Ohio bill limits school year to fall between holiday weekends, to boost tourism

Posted Thursday, April 28, 2011 12:13 PM | Contributed by Jeff

One lawmaker wants to change Ohio's school year so the state's amusement parks, resorts and tourist attractions can flourish from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

Read more from The Zanesville Times Recorder.

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Thursday, April 28, 2011 7:09 PM

To answer part of your question, there is longtiudinal data that shows year round school leads to no "gains" whatsoever.

But there is also some good data that suggest that results improve with more frequent, but shorter breaks. (This is closely related to, but different than, the spacing effect.)

But, mostly, year-round schooling has more to do with better utilization of physical plant. Why have all of your buildings closed 1/4 of the year, when instead you can have 1/4 of your students on break on any particular day? That way, you only need 3/4 as many buildings.

Gonch: there is a point of diminishing returns. But, the literature is clear on the benefits of "time on task"---the more you practice something, the better you get at it. That works for baseball, and it works for calculus. There's a great BBC article on this that's in my instapaper queue, but I have not yet read:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-13128701

And, the US is nowhere near "maxing out" on time on task compared to much of the rest of the developed world. Likewise, we are usually no better than mediocre when it comes to head-to-head performance comparisons. I posted statistics on this the last time this conversation came around, probably a couple years ago now, and I'm just too lazy/busy to look them up again today. Maybe later.

Ultimately, Jeff makes the right point. My kids are not competing with the rest of the kids in Ann Arbor. Or Michigan. Or even the US. They are competing with the kids in Shanghai, Delhi, Berlin, and Stockholm. And, on average, they are losing. The US has a long and storied history of thinking it was The Best In The World at anything it does, but the data is clear that, in educational attainment---particularly in math and science---we aren't even in the conversation.

The two A's and 1 B he has gotten on his report card in reading so far this year.

How can a kid get A's and B's on a their report card but need intervention to be promoted to the next grade?

Lots of possible answers here. While it's not common, it's also not incredibly unusual. I have a good reference that talks about some of the possibilities. I have to run, but will try to remember to post a pointer later.


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Thursday, April 28, 2011 9:39 PM

One of the problems with extra time being added to each day, is, in general, it doesn't work effectively. I remember when I was in school, we went from a 9 period day to an 8 period day so that we would learn better. What did that mean? 45 minutes in a period instead of 40. In practice what did that mean? Instead of have a minute or two at the end of class, we had 6 or 7 spare minutes...

I teach at the college level, and one of the problems is student attention spans. If I have a 4 credit hour course, it can be offered 2 nights a week for 2 hours or 4 days a week for 1 hour. Inevitably, which students perform better? Those who meet 4 days a week.

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Thursday, April 28, 2011 9:44 PM

We are constantly reminded of us falling behind as far as education goes, but this is not true at all IMO.

We take everyone, lump them into the same group no matter what their aspirations or ability are and test them all as if they were all headed off to be lawyers, cpa's, and doctors.

All these developing nations who have better scores than us all pick and choose the students at an early level and make no bones about their realistic abilities.

My Parent's were self employed and we went on a lot of trips, honestly I learned far more going to places like Gettysburg or the Henry Ford Museum or just simply driving the back roads of America and getting a real sense of what the world was about than I ever did in school. I was never going to be a math whiz or a science star and I realized this, my only wish is that instead of doing things in a college bound fashion I would have went to a vocational school as I have discovered that I would rather work in a hot sweaty shop burning metal than behind an office desk any day and I have done both.


-Brent Kneebush

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Thursday, April 28, 2011 10:09 PM
ApolloAndy's avatar

While that may be true for individual happiness (to the extent that you can separate the individual from the whole), the overall economic health of the country depends on advancement in math and science - really technology.

It may not matter on an individual scale, but if we fall too far behind as a country, we'll see economic security go right out the window.


Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."

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Thursday, April 28, 2011 10:23 PM

Some people's minds are not cut out for Math and Science, just saying!

At the same time I know plenty of engineers and chemists that excel at them all around me.


-Brent Kneebush

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Thursday, April 28, 2011 10:44 PM
Pete's avatar

I'm all for starting school after Labor Day. I may be showing my age, but when I went to grade school, our school year started the Wed. AFTER Labor Day and we went to the second week in June. We had 2 weeks for Christmas and 1 week for spring. "Service" days were almost unheard of and the snow had to be up to our armpits to have a snow day. In my entire 12 year grade school education we had 2 snow days. A standard day started at 8:15 AM and went until 3:30 PM. It was pretty much like that for all districts during my time.

Not sure when they started to change this, but a schedule like I had worked fine, we were focused on school but still enjoyed our breaks and a nice long summer. CP was open until 10:00 pm all through August back then because kids were out of school and the entire month was peak vacation time.


I'd rather be in my boat with a drink on the rocks, than in the drink with a boat on the rocks.

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Thursday, April 28, 2011 11:40 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

Brian Noble said:
Gonch: there is a point of diminishing returns. But, the literature is clear on the benefits of "time on task"---the more you practice something, the better you get at it.

And, the US is nowhere near "maxing out" on time on task compared to much of the rest of the developed world. Likewise, we are usually no better than mediocre when it comes to head-to-head performance comparisons.

I get this, but I'm asking more if you reach a point where it's not worth the gain because, you know, kids do nothing but schooling.

I'm sure other countries send their kids to school longer, harder and faster and pump out little machines that put American kids to shame. So what?

I liken it to that douchebag at the office that works 14 hours everyday. Sure, he'll get the promotions and raises and lunches with the corporate boys and you could too if you put in 14 hours days...but at some point you decide you want a life and there's more to your time on this Earth than keeping up with that guy. Compared to him, you're not even close...but that's ok because there are more important things.

All of that comparison and competition and stuff is fine - if the most important thing is to pump out the most productive and knowledgeable little workers we can. I'm not sure that is the most important thing. In fact, I think it's just one of many things that matter. I want my kids to sit in the grass and drool and daydream about nothing once in a while. I want them to do nothing but shoot the crap with some friends. I want them to take an hour and waste time trying to make ridiculous trick shots on the hoop in the driveway. I want my kids to take a week and travel the country riding roller coasters. It's ok if every waking second isn't another driven moment where my kids need to be productive for fear of some other person or child or country that doesn't give their kids as many chances to do something other than be productive or work towards being more productive.

That's at the heart of my posts. Like I said - 5840 waking hours a year. Anything short of that and you technically not doing as much as you can - but should you?

Last edited by Lord Gonchar, Thursday, April 28, 2011 11:47 PM
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Friday, April 29, 2011 2:05 AM
Tekwardo's avatar

Five hundred twentyfive thousand six-hundred min...wait, I cand do this without birdhombre in here. OH BRYAN!!


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Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.

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Friday, April 29, 2011 2:18 AM
Jeff's avatar

I totally agree with all of the sentiments that time as a measure of effectiveness is stupid. And to go along on Gonch's line, the same is frankly true in work as well (hourly, "production" jobs excluded, of course). The thing that I love about my job is that, at least in the groups I'd be willing to work in, no one is clock watching or taking attendance. People are treated as adults, and they roll in and out as they see fit. It's the results they're looking for, not the time you're in the office. I can't even tell you how much that can boost job satisfaction, life-work balance, and importantly, net productivity.

I would caution the stress on math and science though. While they're very important areas of expertise, the traditional academic paths aren't always necessary. I mean, I've worked with a lot of people in my field who were art history majors, and a surprising number who have no degree at all (I'm sure I'll hear it from Gonch).


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

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Friday, April 29, 2011 2:25 AM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

Jeff said:
I've worked with a lot of people in my field who were art history majors, and a surprising number who have no degree at all (I'm sure I'll hear it from Gonch).

Smug smile of self-satisfaction induced. :)

(Man, between our college discusions and this thread, I really sound anti-education. I might have to look into that.)

“When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.” - John Lennon


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Friday, April 29, 2011 4:31 AM

I know this is nothing but anecdotal evidence, but when I was in school we started the week before Labor Day, and it was always a total blow off week. Same thing in the spring, once the weather started getting nice around mid-May, attention spans evaporated and little meaningful work got accomplished.

As others have said, the amount of days spent in the classroom isn't going to do anything to improve or worsen the educational system in this country. Until other fundamentally flawed aspects of our system are fixed, keeping the kids locked up longer isn't going to make them any smarter.


And then one day you find ten years have got behind you
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun

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Friday, April 29, 2011 7:47 AM

Here's an interesting article about how using the average doesn't tell the whole story when comparing test results by country: http://voices.washingtonpost.com/answer-sheet/standardized-tests/so...-no-1.html

Some other things that aren't often taken into account:
1. The United States educates everyone. This isn't true in all countries.
2. The United States does NOT have a national curriculum. Do we trust Washington with this?
3. The Unites States does NOT have exit exams. Around half of the countries participating in the PISA test do.

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Friday, April 29, 2011 8:49 AM
OhioStater's avatar

To partially bring the conversation back around to the proposed bill, and to add to what Gonch an others have posted, I would propose that we could tinker with more school days, more strategic "spacing", etc., and in the end, little differences would be seen.

What I am saying is that the quality of 1) the school itself, and 2) the home/environment the child goes back to are the two variables that no "bill" of this nature can influence. In short, I am saying it really doesn't matter if this bill goes through or not. I still don't like the idea of politicians making changes to the educational system with no data to back up the ramifications of what they are proposing, however.

Here is an interesting article that gives a little insight to where my thinking has gone (and it highlights the importance of the 2 variables mentioned above...just read the abstract)

For instance, here at Mount Union, we will be undergoing what some perceive as "drastic" changes to our curriculum. Essentially, we are changing from a 3 to 4 credit hour system (thank whatever god you pray to), and also completely re-hauling our antiquated Gen-Ed requirements. Some are predicting the apocalypse. Dire results for our students. Classroom chaos. Really? Despite all the drama, it just really doesn't matter. We will still have a high quality education, because of the faculty, the facilities, and the students that we bring in.

The good schools will adapt. The good families will do what they need to do to make sure their kids adapt and reach their goals.

Last edited by OhioStater, Friday, April 29, 2011 9:39 AM
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Friday, April 29, 2011 10:13 AM
birdhombre's avatar

Tekwardo said:
Five hundred twentyfive thousand six-hundred min...wait, I cand do this without birdhombre in here. OH BRYAN!!

Yeah, actually that came to my mind too, but I couldn't come up with decent parody lyrics. :)

On topic though, I agree that throwing time at the problem is no more a solution than throwing money at it. If the bill doesn't specify how the hourly system is to be implemented, I'm sure there will be high schools making up snow days by adding 2 minutes to each class period, which is essentially useless. Even today, schools get around the 30-minute lunch requirement by having a 22-minute lunch and counting time between classes as part of "lunch."

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Friday, April 29, 2011 10:41 AM
Jerry's avatar

birdhombre said:


Tekwardo said:
Five hundred twentyfive thousand six-hundred min...wait, I cand do this without birdhombre in here. OH BRYAN!!

Yeah, actually that came to my mind too, but I couldn't come up with decent parody lyrics. :)

Too many Damn Friends of Dorothy in here - that's why I stop patronizing the bars so much! ;-)

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Friday, April 29, 2011 10:41 AM

OhioStater said:
Always two there are. A test and a teacher.

One to embody the power, the other to crave it.

Sorry, couldn't help it.


John
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Friday, April 29, 2011 11:36 AM
Tekwardo's avatar

I would just like to point out that I've actually never seen Rent :-). I cant add much to this discussion because talking about education In America upsets me too much.


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Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.

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Friday, April 29, 2011 11:48 AM
LostKause's avatar

I didn't even get the reference. I somewhat enjoy musicals, but I think it's less of a gay thing and more of an appreciation of the art form. A past stalker's infatuation with Rent has kept me far, far away from it, unfortunately.


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Friday, April 29, 2011 12:16 PM
Jerry's avatar

Be careful - they'll revoke your cards.

Anywho sorry I didn't actually mean to hijack this thread.

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Friday, April 29, 2011 12:17 PM
rollergator's avatar

Tekwardo said:
I cant add much to this discussion because talking about education In America upsets me too much.

Not sure how that can be, as there's almost nothing of substance there to talk about... ;)

As noted in Will Rogers' Follies: "I only know what I read in the papers".

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