This is a really strong post Stacey!
I completely agree with your points about the unnecessary pressure that is placed on students. It is something that the education system needs to address as I feel it can have lasting effects on the psyche of students and their perception of their own abilities. When you mentioned “the sky is falling” rhetoric that comes from educators it reminded me immediately of the pressure I felt years ago during grade 12 when told that everything hinged on my OP and that my future would be dictated by how I did that year. I was completely overwhelmed by that concept even though I was a fairly high achiever. It caused me to doubt a lot of my assessment pieces which as you say does not really promote personal empowerment through learning. This is something that needs to be resolved in early education and put into practice throughout the entirety of schooling years. You don’t want children to feel like they are already on the back foot at the beginning of their learning journey.