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Is High School Too Much of a Pressure-Cooker?

Is the pressure to score high on SAT tests, get into Ivy League schools, and load up on AP classes depriving kids today of a carefree childhood? Monday's Washington Post has an opinion piece written by a mother lamenting the heavy workload of her high school junior and suggesting that the demands may be harmful to her daughter's health.

While that intensity may be the case in some circles, it's not universal. Indeed, many students are not adequately prepared for college-level work and are forced to take remedial classes when they first enter college. In a recent focus group where college students reflect back on their high school experience, most called on schools to maintain high standards and require rigorous classes to help them succeed in college. Just look at college-completion rates: 57 percent of students get a degree at a public, four-year university within six years, and 22 percent of community college students get a degree within three years.

So, while you feel for the stressed-out student profiled in The Post, the overachievers are outnumbered by students who are not challenged to reach their full potential. With the push to improve college readiness and completion, we can only hope more students will take their high school studies so seriously—yet still enjoy being a teenager and grab a few more hours of sleep.

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