that doesn’t seem to be the case.

We’ve failed those kids, if you ask me. Every single one of them.

Less than one month after California Governor Jerry Brown signed the “Yes Means Yes” bill, which requires sexual partners on college campuses to give “affirmative, conscious and voluntary agreement” to sex, five more people were reportedly drugged and sexually assaulted at a fraternity near the University of California at Berkeley. That brings the total to nine so far this school year, for those of you keeping score.

We get these kids “college and career ready,” but then we send our girls into a battle zone of sexual assault because apparently many college students don’t seem to understand that yes means yes and no means no. We’ve failed those kids, if you ask me. Every single one of them.

If you think this is a college-level problem that will work itself out before your child gets to college, think again. A hazing and sexual abuse scandal involving several football players at Sayreville War Memorial High School in Sayreville, N.J., led to the suspension of the football season and suspensions of the head coach and four other coaches. It has rocked an otherwise quiet suburban town. Seven varsity football players have been charged with assaulting four younger teenage players, holding them against their will and touching them in a sexual manner. Three of them were charged with aggravated sexual assault.

Some argue that “hazing” is a rite of passage for fraternities and sports teams. Hazing has been around for many years and happens at many levels. In fact, New York became the first state to pass an anti-hazing law in 1894. The question is: how did it come to this?

It all comes back to the village.

It takes a village to raise kind, caring, empathic and considerate young men and women. Parents, schools, coaches, religious organizations and other community programs all play a role in guiding our children toward making healthy and positive choices. It’s up to all of us to raise our kids up, and that starts with high expectations when it comes to kindness and consideration.

In the race to the top, we’ve forgotten the importance of raising good kids.

It’s time to stop arguing about (and posting to Facebook) complicated math problems and reading logs that seem time-consuming and focus on adding social-emotional skills to our curriculum, instead.

RELATED: 7 Things You Need to Know About the Common Core

In the race to the top, we’ve forgotten the importance of raising good kids – the kind who look out for others and stand up for those who need a voice. Your kid might or might not get into Harvard or Yale, only time will tell. But if you raise your children to be kind, respectful and empathic, they will have an easier transition to college and life beyond the nest.

Let’s put kindness back in the game and stop failing our children, shall we?

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