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View Full Version : Ready for Longer School Years?


adbullock
09-27-2009, 07:36 PM
Just one more thing I'd like to know how we're going to pay for. This man doesn't seem to get the fact that we're so deep in debt as a nation we can't see straight and just wants to pile more on.

More school: Obama would curtail summer vacation - WTHR | (http://www.wthr.com/global/story.asp?s=11207736)

There are so many disturbing things in this article I don't know where to begin.


tenXmom
09-27-2009, 08:00 PM
When the Offspring went to school in Los Angeles we had year round school - I have to admit I liked the shorter summer and longer spring/winter breaks - they went to same number of days as the traditional school year, just broken up differently

I'd like to see summer school come back as an option beyond remedial classes in my area

BUT

I have a real problem with the idea of adding three hours on to school days - esp at the elem level - The first thing to come to my mind was "free" afternoon childcare for all

Aside from improving academic performance, Education Secretary Duncan has a vision of schools as the heart of the community. Duncan, who was Chicago's schools chief, grew up studying alongside poor kids on the city's South Side as part of the tutoring program his mother still runs.


"Those hours from 3 o'clock to 7 o'clock are times of high anxiety for parents," Duncan said. "They want their children safe. Families are working one and two and three jobs now to make ends meet and to keep food on the table."

Kim
09-27-2009, 08:24 PM
Just another thing that shows how out of touch they are. Duncan makes the comment that not to many kids are working in the fields anymore. Have they missed the whole big section in the middle of this country where kids are doing exactly that? I can't tell you how many kids in this area are going home and doing chores or working the fields in the summers and on weekends. Maybe it isn't a matter of survival for the family anymore but it certainly would put a strain on the family to have longer days or school years.


kamie3535
09-27-2009, 08:39 PM
From the article.

Obama says American kids spend too little time in school, putting them at a disadvantage with other students around the globe.

While it is true that kids in many other countries have more school days, it's not true they all spend more time in school.

Kids in the U.S. spend more hours in school (1,146 instructional hours per year) than do kids in the Asian countries that persistently outscore the U.S. on math and science tests - Singapore (903), Taiwan (1,050), Japan (1,005) and Hong Kong (1,013). That is despite the fact that Taiwan, Japan and Hong Kong have longer school years (190 to 201 days) than does the U.S. (180 days).

Things that make you bang your head in a wall!

Can Barry please tell me when it's time to wipe my ass next?

Here's a thought, get the freaking federal government out of it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! They love to bitch about the mess they create, never acknowledging they created it!

zg04
09-27-2009, 09:14 PM
I'm just waiting for them to tell me I'm not allowed to homeschool anymore.

simplesahm
09-27-2009, 09:26 PM
...yet another brilliant observation by "O" on the length of school hours and our inadequate education system....

...yet, next week - we will be summoned by "O" about childhood obesity. I'm pretty sure that longer hours behind the desk...and less "vacation time" will solve both problems. ;)

...I am a little stumped because he loves to talk about "parental involvement".....

Let me just get this straight - two full-time working parents (8:00 - 5:00) which is typically required thanks to the crappy economy...send the kids to school from 8:00-3:00 and has less than 3 hours of "together time" with the kids to help them with school work, to bond with them, to throw baseballs...before they go to bed.

...yes, longer school hours sounds like yet another brilliant plan laid out by president hopey-changey...

While there would be less time for things like sports, recreation...family time....

There would be plenty of time for the kids to sing....

Barack Hussein Obama....mmm...mmm...mmm...

;)

adbullock
09-28-2009, 02:35 AM
When the Offspring went to school in Los Angeles we had year round school - I have to admit I liked the shorter summer and longer spring/winter breaks - they went to same number of days as the traditional school year, just broken up differently


When we lived in Sacramento we had year round schools but what we had there is not what he's proposing. He's not talking about the same number of days but with vacations doled out differently. He's talking about additional days AND hours on those days inside the classroom.

In all honesty my kids are exposed to far more things I disapprove of in the classroom than they would be at home and around the neighborhood.

It's really odd our state was considering ways to save money on schools and one of the ideas being supported is going to four days of classes and extending the hours each of those days. The amount of money that could be saved by cutting out one school meal each week and not running the buses for one full day each week was enough to gather attention. Unfortunately it was overwhelmingly opposed by parents who feared the need to pay for one day of child care each week.

My main point is this though. If they are having to struggle now to make ends meet in the schools, how are we going to pay for the additional time in the classroom.

I agree with whomever said we need less government in the classroom not more to make things work.

One more thing. I'm tired of the notion that all kids are equal. It's simply not true on an academic playing field. I grew up in a very poor family and had one of the highest GPAs in my school. I went to college on early admission and had a full tuition, room, and board academic scholarship. Other kids who had a stay at home parent with a college degree didn't achieve nearly as much academically as I was able to. I have three kids. One of them struggles a little more academically but she is the most cunning of the three. She can reason things out like no one's business and she's driven. My son is brilliant. His problem is he can't sit still for five minutes and actually forgets to finish his work in class especially if there is some sort of dividing line between one half and the next. His grades suffer as a result. My oldest is smart but has no motivation at all. She doesn't want to push herself she's content with average grades. She makes the honor roll consistently but not the all A honor roll. She never studies and only wants to take the academic courses that are required.

Why do I say all this? Because my kids grow up in a home surrounded by books and parents who read. They have me at home all the time (while I do work, I am present and accounted for). Even so, I have one child that is more likely to achieve than the two who score better on the tests that are designed to measure achievement.

But the world needs high academic achievers, scholars, and doctors as much as it needs people who are willing and able to do other jobs that don't require in depth knowledge of arts and history or other things a well rounded education includes (contractors, garbage collectors, landscapers, road workers, home builders, waitresses, and countless other jobs). We need people to learn trades and we need time to have an impact on who our children become rather than allowing them to be indoctrinated into "worker bees" serving the hive year round.

Bailey4
09-28-2009, 04:13 AM
Has anyone considered about what its going to cost to retro fit most of the public schools to accomadate this idea? I realize that warmer districts have gone to air conditioning, but we still have older schools that we are struggling to heat in the north east. Air conditioning is something we provide for very limited areas. Some buildings are just not going to be good canidates. Does Obama have a building bailout planned?

jnmurra
09-28-2009, 04:32 AM
First of all, what about rural areas? Some of the kids here get on the bus at 5:30 a.m. (and yes, that includes kindergartners!) to get to school and start on time, which here is technically 7:40, but since the state has taken over our BOE this year and science and social studies have FINALLY been added back to the curriculum, my 3rd grader's teacher starts at 7:20, just when my daughter gets off the bus because there's so much to do. The kids who get on the bus at 5:30 aren't getting home until 4:30 p.m. now! And yes, in this neck of the woods, some kids actually still help on the family farm before and after school.


Secondly, while an extended school year (not longer days, but year-long) may be great in areas where the weather is nice, it's not when you live somewhere in which the snow flies sometimes 8 months out of the year, summer months are actually the only time to schedule family activities. But, yeah, who cares about family time? I mean do kids really need it? Or do they really need those long summer days spent outside? :rolleyes: Our state legislature did pass the year-long schooling, though, so I imagine that will be starting in '10.


And yes, Bailey, we do not have air conditioning in our elementary school, nor proper heating in some rooms. My 3rd grader's teacher has already told them they'll be wearing their winter coats in class this winter because her room is not properly heated and the windows are a mess and she actually had snow coming in her windows last year! :eek:


My kids are already in school 7 hours and 20 minutes now. To go 10.5 hours per day? I don't think so.

jnmurra
09-28-2009, 04:37 AM
And another thing...where, oh where, are we getting the money for the additional teaching and staff time and the additional food that will have to be served because they're going to have 3 squares a day instead of 2 (if you want to call what they're served a square meal)? Do we really expect teachers, one of the most underpaid professions in this country, to work these extra hours and still pay them the measly amounts they already are paid? There's a teacher shortage in this area already.

Bailey4
09-28-2009, 07:25 AM
This has been the argument for years that would trigger pay increases for teachers. So don't be suprised when the prices increase. After all one of the benefits of the job was vacation time. You also are going to have to consider training and repair time. Many teachers do train during the summer and most building improvements and major cleanings are done during breaks. Remove those and expect more builiding issues not fewer as time continues.

adbullock
09-28-2009, 08:16 AM
Dont' forget bus maintenance (we had a HUGE issue on the news about half the buses in Indianapolis not passing inspections), crossing guards for extra days, burnout factor and faculty fatigue, increased technology expenses, and countless other expenses they haven't even thought of yet.

Like I said he likes to put all these things out there but never mentions how the heck we're going to pay for them.

Kim
09-28-2009, 08:52 AM
When they make these comparisions of us versus other countries I wonder how much comparision there really is? Do we look at the fact that Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Japan are outscoring us in math and science and say 'well it must be because they have more school days' or do we actually sit and look at their curriculums? Do those countries have their kids in gym 3 and 4 days a week, music 2x a week, art 1-2 times a week? Do those countries have to give kids an hour of guidance every week because parents can't teach little Johnny that it isn't nice to be a bully? I'm guessing the answer is no. So if we lengthen school days and school years do we actually teach kids more of what they need or do we just add to the ever increasing burden of what teachers have to teach because parents can't be bothered?

Really these decisions should be up to the states. I live in a rural, agrarian area. Like Jen we have kids riding the bus for ridiculous amounts of time already. And they backed our bus routes up this year because my school is doing free breakfast for everyone starting at 7:30. We have kids who actually do work the family farm, longer hours or more days aren't realistic for them. But my school district has taken steps to improve how the kids do in math, reading and science working within the time they already have. My kids go to a school in our district where the curriculum is Science based. Most of what they do is targeted towards science. Their reading assignments are science based. They do research projects in earlier grades, they have a robotics team. Now none of the kids from this school have graduated yet so we don't know how it will pay off but at least the school district is putting in the effort. Also, the regular school has an Odyssey of the Mind team that competed at worlds last year, against teams from the countries we are being compared to and they did pretty well. So the school districts will find a way if they are given the resources to work with what they have.

adbullock
09-28-2009, 09:26 AM
I wonder if corporal punishment is allowed in schools in these other countries?

We've tied the teachers hands for discipline and wondered why they aren't getting anything accomplished. It's truly ridiculous.

Comparing our schools to theirs is comparing apples to oranges. Are all kid's in those countries (including special ed kids) included in those numbers? Is attendance compulsory for all? There are a billion factors that could turn those results in the favor of those countries over ours and not one of them will mean that they have better schools than some of the best in our country. It's a numbers game and China's top 10% in the IQ department will beat out our top 10% for high score because there are so many more people in China. The US has a little over 3 million people in the population. China has 1.3 BILLION. That alone makes all the difference in the world.

Yes there top students are kicking our top students butts because there are just so many more of them.

jnmurra
09-28-2009, 10:22 AM
Comparing our schools to theirs is comparing apples to oranges. Are all kid's in those countries (including special ed kids) included in those numbers?



I agree. And I just read on another forum, and as soon as I get a moment will try to verify, that special ed scores are included here, but they are not included in the #s for other countries. Okay, I hope not to be insensitive by saying this, but including those #s has to have a huge impact on our scores.

adbullock
09-28-2009, 10:36 AM
You can bet it does. Also high school is not compulsory in China. My guess is that only the kids who show promise and aptitude are going to high school and being included in these test scores. There are tons of high school students in America that can barely read and right. Those kids are tested too. Many of them are in trade programs instead of pursuing academics but some of them are just biding time until they are legally old enough to call it quits. The downside of requiring kids to be until a certain age is that these kids who don't want to be in school or really should be pursuing a trade of some sort rather than an academic education are pulling down the scores of those that are doing well, want to learn, and want to achieve.

Kim
09-28-2009, 10:44 AM
Part of the problem too is our reluctance to seperate kids based on their abilities. We discussed this at a meeting I was involved in last year. Those who excel are offered Gifted/Talented resources while those who are behind are offered resources and those in the middle get stuck between the two. But we can't pull out the over achievers or the under achievers because that would be discrimination. Sooner or later we are going to have to understand in this country that not everyone is created equal and that putting kids in groups based on their abilities only helps them while forcing them all together hurts everyone.

Bailey4
09-28-2009, 03:43 PM
I agree. And I just read on another forum, and as soon as I get a moment will try to verify, that special ed scores are included here, but they are not included in the #s for other countries. Okay, I hope not to be insensitive by saying this, but including those #s has to have a huge impact on our scores.

Well we should look at data for what it is and be honest about it. We have school programs that continue our special needs children in the system and prepare them to turn 21. These are all valid programs. However, I know in our state the waivers are getting more and more strict in the required test years for those children we know will qualify to stay in our districts until they turn 21. It is not easy to get an alternate assessment as it was when the testing started. That means we do have a number of children testing for whom the odds of truly improving the state to passing or above grade level are not probable based on realistic expectations of their conditions.

When we look at data from other countries we don't see a break out of SPED populations. They also don't discuss their regular education students who while not diabled don't qualify for higher education programs that are part of their testing track.

I'm all for holding our feet to the fire for high standards. Our students should be graduating with the ability to read and write. However, the constant comparisons to other countries should be based on real data not imaginary fantasies to motivate us through guilt.

sheshamom
09-29-2009, 09:34 AM
Heck, it would probably pass just for the reason you stated.....free childcare.

I'm a preschool teacher and I've seen many parents enroll their kids in the Head Start program next door and then enroll in our program in the afternoon. All day free childcare. And then.....the elementary school has a Boys and Girls club right next door on school grounds. Lots K-garten kids go rigth there after school and then get picked up when they close....at 6 p.m. I've heard with my own ears "you aren't coming home. You are staying here because I don't want you at home. I will be back at 6!"

Would something like this pass for real though.. Doubt it. With budget cuts our preschool program is actually considering SHORTENING our school year. Less salaries to pay and less cost to run the building. Less wather usage, less electrical, less gas, no custodian to pay etc. With the cuts in school districts this wouldn't be possible. They would have to INCREASE pay and all that.



I have a real problem with the idea of adding three hours on to school days - esp at the elem level - The first thing to come to my mind was "free" afternoon childcare for all

I]

adbullock
09-29-2009, 01:34 PM
Now, if only we could get them to understand that SOMEBODY is footing the bill for this "free" childcare, healthcare, bank bailout, mortgage industry bailout, etc.

Let's hope the states stand up and collectively scream "Hell no we won't go" to this one. The good news is that most states, since states and cities foot the majority of the bill for education, have plenty of incentive not to go along with this.