1. This article is so true and I wonder if we have a similar situation in Falls Church City. Would the Superintendent and School Board be willing to administer the Youth Self Report and publish the findings so we can see if our schools can be improved?

  2. I think all parents in this community should read this or listen to the podcast. The link to the podcast is attached to the original article found here:


    What jumps out at me is a statement by Dr. Luther who performed the assessment on the high school profiled in the article (results starting at 3:00 into podcast.) She reports that the level of substance abuse found in high achieving high schools is higher than at inner city schools. Sadly it sounds that this continues after graduation.

    We as parents choose this community for a variety of reasons and for many it is for our schools but it is clear that there is a cost inherent within this high achieving competitive academic environment. I know that school leadership does try to convey to students that success is defined by more than acceptance at an elite college. We all need to do our part to broaden that definition for our children. We need to look at how we do that in what is praised and given headline status. What do we demonstrate that we value?

    Given recent events at Mason and from what many of us already know about members of the student body, stress levels run high. As the article points out that if 30% of the student body had an infectious disease we would certainly be making plans to address the issue. Let’s talk about this more openly and make plans. I think FCCPS should do as this community has done and start with the assessment.

  3. It’s not the hard academic work. It’s the hovering pushing parent who uses their child’s achievements as their own status symbol buoying up their acceptance and position in the community regardless of the student innate intellectual ability. This reckless self referencing narcissism takes many forms, including unneccesry huge indebtedness to satiate the need for status over classroom needs for the next generation. Welcome to the value set of those who call the plays in our city.

  4. Much of the problem is that the school wants to make sure they keep their statistics in line with other schools – they will push students to take classes in IB, AP and pile on the activities and volunteer work so they can advertise how high achieving their students are. The other problem is that parents believe that their kids need all this in order to get into “the college of their choice.” Wake up call: there is a college for everyone and at the end of the day, the student will find his passion and succeed in their own way- not others.

  5. Thank you for this wonderful article, Alison! “Study hard, party hard” was the GMHS mantra when our teens were there! I don’t know if that still rings true. At a recent FCC school art night I listened as one mom bragged on about her extremely gifted child. It was kindergarten!! All children have gifts! I’m even more concerned about bullying. How does our community support the children, teens, parents, teachers and administration? We must teach kindness, support uniqueness and stop saying ‘bullying happens everywhere’…as a grandmother to a new generation of FCCPS students, I see parents discussing and creating solutions to these important issues. We have incredible teachers too! I’m amazed by their devotion, creativity and strength! Let’s have an All City Fun Day of art/music/diversity in FCC this summer! I hope every child/teen/teacher has a summer of rest and relaxation! I love our Little City schools!

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