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America’s woke education is fueling the mental health crisis

OpinionAmerica’s woke education is fueling the mental health crisis

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According to a new Gallup poll, “happiness” is plummeting in America, adding to the mounting evidence that the U.S. has a mental health crisis on its hands. It is particularly alarming that these bleak findings include children, teens and young adults – demographics that have traditionally enjoyed relatively carefree lives and positive outlooks as they face a lifetime of promises. 

But the data is sobering: suicide ranks as the second leading cause of death among children ages 10-14 and young adults ages 20-34. Furthermore, 55% of young adults under the age of 30 suffer from anxiety, and 47% are depressed and/or hopeless. Sadly, these statistics do not surprise me. 

As a college professor, not only have I observed a significant increase in the number of students struggling with mental illness, I’ve also witnessed Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) replace traditional curriculums and learning goals from kindergarten through higher education.  

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The emphasis on wokeism in education combined with the decline of traditional values is fueling the mental health crisis among young people, leading to increased anxiety, depression and unhappiness. If we do not change course quickly, we’ll lose this generation to hopelessness and despair. 

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America’s young people are facing a mental health crisis that includes both anxiety and depression. Look to the education bureaucracy for blame. 

Our education system has moved away from cultivating critical thinking skills and knowledge, to indoctrinating and training activists through various DEI initiatives. For example, students are regularly subjected to narratives steeped in anti-American sentiment. More than 4,500 schools across the country have adopted components of the discredited “1619 Project,” which fosters division and frames America as an inherently oppressive nation. 

The 1619 Project assigns guilt and victimhood to individuals based on racial and ethnic characteristics. This fuels shame, resentment and discord, which leads to increased depression and anxiety. Rather than focus on what unites us as Americans, impressionable minds are pushed to view each other with suspicion, creating a tribal mentality.  

Unlike many other countries plagued by internal strife due to tribalism, such as Afghanistan and Rwanda, our country’s success lies in its ability to unite so many diverse people through E Pluribus Unum – Out of many, One. Our education system is actively destroying the very principle vital to our nation’s success. 

Education officials also use fear tactics when teaching about politicized topics like climate change. States have rapidly mandated that climate change be taught across all grade levels and subjects, but the problem lies in how it is taught.  

Climate change is framed as “climate justice,” and students are told that humanity will perish in a climate apocalypse for which they bear responsibility. While previous generations were encouraged to view the future as full of opportunities, today’s youth are bombarded with the doom and gloom of their carbon footprint. How could they not feel depressed and anxious? 

Climate alarmism has significantly impacted the mental health of young Americans, with 75% expressing concern about climate change and 67% reporting climate fear. When professors equate having children with selfishness, it further contributes to these anxieties, while harming the family unit. This is reflected in the fact that only 23% of those under 30 believe having children is very important. 

Research points to marriage, family and faith, as overwhelming components of human happiness and a fulfilled life. The family unit provides love, companionship, support and purpose unlike any other feature of the material world. No government or social program can replace it — children who come from stable families are more likely to flourish and less likely to experience mental health problems.  

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If division and fear weren’t enough, woke education diminishes self-worth and purpose, which are essential to mental health, as schools routinely lower standards in the name of equity. For instance, the NYS Board of Regents redefined proficiency after students performed twice below the national average. The entire student body is made to feel inadequate because education officials have little faith in their abilities.  

Multiple studies demonstrate that higher expectations lead to superior outcomes. It’s the Pygmalion Effect. When goals are set and students accomplish set goals, it improves their mental well-being. When everyone is simply pushed through the system, it fuels the cycle of mediocrity. 

School should be an experience that gives students a purpose and sense of direction in life, especially college. The number of Americans with college degrees has doubled, so why is it that 58% of young adults report that they lack meaning or purpose in life and 50% feel that they have no sense of direction? This should tell us that something is clearly wrong in our education system. 

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If we want to address the mental health struggles of young Americans, we first need to recognize that curricula based on woke ideology contribute to fear, anxiety, and division. Our curriculums must focus on knowledge over indoctrination. They should be based on critical thinking, reasoning and a comprehensive understanding of civics — our nation’s history and values. This will instill resilience and confidence in young minds. 

For too long, our education system has cultivated an environment of despair. Let us reclaim our educational institutions where young minds are nurtured, not brainwashed, and fuel the younger generation with optimism toward the future. This will undoubtedly strengthen the bonds that bring us together and inevitably alleviate the mental health epidemic that plagues our youth.   

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