Obama Wants Longer School

Discussion in 'Up to the Minute' started by Trino, Sep 28, 2009.

  1. Trino

    Trino Active Member

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    http://www.startribune.com/business/62143247.html?elr=KArksLckD8EQDUoaEyqyP4O:DW3ckUiD3aPc:_Yyc:aUUF

    President Obama has suggested that students should have longer school days and shorter summer vacations.

    IMO...

    What about the economic impact on shorter summer vacations? Thousands of camps for kids? Community pools? Amusement parks? Day care facilities? Family vacations (impact on motels, parks, travel, etc.)? In MN school districts by state law aren't permitted to begin the school year until after Labor Day and the State Fair.

    If school days are longer, what about school sports? Larger districts share fields/arenas with the younger kids getting late afternoon hours and older students getting them in the evenings. All soccer, softball games are held during daylight hours where I live. Football practices are during daylight hours after school. Additionally, adults also now use facilites during evenings.

    Where's the money going to come from to pay teachers if districts are currently having difficulty funding education?

    Statistics don't necessarily support a longer school year. According to this article, kids in the US already spend more hours in school than do kids in the Asian countries that persistently outscore the U.S. on math and science tests. Will a longer school day really help?
     
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  3. hockeymom

    hockeymom New Member

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    How about electricity costs,air conditioning etc..? The answer is not in more school,its the quality of the education. Once again instead of trying to reform,its more of an overhaul.
     
  4. Mr. E

    Mr. E New Member

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    I actually like the year-round school system. We have several school in our district on this system. It's something like 9 weeks on and 4 weeks off? Students lose a lot of learning over the long summer break. The high school discussed going to the year-round system when some other schools began, but it interfered too much with sports.

    The schools with the year-round system have seen improvements in their test scores. The money comes from Title One, which is federal funding.

    I don't know about longer days, though. I have rehearsals after school and used to teach an after school drama class. Kids are worn out after school; it's hard enough to get them to focus. I don't think there is evidence that a longer day is beneficial, but year-round school systems seem to work.
     
  5. angelmom

    angelmom The love stays...forever in our hearts

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    ITA. I did my student teaching in London where there was a much more balanced school year. Even my 6 year olds were far ahead of even gifted children the same age here at home.

    We have a few local school systems that have gone to this type of calendar, and my friend who lives in one of them loves it. Their summer is not all that much shorter than ours, and they have some wonderful breaks during the cooler times of year.

    But a longer day? It is already challenging to get in the 2+ hours of homework that teachers say is appropriate, sports & dinner as a family (both of which reduce the risk of teen pregnancy and drug use) plus getting them to bed at a halfway decent hour!

    I keep saying that the problem with most schools is that no one can add to 24! (hours in a day, that is)
     
  6. JBean

    JBean Retired WS Administrator

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    All our year long schools have been shut down. I loved them and thought it was a great way to go. But they gave it a good try here and they did not work out.

    I think our schools need as much help as possible. I was just listening to an interview with an administrator that has taken a schools from the toilet to the top with lots of hard work and disciplne..great story. We don't need longer school days we just need more efective school time.

    [​IMG]
    You MUST hear Bill's interview with Dr. Ben Chavis about his book Crazy Like a Fox: One Principal's Triumph In The Inner City (9/25-8am)
    the podcast:
    http://tinyurl.com/y9rntcr
     
  7. momtective

    momtective Lifetime WS Non-Mod

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    We live in a rural community, have 8 children still at home, the older 6 play sports year round. We are up around here at 5:45am so the kids can catch the school bus at 6:45am. Their academic school day ends at 3:15. Football practice ends at 6:00 and games put at least 3-4 of us home anywhere between 9-10:00 on Thursday and Friday nights. The twins can't make it past 8:00 so I usually bring them home or stay home with them so they can have their baths and be in bed by 8:00pm.
    I'm wondering just how much longer he intends to make these school days and is this going to be mandatory.
    We usually can't afford too much of a vacation so the kids going to school for a longer school year really doesn't bother me...but my kids, their gonna be pizzed!
    What bothers me is my President deciding how long my kids should be in school. He doesn't know my kids, he doesn't know where they struggle and where they are successful and apparently, for my kids anyway, he wants them trying to learn when they are severely sleep deprived.
    Oh, wait a minute...isn't that the best way to brainwash people, by having them sleep deprived? Silly me...and I thought the man was concerned about my children's education. NOT!
     
  8. EclecticArtist

    EclecticArtist New Member

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    I think our schools system has been far behind those in other countries. Just look at where we have lost ground: Autmobiles, with European models being more efficient and safer, technoloogy, sciences...

    Unfortunately, the teachers in the US are not allowed to disipline the kids, there is no respect in the classroom or for our teachers.

    I recall many times I had to sit behind the paino in the corner, and also getting my knuckles wacked with a ruler... and of course detention! Now, what can they do, can they give the kids even "time outs"..?? Teachers today are afraid of the kids, this is wrong, very wrong.... Just mho
     
  9. sleutherontheside

    sleutherontheside Retired WS Staff

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    I wish there were an easy way to manage an increase in school day and in days attended that could make everyone happy. My kids attend from 8:20 AM until 2:50 PM. Living in FLorida, much of their school day is consumed with teaching for FCAT. FCAT is the standardized testing that must be passed that is in addition to the requirement of on grade level curriculum being passed. They come home with more and more homework that I feel should be covered IN SCHOOL. Sadly, there is not enough time for teaching lessons when so much emphasis is placed on the test. Practice sheets that teaching time saving techniques are commonplace as are worksheets teaching test taking vs. actual curriculum. Summer is so hard on my son because he loses so much and spends the first month or so playing catch up like other kids. I encourage reading and drills but come on people, it's summer. How much effort are the kids going to really put in? I see the importance of after school sports and activities. BUT, do kids really need 3 sports or clubs? I have neighbors who routinely spend until after 9PM on school nights with football practice and soccer. Ummmmm the kids are in elementary school. As my kids are coming down after bathtime, hw done, and ready for their snack, those kids are dragging in the door and lights don't go off til 11. The problem with childcare afterschool is expense and limited space. My kids come home with me, but for those parents leaving work and rushing to get to childcare by 6PM and then going home to do 2 hours of HW, a longer day with more classwork and less HW can be of great help. BTW...kids should not have more than 10 minutes of hw per grade year. So a 5th grader should have approx 50 minutes of hw per night. That has been said time and time again by the experts. The poor teachers who give more, are likely victims of the standardized testing issues interrupting curriculum. I don't understand why so many kids are involved in multiple league sports and at an additional expense to parents. I think that the schools should offer the activities and fees should be paid into those by parents and the districts. THen those practices, etc could be incorporated into the after school times and consider school schedules. In a perfect world (well mine), I would ask that kids would go 9AM-5PM, get more work done in school, have more time at home with family instead of being shuttled to 3 different places a week, get more rest, and parents could get a break. With whom, should I discuss this request???
     
  10. fran

    fran Former Member

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    It's not just that he wants year round school, he wants communities to kind of revolve around the school. He wants the schools open from about 7:30a.m. to 7 to 9 p.m. Not only that, he wants them to be open 6 or 7 days a week. One just needs to read about the new education secretary to see what Obama may end up proposing. This guy has his own ideas on how schools should be. I understand from his previous employment, this education secretary has set up some schools similar to this in the Chicago area, IIRC.

    My grandsons just went on year round school. They had 4 weeks summer vacation this year and as a matter of fact, they're on a two week break right now. They were given homework assignments over the two weeks, as well.

    The only problem for my son's family, is my dil is a teacher at a traditional school and my son is an administrator for that same district, so they're vacations don't completely coincide. But they haven't been able to judge how it works yet. The jury is still out.

    FWIW, I personally have felt that summer vacation for schools was too out of date. I've felt that way for decades. Even when I was a child, I would get totally bored by the last month of summer. I also feel the break in learning doesn't do our children any good. It's difficult to get back in the groove. IMO, shorter off times might be advantageous.

    I don't know about the longer days though. I think they might get a lot of resistance to that. Don't forget, the teachers are union. But then again, the administration always has their volunteer force like ACORN and Volunteer America that they could pay with federal funds to run these programs. ;)

    JMHO
    fran
     
  11. t93

    t93 Member

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    Year round schools make more sense than schools with longer days. We have several schools around here that go year round and the children do well-but they don't extend the school day. My kid is in an advanced private school and can have hours of homework. If he had a longer day, he would be up until midnight. Children do lose some knowledge during the three months they are out of school, so a longer school year could curtail some of that and add more math, which I believe is at the top of their "wants" for revamping education.
     
  12. sleutherontheside

    sleutherontheside Retired WS Staff

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    More math and science would be amazing. Hands on science with themes relating to DNA, forensics, chemistry, etc.... I would also like to see arts expanding from painting and clay work to teaching photography and graphic design. I need to run and find a suggestion box.
     
  13. Boyz_Mum

    Boyz_Mum New Member

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    (snipped from article)

    "The president, who has a sixth-grader and a third-grader, wants schools to add time to classes, to stay open late and to let kids in on weekends so they have a safe place to go."

    If children are allowed in school buildings on the weekends or after hours, doesn't this open the district up to lawsuits (if injuries occur on their grounds) and maintaining the buildings would cost quite a bit more than it costs currently? I don't see this portion of the article as a method that will be cost effective or logical in this litigous society. JMO.

    As far as the main idea of the article, keeping the children in school longer and making summer break shorter. I don't feel that's a good idea for "us" (our family). Our children did well in school with a four day school week, with longer days. Our children do well with a normal five day week. I have no problem with the schedule "as is". This is just my opinion, based on our home life and observations of our children and their "academics". (Believe me, there are some days I think about boarding school. :innocent: J/K.)

    Our local schools are not competing with Asia or the like. Our drop out (or kicked out) rate is alarmingly high, IMO. I have trouble with some of the courses that are not offered in our high school. General Math was dropped from the curriculum because children/teens need more Algebra. General Math is "learned" in elementary school. I understand the reasoning, but in all practical purposes, General Math is quite useful. Many "trades" depend on General Math as does balancing the checkbook. Home economics type courses are non existent, I guess we don't need those type of skills to "compete" with Asia or Japan? With the longer school year, will these courses be re-introduced? A longer school year or longer school day will take away from the hours we teach our boys this type of thing at home. What are the schools going to fill the time with? More algebra? More calculus?

    I saw on the local news that there is a University offering PE credit for playing Wii. A few years ago I recall a flap over a course in Human Sexuality that used the viewing of porn movies in the syllabus (which I think meant it was "part of the grading process"?) Parents, grants and scholarships are paying for these courses? Will a longer school year or longer school day include "Wii PE"?

    I'm sorry for the rant, I just feel like the schools are falling short in so many areas and simply increasing the time spent in school isn't the answer. If you're going to build a better mousetrap, you'd better start from the ground on up. You can't just toss on more stuff without careful examination of the whole structure. Try building a house on a foundation made with weak bricks and see what happens.

    Another concern is from an economic standpoint. How will any district's budget handle equipping the schools with cooling systems or A/C? How will districts afford paying the teachers salaries? (Our district is barely making ends meet now.) Will "we" borrow money from China for the weak school budget? Our current economy certainly can't afford higher school taxes. The unemployment rate around here is sky high, I'm not sure who can afford the property taxes as they are, let alone a few extra dollars for the schools?

    Lastly, I believe we should look at the other statistics amongst the countries we are trying to "compete with" globally. Divorce in America is upward toward 50%, teen pregnancy is about 10 times higher here than in Japan (and while we don't have home economics courses, we do have a "safe sex" course and the teen pregnancy and STD rates are quite high!), are there other statistics that create a different learning environment for us "vs" them? I honestly believe that we have a lot of housekeeping to do before we will be able to effectively compete with anyone.

    This is all my opinion. It is not meant to be disparaging toward anyone, anywhere.
     
  14. Openmyeyes

    Openmyeyes On the road to Utopia

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    EA - you make 2 very valid points....

    I was born in the 50's to a steel mill rigger and a power sewer for GM, very, very blue collar. My father, the rigger was also a shop steward for the union.
    I recall both of my parents being very pro union, because they wanted safer work environments and they wanted to be assured of a pension. They did not agree with the principle that slackers and drinkers (very prevelant in the parking lots on paydays at all the auto plants) could keep their jobs thanks to the union. Unfortunately, the unions decided to change what they perceived their role to be, and ended up curtailing the ability of our manufacturing sector to be competative.

    I went to public schools for the first 4 years of my education and they put me in a catholic school after that. I was one year behind grade level and had to stay in during recess for a full year to catch up(this was hell). The nuns had my fathers permission to 'do whatever' it took to keep me in line, and he let me know it at all times.
     
  15. Mr. E

    Mr. E New Member

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    Arts education all depends on your school district. Our school offers several photography classes, graphic design, broadcasting, and more. We also have AP Art. We used to have a dance class.

    When I was in high school we had a marine biology class -- I haven't seen a high school-level class like that since.

    Lots of schools have amazing things to offer. Some schools don't even have supplies for all their students.

    Also, regarding the school buildings being open, I don't know the norm, but our high school building is used by the community all the time. We have a nice gym, a nice auditorium. As a drama teacher, I have to schedule time in the auditorium in advance because it is used so often. During the summer, the school is open four days a week. I used to think it was because of summer school, but we eliminated summer school two years ago and it's still open. Most administrators work year long, rather than having 9-month contracts. Sports, band, and cheerleaders all use the building during the weekends. Weekends are when we build our sets. I don't know what this all has to do with liability, but it is common here.
     
  16. JBean

    JBean Retired WS Administrator

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    Hate to bump myself but I encourage all of you to listen to this podcast featuring this author. It is very interesting.

    http://tinyurl.com/y9rntcr
     
  17. Julessleuther

    Julessleuther New Member

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    Let me preface this by saying that I have worked in school systems for several years, and am finishing my degree in elem ed. From a teachers point of view, having more time in the year with the kids would be beneficial. However, many of the problems in our schools are not time management problems; it is curriculum, parental indifference, discipline problems, and administrative mis-management.

    However, what happened to parents educating their children, in a partnership with schools? Perhaps because of my background in education I act differently, but I spend my summers with my son traveling to places that are educational; museums, cultural sites. We have family time--we see family and friends we don't have time to see during the school year. Summer is also camp time; sports camps, science camps etc. Activities that are beneficial to my sons overall well being. My son is only little once and summers are my only real time to enjoy my son. My son has a year round schedule now, so summers are smaller, but we make the most of every bit of it.

    I also think the legistration that Obama may try with this will be limited. School schedules are dictated by state and local school district, so federal control in state issues will be difficult to pass. IMO
     
  18. SuziQ

    SuziQ Well-Known Member

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    My kids were part of the year round system that many districts are getting rid of. Year round school does not equal more days in school. Instead of a long summer vacation it's split up into several smaller ones. The standard year round school is 6 weeks on and two weeks off. It was actually started as a way to combate overcrowding and save money. With one track off at any given time, they could hold 5 classes in 4 classrooms. But they had to sell it to parents which is where all the positive pitches came from. These positive pitches ended not being true when put into practice.

    Most teachers do not like all the stops and starts because it takes a good week to get the classroom back in sync. It's also hard for parents to schedule daycare. I know in my situation I had to pay for full time daycare, to hold a spot for my kids, even though my kids only needed it two weeks out of eight. I could barely afford that and most families couldn't. I know many families who had to leave their very young children at home alone for two weeks at a time. You won't have older siblings to watch either because junior high and highschool are usually on a traditional schedule. If you have three kids on year round good luck getting them all on the same track. They'll never all be off at the same time. You'll never be able to take a vacation if you always have one kid in school and two off, etc. It turns family scheduling into a nightmare. I can't tell you the stress and financial relief I felt when I moved out of a year round school disctrict.
     
  19. Mr. E

    Mr. E New Member

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    I have an idea. How about year-round schools, but a regular, or even shorter, school day? But if a student is not reading at or above grade level, or is not meeting mathematics benchmarks, extra school time is mandatory. I think my biggest problem as a teacher is that I am supposed to make sure my students perform well on certain tests (state tests, exit exams, SAT/ACT), but they are reading far below grade level.

    So say for instance you are a student who is in 10th grade but reads at 4th or 5th grade level. When the dismissal bell rings at, say, 2:30, you report to class for enrichment in reading for an hour, then another class in enrichment in math for another hour. Then you go home.

    Too radical?
     
  20. SuziQ

    SuziQ Well-Known Member

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    I bet if your plan was put in the works, after awhile there wouldn't be too many 10th graders reading at a 4th or 5th grade level. There is a similar program in my school district. It was great and kept the kids busy till almost the time parents got home from work. Homework was done where a trained person could actually help. I'm not a teacher for a reason, besides helping my kids with homework always ended up with them trying to get me to give them the answers and do it for them. Kids are sneaky that way. And parents shouldn't complain about paying more for this, after school daycare, vandalism, afternoon sex and drugs between 3-6pm costs alot more money in the long run.
     
  21. Julessleuther

    Julessleuther New Member

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    Two school districts I worked at had similar programs. One of the schools had a before-school reading program that was heavily supported by teachers, and it was amazing to see students reading comprehension scores improve so radically. Alittle extra effort really made a huge difference. I think after school enrichment can be beneficial, as long as it has educational properties to it. In the school where I did my student teaching they had "fluff" after school enrichment programs. I came in and did a creative writing enrichment, and I even gave homework (writing specific genres in a writing journal) and was discouraged from doing that. When I sat down with my lead teacher and showed her how the children were NOT getting enough writing basics in the classroom and how I could suppliment those basics in enrichment, I won her over. I made it fun, but the children learned something new too.

    I think alot of teachers get into teaching for the wrong reasons. I have seen so many good students with poor teachers who did not want to exert the extra energy in preparation of lesson plans, instill higher level thinking skills, encourage excellence etc. Some just work the basic hours to get summer vacations, a paycheck etc. They do not want to start workshops and expend more energy than they have to. I have also seen and worked with phenomenal teachers who love teaching and go 150% for their students and are not appreciated by parents and admin and are encumbered by administration and parent restrictions, so that they are not able to progressively teach to students. I really think there needs to be more parental responsibility in working with and teaching your own kids. So many parents rely on schools to handle the brunt of discipline and education; schools are used as daycare for busy parents, instead of as educational facilities that are in partnership with parents. Why bother having kids if you cannot really be there as parents for them?
     

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