Schools ruining students’ minds with letters; Making children base their self-worth on numbers


 School and grades are what students have been taught to worry about at the young age of five. Adults and teachers tell students that school is how you determine where you are going in life. 

     Kids have had the idea that if they don’t pass a class or test in school, it’s going to set them up for failure for the rest of their lives. Students are told that college is what will give them a successful future. 

     This isn’t just a Harford County School system mindset; it’s every school system out there. They want students to succeed in life. But when is it too much for the students?

     Is it when they have panic attacks because they have a B in a class? Is it when students base their self-worth on what letter grade they have in a class? Is it when the students’ minds make them hate themselves because their GPA isn’t 4.5? Is it when you make that student hate school when they used to love it?

     According to, the “rates of anxiety, depression and even suicidal indications have spiked dramatically” with “academic stress tied to grades is a leading cause of this escalation.” Also, according to the article, there is “strong evidence to suggest that grades are making students physically, emotionally, and psychologically unwell.” 

     It’s not even a problem that’s just affecting students’ mental health, it’s going to the extent of hurting all of their well-being. To make this problem even worse “these health issues have been getting much worse over time.”

     Some school systems haven’t even seemed to notice this problem with students. They probably categorize them as “burnt-out gifted students” because half of them are.

   According to there are only 12 schools in the entirety of the US that don’t use the traditional letter and number grading for their students. Winnetka Public Schools District 36 doesn’t use letter grades till the students are in seventh grade. The school provides report cards with just “detailed comments from their teachers.” 

     Report cards shouldn’t make you feel terrible about yourself, especially when a student is getting straight A’s and having one B. The first thought of that student shouldn’t be “I wasn’t good enough to get exactly straight A’s.” 

     Kids base so much of their self-worth on these letter grades. They start thinking if they are dumb, all because they have a B or two on their report cards because according to the school system, we need straight A’s to go to college to become successful. 

     In 2019, a report by Pew Research Center said, “70 percent of 13-17-year-olds surveyed believe anxiety and depression to be a major problem. “The students surveyed said they identify “the pressure to get good grades as the most significant factor leading to these mental health issues,” according to

      What college wants a student who doesn’t have straight A’s, because if they have straight A’s that indicates “excellent performance?” If the student has a B, it only indicates “good performance.” Schools have ranked us with numbers and letters before we could read or write. So, why wouldn’t that be engraved in the students’ minds?

     You’re engraving a grading system on how well a child can do basic skills since they were five. A person’s mind doesn’t fully develop until the mid-twenties. So, you’re teaching growing minds to base themselves on a letter and a number of their GPA, and on how well they are going to do in life.