Monday, September 28, 2009

Debate: Obama's Plan for Longer School Days - Shorter Summers

Posted by Mandy at 8:50 AM
If you've not been informed of Obama's new plan for our public school systems, take a look here for a bit of information.

Obama and Duncan say kids in the United States need more school because kids in other nations have more school.



"Young people in other countries are going to school 25, 30 percent longer than our students here," Duncan told the AP. "I want to just level the playing field."

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).

I have to vote  big fat NO to this plan, Mr. President. My children are at school from 7:50am - 3:00pm. If they cannot learn what is necessary to succeed in life in these hours, then, pardon my saying so, but the curriculum, the staff, or the general make-up of schools needs to change. Not the time spent there.

I do understand one good point made: children in disadvantaged homes fall way behind during summer. I think having an OPTIONAL summer program for these kids is a WONDERFUL idea. However, my children do not need it. I can handle their schooling needs in the summer - I don't need Big Brother stepping in on this front.

America's family unit is falling apart as it is. Should we have children spend even more time away from home? What would this mean for after school activites? If my kids were at school for even ONE more hour a day (and this plan could mean up to 3 more hours of school each day) then there is no way I'd allow them to play sports or do other extra curricular activities. Cheer and football practice would simply not be allowed. The family meal trumps all to me. Is THIS good for kids? I say no.

My children love sports. Madison loves dance. I love the family time spent together at their events. I don't feel we should be put into the position of giving them up or spending even less time together. The only thing I really dislike about sending my kids to school is the huge amount of time I am NOT with them. Those are my kids.. I take great pride in raising them, and I grew them in my body. Parting with them Monday-Friday is not something I take lightly.

I will say that if this plan ever comes into action - and our schools become on the list of those to change - I will absolutely take my kids out of school. There is nothing more important than family time. It is proven that kids that spend more time with their family earn better grades, have higher self-esteem, and generally are more successful in life. Why should this time be stripped away further? I say NO! What say you?

17 comments:

Allison on Monday, 28 September, 2009 said...

I totally agree as well.

And what about the teachers? Are they going to start paying more for the increased hours? They don't make it enough now as it is. And I assure by 3:00, the teachers are ready to go! :)

Denise Garcia said...

I totally agree with you Mandy. If it ever comes to this...and our schools participate...I will quit my job and homeschool. I couldn't imagine forcing my kids to spend an extra hour (or 3!) at school every day! Prayer, girl...lots and lots of prayer!

Whitney Steele said...

Even as a non-parent, I am 150% behind you on this. I firmly believe that children who are able to balance schoolwork and extracurriculars should not be lumped in with those who are not, and that children with attentive and supportive parents should not be subjected to additional hours of schoolwork when family time can serve the same purpose.

Let's consider that kids get of school at 3:00 now. If those kids haven't already tuned out by 3, what are the chances that they won't by 3:30? They aren't tiny adults. Heck, I can barely keep focus for 8-9 hours of work everyday. Why should we expect children to, when they have just as many if not more demands on their time? I worry that forcing children to spend more time in school will only serve to further decimate the already fragile American family unit. We, as a nation, as people, cannot afford to have that happen.

I do agree that an optional, voluntary summer program or after-school program should be offered - particularly for those kids whose parents aren't financially able to be with them immediately following school and in the summers. There are far too many children with too much time on their hands, and if extracurriculars and after-school activities aren't an option for them, they shouldn't be left to their own devices.

meggn06 on Monday, 28 September, 2009 said...

Definitely NOT in favor. Making extra learning available to those falling behind in core courses I would be in favor of, but ONLY for students falling behind... not for everyone!

Christine Gilbert said...

I am a teacher and a mom of four children. I believe what is important is the QUALITY of the education, not the quantity of the time spent there. Obama's idea is a poor one. Children need time to be children; to play outdoors, to engage in imaginative play, to enjoy their home, to interact with their parents & siblings, and of course, to attend activities/sports, etc. Is this another ploy to simply maintain the status quo of liberal brainwashing? Let's not be fooled by Obama. Besides how are teachers going to be compensated for these extra days? Our government can't pay them adequately now as it is. The last place Obama needs to be is in the classroom. Let's stand up for our teachers and give them the tools, materials, and respect they deserve to do their job. Children deserve respect to be individuals. Perhaps the shortcomings and red tape is the motivating drive that propels so many towards enrolling in the private schools. We can do better as a nation. Our children and our future depend on it.

Lou Arnold on Friday, 02 October, 2009 said...

I am for the year round school plan. You are basically in school for the same amount time and days (181) but you have more breaks, but only one month off of summer. This way it keeps everyones minds fresh (Teachers and students--disadvantaged or not). They would not be in any long except you only have a month off for summer, but you get more breaks during the year. This has been proven to be sucessful in a lot of schools.

Rosjuane on Monday, 05 October, 2009 said...

I know when I was a kid and they talked about year round school I was horrified but now as a parent I don't think it would be that bad. I would much rather them be home for more short breaks than the 3 month one we get now. And I think it would be nice for alot of parents too. Not as much babysitting fee, split families would benifit. I just don't think it's that bad of an idea. I'm not saying I think they should go more but just rearrange and spread it out diffrently.

Mandy on Monday, 05 October, 2009 said...

I actually would not be totally opposed to shortening summer vaca IF the time was made up throughout the year. Two weeks out here, three weeks out there. I do agree that kids lose a lot of info over a 3 month long break and having shorter breaks all year could be better for the retainment of everything learned. However, I stand by the big fat NO to longer days.

Anonymous said...

Never it would be terrible to have a longer school day.

ZippyTheWerewolf aka Anonymous said...

In NJ we have summer work that the kids have to complete before going back to school. AP students have more of a summer curriculum than regular students. This year round thing is ludicrous. The testing is tougher these days and the expectations are much higher. If you have a child who is an excellent student they can breeze by but many more are average at best and it creates more stress around schooling general. It's a stupid idea. Kids need after school activities to unwind from the day. There are some schools in local towns who get out of school at 3:30 and get home 4 or 4:30. not much time for winding down.

Anonymous said...

Who wants longer school hours? i have to say a big fat NO.

Anonymous said...

Longer school days, no. A longer school year would be so useful to teachers. The time would allow for teachers to spend more time on the students totally absorbing the knowledge instead of memorizing what is needed just for the next test. Also, a shortened summer cuts down on some parents relying on a child to get their own job during the summer to pay for those extra-curriculars like cheer and sports.

meggn06 on Thursday, 10 December, 2009 said...

Another problem I never thought of until someone mentioned split families was just that. What I mean by it, particularly pertaining to shorter summers, is that would mean less time for Dustin (and I) to see him son. Every other weekend is nice (when we're home) but weeks at a time during the summer are GREAT!

Jaimen Hume said...

First off; I just want to say that family time should NEVER trump someones education. If one of my parents had taken me out of school because I wasen't spending enough time home I would have hit the roof.
I'm in favor of a longer school year but shorter days. The time lost over summer break does students a great disservice.

Ted on Wednesday, 23 December, 2009 said...

I am a kid in 5th grade, and I learn nothing at school every day. It is almost completely review, and I know at least two other people in my class in the same position. Three people--that's one tenth of the class! I don't exactly believe that we should get more hours of boredom when we actually learn more at home.

Anonymous said...

Kids need more education anyway.. even the smart ones are falling behind other countries! If they don't learn as much at school, then they simply do it at home. Therefore, why not just extend school longer and ask for more donations?

Anonymous said...

It seems strange how summer is being described as a major threat to student development, but the actual system that our youth are sent to for the majority of the year is not being questioned. The purpose of the summer debate seems to be a distraction, a scapegoat, cleverly designed to mimic a solution and give relief to frustrated americans. It is simple to control the amount of time spent in school, it is a much more complex practice to introduce students to quality and substance in their learning which generates a good education.

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