A recent national survey released by UCLA’s Institute for Democracy, Education and Access, Teaching and Learning in the Age of Trump: Increasing Stress and Hostility in America’s High School, found that the president’s political rhetoric and policy decisions have spilled into classrooms at public high schools in significant ways, causing stress, polarization and hostility among students. (See also NPR article).
The report, shows that nearly 80 percent of teachers said some students had expressed concern for their well-being because of the charged public conversation about issues such as immigration, health care, the environment, travel bans and LGBTQ rights. Furthermore, 40 percent said concerns over key issues — such as Trump’s ban on travelers from eight countries, most with Muslim majorities; restrictions on LGBTQ rights; and health care — are making it harder for students to focus on their studies and making them less likely to come to school.
In response, Sandy Sohcot, the Director of The World As It Could Be (TWAICB), suggests HRE as one approach that could effectively address heightened stress in the classroom. She states, “I’d like to offer using the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) as a tool to teachers to guide discussion that could help students better bridge divisive feelings, grasp how derogatory language and actions affect others, and help express the human rights affected by language and policies of their government representatives.”
In her recent blog post entitled, If You Get Confused, Listen to the Music Play, Sohcot further explores how the UDHR could help address not only the issues causing so much youth anxiety, but also the increasingly confusing social-political environment we’re in, and the floating anxiety it generates.