Posted Monday, February 2, 2009 9:06 AM | Contributed by Jeff
Gov. Ted Strickland's proposal last week to tack another 20 days onto the school year may mean an educational boost for the state's students, but it would mean big changes for many others. Those who run tourist sites such as Cedar Point amusement park said they will take a hit if the school year lengthens.
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Gov. Strickland hasn't detailed his plan or reasons for wanting to do this yet, so hopefully that will happen soon. I did catch that it is supposed to be over a 10 year period. I wonder if the days would be added in June only, or if some would be in August too.Last edited by Pagoda Gift Shop, Monday, February 2, 2009 10:02 AM
If they are going to add days to the school year, let them add them in December, January and March.
Seriously, right now the school year is so long they don't seem to know what to do with all the instructional time. I understand the thinking, but before extending the school year they really need to optimize what they already have.
--Dave Althoff, Jr.
Seriously, Dave? My daughter must go to school on a different planet than you. She's a first grader, and she only gets one recess (compared to the three I got when I was in first grade years ago). The school district just tacked twenty more minutes onto the school day, they send her home with multiple pages of homework a day, and they seem to run drills on a daily basis. All to try and keep up with No Child Left Behind.
Maybe we need to keep up with the Koreans. That's a different debate. But I would have to say that my view is the absolute opposite of yours.
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I agree ES, I mean I'm only 22 but I can see the differences even since I was younger and how my niece is today. I loved my long summers, but they always seemed shorter and shorter almost every year as I grew up. Of course as you grow up things always seem to pass a little faster, but checking now it really did get shorter. I used to remember school ending around early to mid June (around the 6th) and starting AFTER Labor Day . I think my last summer went from early July to August 23rd or something. It's not like the other breaks got longer to make up for that, and a snow day is almost unheard of anymore where I live. (sure when we used to actually get snow here years ago, but not anymore where its rare to get anything over a few inches once or twice a year).
right now the school year is so long they don't seem to know what to do with all the instructional time.
I can tell you that my kids' school does not have this problem. They could profitably use all the extra time they could get, and frankly, I would not mind more time added to the calendar year. And, this is a school that doesn't particularly care much about standardized testing. They just do a lot of really cool stuff, and with more time, could do more cool stuff.
There are some communities where the kids really do have to go home and help out on the farm during the growing season, but most of us do not live in them.
Quite honestly, any school in this country should be able to go on a schedule from After Labor Day to Memorial Day....no offense to teachers (because I am soon to be one) but there are some in the bunch that refuse to believe this concept. Most school districts compose 3 different school calendars that the teachers/administration vote on, most of the time...the calendar with the most "days off" usually wins and this is the calendar that usually has the most shotty end date. In fact, some school districts allow 2 weeks for winter break and then another 2 weeks for spring break, which really impact the length of the school year as well. I'm not saying students (and teachers) don't deserve a break, but 2 weeks long is kind of ridiculous in many aspects.
Secondly, it's minutes of instruction not number of days. The total minutes of instruction roughly averages out to the 180 days that everyone is basically familiar with. However, tack on an extra 10 minutes a day and you'd cut a few days of school...that is really all there is to it.
Unless he thinks that he can get the Feds to ante up what it's going to cost to implement, I don't think it's going to fly with the populace in general. Not taking into consideration the salaried staff, the where are the funds to pay the bus drivers, custodians , and the rest of the operating expenses going to come from? Most people are complaining loudly now that they are not getting their money's worth from the education tax dollars.
If they really think they need 200 days in a school year, cut back the number of days off during the existing calendar. The number of extended holidays (we never got a Spring Break, all we got was Good Friday and the Monday after Easter) nor did we get a Winter Break the length that they get now. Then there are the three day weekends (which I realize most are Federal holidays) and the inservice days. I could go on but you should get my drift.Last edited by Dutchman, Wednesday, February 4, 2009 11:30 PM
Dont we already make kids go to school long enough as it is. Just more time to try and cram there heads full of stuff they will probably never use anyway.
(Hint: don't, not dont; their, not there; and questions end with question marks, not periods.)
But the question is: Will merely forcing students to spend another year* in school solve the problem? I submit that it won't. Let's start by improving the results from the present schedule, then if more instructional time is necessary, do it by reforming the existing calendar. Only once that is done is it reasonable to start talking about making the academic year longer.
--Dave Althoff, Jr.
* Yeah, a year. One extra month for thirteen academic years; that's more than a year...a full calendar year at that, which is to say *two* academic years...added to the student's school obligation. Ouch.
I would welcome it, with open arms. I don't know about your school district Dave, but mine's not nearly as broken as you suggest. They do a good job, and use their time profitably. We're pretty happy with it---and we pay very close attention. Between the two of us, my wife and I have five post-secondary degrees. We take this very seriously, and if we felt that the local public school was not serving our kids well, we'd have them out and enrolled in a private school faster than you can say "summer vacation."
Put simply, my kids don't need 11 consecutive weeks off in the summer. Most school calendars have 16 or so weeks off throughout the calendar year. We could just as easily get by on 12 and still have plenty of time for family vacations, holidays, etc., and my kids could do more of the stuff they enjoy doing at school.
It's true that not all schools work this well. And, partly we benefit from living in a town where smart kids are not necessarily unpopular, and a large fraction of kids come from families that also take education very seriously---and that's certainly not true in some places. It would be hard to swing a dead cat in Ann Arbor and not hit someone with a PhD., JD, MD, or MBA.
forcing students to spend another year
You say this as though school is a prison sentence. It certainly doesn't have to be, and it wasn't for me. If your kids view it this way, then I'd agree---something needs to be fixed before you just do "more of it." But, my kids look forward to school starting each September.
I completely disagree. Kids need time to be kids. A great deal of social development occurs in the summer, and it goes a long way toward developing family relationships. My family relationships suck as it is, but they wouldn't exist at all were it not for summer.
Ask yourself, if you came out educated, and you feel your kids are being adequately served, what does more time in class gain? This is completely arbitrary.
My kids hated summer vacation. Most of their socialization was based at school thru either band, marching band, sports and other clubs. My youngest daughter , who lived at her moms before going to college, hardly ever saw her friends over summer. She didn't drive, most of her friends didn't drive they all lived about 2-3 miles apart with RTA not being an option. She was happy that band practice started a month before school did just so she could be with her friends.
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12 weeks isn't sufficient? The five waking hours a day after school ends? It sure seems like it would be to me---even with our relatively busy vacation schedule, it would be. We take three week-long vacations a year. We spend another two weeks with extended family. The rest is unstructured. While I'm happy with what the school district is doing now, I'd like for them to be able to do more---because they do some really neat stuff.
Full disclosure: my kids don't go to a "normal" school, with desks and regimentation and Mrs. So-and-so. They hang out on couches, have plenty of time in the day where they prioritize their own schedules, call their teachers by their first names, and three times a year take "focus studies", sort of like an elective in secondary schools. It's really a great setting, we love it, and they love it. It's fair to say that I might feel differently in a "normal" school.
Not to mention that kids now a day have 3-4 hours of homework starting in first grade. I never had homework until 4th grade, and even then it wasnt 3 hours. You need time to unwind, and one week is not enough. Besides when are you supposed to have family vacations? If everyone in the country was put on a full year plan then every one would have to take that family vacation the week of July 4th, talk about a nightmare.
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My problem with school is that they do their darndest to make it boring. What the school system needs is to make an effort to make school interesting. I hated school, and any smarts I gained came to me after I graduated.
Quantity is not the answer here, it's quality.
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Touchdown: most school districts that use a full-year schedule rotate most of the weeks off, except for the "biggies" around the New Year, etc. For example, I think LA uses six weeks on, two weeks off, rotated across four clusters, plus another two fixed weeks that everyone gets.
LostKause: they don't all have to be like that. Take a look at the focus studies link I posted above---that's what my kids have been doing since Kindergarten. They love it, and get a lot out of it. Just tonight they were talking about one of the sessions they've both done already: Spy School. They still write "secret notes" to each other that we parents are not supposed to be able to read in a simple substitution cipher.
Luckily, I know something about cryptography. But, don't tell them that.
Look at the Ohio education system, from a stat i heard back when i began college, i remember one of professors saying that Ohio ranked in the 40s for state education. That being said i believe that maybe this is a move to better educate the kids if at all possible.
Cleveland from which i live literally 2 minutes from has probably one of the worst ran school districts in all of Ohio and probably the nation. If Strickland is going to get money from the Fed like he hopes for education, then i can see this being implemented. The tourist destinations will probably take a hit, but Ohio in itself is also one of the states that is losing many jobs. This is only part of the problem.
The problem itself is will people have money to spend, and time to actually take kids to places, when everyone is tightening up the pursestrings on a daily basis. Strickland has a good idea going here, not to be a downer, but investing in a child's future with better and more adequate educations are far more important than restricting an amusement park. They must learn to creatively invest money and strategize to keep the attendance where they need it.
Look at the future of children with no education, if they don't they will be the people giving you your food at Cedar Point and we will still be complaining about the fact it took 20 minutes and cost us 10 bucks for fries and a soda. The fact is investing in people is far more suitable in this case.
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