WASHINGTON- Open your notebooks and sharpen your pencils. School for thousands of public school students is about to get quite a bit longer. Five states were to announce Monday that they will add at least 300 hours of learning time to the calendar in some schools starting in 2013. Colorado, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York and Tennessee will take part in the initiative, which is intended to boost student achievement and make U.S. schools more competitive on a global level. The three-year pilot program will affect almost 20,000 students in 40 schools, with long-term hopes of expanding the program
The feckless bureaucratic mind at work. More time is not the answer, just as more money is not the answer. 300 hours is the equivalent of two more months of school, and it will have zero or negative impact if the students and their parents have no interest in achievement.
It seems to be getting harder and harder to teach students basic skills and information. I assume that is what schools are trying to get into their heads, but whatever it is, teaching them anything sounds like it is becoming all but impossible. Why, pray, is this? First of all, is it even true? Many of us can remember school days as not particularly complicated or difficult. It was not my favorite thing, not by a long shot - but school was not the big deal it has become in recent years. You learned reading, writing and arithmetic. You took biology, chemistry and physics. There was algebra, geometry, trigonometry and sometime calculus. There was American and world history, civics, and of course English. There were a few other subjects, generally useless, P.E. and various forms of music. It was really pretty routine and usually boring. Backpacks were not needed to haul textbooks. Homework was not especially heavy. School did not consume all the time and energy it seems to take up today. Before that, there were one room schoolhouses. Americans managed somehow. We did pretty good. But now news reports suggest some kind of crisis, that it has for some reason become all but impossible to provide simple, basic instruction for American students. Something has changed, but I don´t know what.
Lack of discipline is what happened. Teacher imposed, or development of self-discipline. I had a dysfunctional family life, so I liked the order and structure of the school day. I was taught by nuns, who demanded excellence and to heck with hurt feelings. My smallest class was 66 students with ONE teacher. We sat 2 to a desk and shared books, and we all learned. The Teachers´ union is the other thing that happened.
They don´t need more time. They need to use time better. My son was in 6th grade in NY. With the ridiculous number of electives, he spent only 40% of the school day in Math, English, History, and Science. We transferred to Texas where the school day was 75% core subjects. He excelled in Texas.
On the other hand, I think this might be worth trying. Learning is a lot like sports, and every successful coach would love to have more coaching time. If the extended time is used effectively, it might be one of the best things to happen in recent educational practice.
I hope teacher unions don´t try to make this all about getting more money; although more work time does seem to call for reasonable extensions in compensation. A complicated issue . . .
You can read whatever you want into this, but I see it as just more baby sitting time to feed the keeds of the single parented, dumbed-down, barely aware, dope-smoking, self-absorbed, media-influenced, celebrity-obsessed, busted-as, Kool-Aid drinking, Escalade-driving, uninformed government-dependent/cell phone zombies.
Reply 11 - Posted by:
Ida Lil, 12/3/2012 1:14:05 AM (No. 9045229)
MY -mY_ mY Where have some posters been while students have been leaving the teacher and schools behind and graduating high School via distance learning with a minimum of one year of college credits to full junior levels and already declaring science majors? The lazy students seem to be of East Coast and mostly blue states education.
What happened...the comparisons of our students to those in other countries. Because we aren´t #1 there has to be something wrong. It doesn´t matter that we test and report scores for all public school students where other countries don´t.
How in the world did Tennessee get mixed in with those Liberal Marxist States? I thought Tenn had higher standards than that.
As for these extra hours, if they taught the hard core subjects instead of all these "feel good" courses for the sake of "self esteem" that wouldn´t need those extra hours.
The current education system has convinced me that those who graduated from high school 50 or more years ago were a lot better educated than those graduating today. If we wanted to be in an extra curricular activity such as football, basketball, band, or whatever you dang well better be passing in all your main subjects or you were out. What´s the standard today?
I have twe granddaughters who go to a high school that is in an upscale community. The student body is heavily Jewish and education is taken seriously in their school, if not efficiently. They have tons of homework and their back packs are backbreaking. They have to keep in touch with the school electronically. Over the week end they often get email giving them additional instructions for home work.
If you don´t have children in such a school, you have no idea what the kids are up against. The last thing my grandchildren need is more time in class. They keep running and jumping through hoops. They have been required to learn, by heart. some of the most ridiculou, useless, stuff you could ever imagine. I think the teachers delight in putting them through the wringer.
I can still recite poems I had to learn but they were uplifting and actually made sense.
Nothing will help a system structreed the way it is now unless it is completely dismantled and retooled without union influence, and achievement is the primary goal. Kids are capable of so much more. This is the sad result of four decades of intentional dumbing down to create compliant obedient robots.
A good first start would be to get rid of Jimmy Carter´s Department of Education. Better all education should be controlled at the State level. State control would also break the back of the NEA, which is most destructive to our education system.
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