Ohio tourism executives want alternative to longer school year

Posted Monday, March 30, 2009 9:29 AM | Contributed by Jeff

Among many components of the Ohio governor's proposed reform, Ted Strickland is hoping to phase the 20 extra days into the school year within the next 10 years by adding four days every two years. Tourism officials, including Cedar Fair executives, say the impact on their business would be substantial.

Read more from The Sandusky Register.

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Monday, March 30, 2009 10:18 AM

I miss the days of long summers, I even noticed them getting shorter and shorter as I grew up, seems they want to kill it all together. It was nice to have a real transition from grade to grade, and a nice few months off, and I did fine in school. Seems like they want less summer, more school, and more homework. I'm mostly basing this off personal experience as well as my neice who seems to have way more homework then myself at her age. "substantial" seems the word for it, it's pretty much an entire month gone for regional parks

Last edited by P18, Monday, March 30, 2009 10:20 AM
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Monday, March 30, 2009 10:31 AM
rollergator's avatar

I'm just constantly annoyed by the idea that "more hours" (in class and on homework) is THE answer to our education issues. I know I never spent three hours/night on homework before I got to college, but I'm hearing all the time about this from coworkers and other people I know who have kids in school. Kids need the time (and the effort of adults) in order to grow socially, to grow physically, to grow emotionally, AND to grow intellectually - i.e., well beyond rote memorization, into critical thinking, etc. There needs to be a revolution in the thinking about education, or we just might end up with a generation of overweight pasty-white antisocial kids who still can't compete in the global marketplace.

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Monday, March 30, 2009 10:42 AM
Jeff's avatar

Indeed, the focus that legislators make in terms of education seem completely arbitrary (how else do you explain the silly No Child Left Behind?). It's a complex problem, but when I talk to teachers, it seems clear that government and real educators are so far disconnected in the solutions that lead to better education.


Jeff - Webmaster/Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Twitter - Video

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Monday, March 30, 2009 10:51 AM

In a way, I understand NCLB. Politicians want a black and white number that says the dollars are being spent wisely. From their end that does make sense.

However, education isn't black and white and teaching to the standardized tests has the effect of not educating anyone.

It would be interesting to see a school or school district refuse NCLB and State money and forego the standardized tests. Teach the kids properly and see how well they do in college and then the real world.


John
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Monday, March 30, 2009 11:11 AM

Well said Rollergator

Has anybody here ever read any of John Taylor Gatto's books. I agree with him when he says, "we need less school not more." Schools already fail us and keep us locked away from true educational experiences out in the world so why increase its role in our lives. I remember how much I hated being locked away in a classroom on those first warm days because I wanted to go outside so bad, while later on I got to listen to people complain that kids don't appreciate the outdoors. Kids need a chance to be themselves, enjoy the outdoors with their friends, and to have time to do things and explore what the world has to offer. During the school year there is simply not as much time to do anything but become a mindless drone that schools produce.

All I can think of is the time I wanted to go to Coastermania to hear what the Cedar Point execs had to say during Q&A and perhaps to see if i could personally ask about their careers after the session, but I couldn't go because I had school that day. We didn't do much that day in school.

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Monday, March 30, 2009 1:32 PM

My experience was that any day before Labor Day and any day after Memorial Day was pretty much wasted in school. Okay, so exams were given after Memorial Day but that was about it. Many classes actually did their last exams early and spent the last week or so on pretty frivolous stuff, because there was a lot of non-academic activity going on that, combined with the 90+-degree temperatures in the classrooms (many of the windows in the ancient building were jammed/painted/bolted shut, and the most of the ones that could open could only open 4". Thank God the ones in the computer lab were able to open 4' instead...) meant that there was precious little academic work going on for that last week or two.

Homework is another issue that needs to be examined. As adults we are expected to put in an 8-hour work day...but now we are expecting our children to work for ten? I remember the school day being seven hours long. That means at most they're entitled to another hour a night on average. There is more to life than schoolwork, and our educational system needs to reflect that. What opportunities for real learning are lost because students are stuck with a mountain of work that they probably shouldn't be doing in the first place?

Why are our schools basically set up to teach our children that education is a chore, something that you spend an ever increasing amount of your time enduring. Why aren't our schools concentrating on teaching our children (for lack of a better description) how to learn, and turning our students into inquisitive, life-long learners? Our system of schooling teaches our children to hate learning, and that, to me, is a serious crime. Fix that, and you'll get better results by making the school year *shorter*.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

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Monday, March 30, 2009 2:47 PM
Olsor's avatar

It's not how many days of school you have--it's what you do with the days of school you do have. Too many parents treat school like it's free daycare for their kids. If the parents don't care about their kids getting an education, the kids won't care, and the teachers won't bother. It's not something that can be repaired through more spending or more school days. You can't legislate personal responsibility.

/Works in the test publishing industry
//Knows NCLB does nothing

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Monday, March 30, 2009 3:32 PM
dsloban's avatar

I know they want people to learn, but come on if they keep adding more and more to the school year, it will get to the point where a kid can't even enjoy being a kid! I mean its bad enough the in most cases, both parents have to work and some parents even work two jobs just to make ends meet, but it is getting crazy to where it is no fun to be here in Ohio anymore! Life is too short not to have time to enjoy it!


Life is like a rollercoaster! It is full of ups and downs!

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Monday, March 30, 2009 8:14 PM

Im for the going 9 years straight thru with only four weeks a year off for breaks.Japan does it and many other countrys do. I think they start at 5 and graduate high school at 14.

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Monday, March 30, 2009 8:17 PM

Dave, that is the best post I have seen in my 8 years on CBuzz.

I have 3 years towards a teaching degree and I said "no more" the way that teachers in this country are taught to teach absolutely appalls me. Kids do not learn in any set way.

As a kid back in the 80's I learned far more going on trips with my Dad on road trips and actually seeing things in action than I ever did in a classroom.

I am a huge proponent for Montessori Schools, if the Government truly believed in "No Child Left Behind" we would push a learning environment that works for each individual kid.


-Brent Kneebush

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Monday, March 30, 2009 9:31 PM
LostKause's avatar

I quit doing homework after I had to carry 8 large books on my three mile walk from and then back to school. I graduated with a C average, and I can't help but wonder how my life would have turned out if I hadn't had so much homework that I didn't do.

Most teens don't like to go to bed until midnight or later. Then they have to get out of bed around 6am? I'd always fall asleep in class right after lunch.

It just hasn't worked for a vary long time. Kids spend way to much time letting the government make them miserable in the first place.


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Monday, March 30, 2009 11:33 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

LostKause said:
I can't help but wonder how my life would have turned out if I hadn't had so much homework that I didn't do.

Or if you had done it. ;)


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Tuesday, March 31, 2009 12:56 AM
LostKause's avatar

I decided that I wasn't going to do it. That was my point, and I stillwouldn't have done it, knowing what I know now. I had more important things to spend my time on, for example, playing the guitar and singing, my first after school job, where I made actual money, and organizing concerts for all the kids who had nothing to do in a city that didn't care about their youth.

There wasn't enough time in the day to do hours and hours of homework and still be a teenager.

I sometimes wonder if these so-called educators really want to tackle the real problems in the school system, like the super high drop-out rate, or teen violence, which I feel is at least partially caused by the way they practically imprison students and fail to engauge them in a way that will make them want to learn. Some kids do not respond well to mindless repition of useless facts all day long. At my school, either teens spent all of thier time doing schoolwork, or they had a life. I chose to have a life.


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Tuesday, March 31, 2009 1:58 AM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

rollergator said:
i.e., well beyond rote memorization, into critical thinking, etc.

Agreed. But I still think rote memorization has a place.

Most things I've learned in life involved getting technique down until it's just second nature and then taking a more critical and/or personal path of growth from there. Reading, music, math, photography - it's all basic, unyielding technique that must be learned and then built upon in countless, more personal ways.

One of the biggest problems I have with my kids' school's approach is that there's not enough 'hard info' being taught and a lot of touching on different ideas and concepts. I personally don't understand how you're expected to grasp the 'big picture' while ignoring the basics. Becoming skilled or proficient in almost anything in life involves making the basics completely comfortable and then running with those skills to create your own 'big picture.'

In other words, how do you move on to more advanced math concepts if you don't just know that 7x7 is 49 or 5+5 is 10 right off the top of your head or move on to a greater understanding of language without basic phonics or sentence structure knowledge or learn to play an instument without practicing scales or take great photos without understanding shutter speeds and aperture? (all of which is really just repetitive memorization at the basic level)

Just a pet peeve of mine and I found it interesting that your suggestion is basically a recurring theme in this thread (and one I tend to agree with), yet one of my major complaints with my kids learning is that their schooling has leaned too far the other way.

Good thing they have such a brilliant dad at home to keep them on a solid path. ;)


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Tuesday, March 31, 2009 9:50 AM
Jeff's avatar

In the case of math, I know that there are some schools that teach things in a more conceptual manner, and for some people that works better. For example, I used to get in trouble for not "showing my work" in school, because when I saw 341 + 298, what my brain saw was 341 + 300 - 2, because it's easier. To this day I operate that way, and I think I'm better for it, even though I would get yelled at.

And while I advocate this sort of thing, I'm also realistic in believing that not everyone learns the same way, and therein lies the problem. How do you accommodate different learning styles efficiently? Can you at all? I know that teaching kids to pass pointless tests is not helping.


Jeff - Webmaster/Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Twitter - Video

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Tuesday, March 31, 2009 10:29 AM

How do you accommodate different learning styles efficiently?

Doing this well is one of the cornerstone principles of "open education":

http://aaopen.a2schools.org/aaopen.home/all_about_ann_arbor_open

I don't know that it's efficient---it takes a lot of work, and the teachers in that school have a tougher job than your average elementary/middle school teacher does.

I'm also guessing that Dave A. would find a lot that he likes about A2O.

A2O is, as you might expect, not a big fan of the Michigan standardized testing system. Our kids take them, because they have to, but most of the teachers don't much care about them, and only one or two "teach ot the test." To be fair, that's partly because the students are a self-selecting population that tend to do well on these exams anyway. You have to register for a lottery, and jump through a few non-trivial hoops to enroll at A2O. So, even though it is a public school, the students are drawn from families that take a proactive stance on education.

But, at the same time, the students at A2O are expected to "just know" many of those fundamental facts, and to acquire the "standard" set of skills.

Last edited by Brian Noble, Tuesday, March 31, 2009 10:31 AM
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Tuesday, March 31, 2009 11:13 AM
rollergator's avatar

Here in Gainesville, P.K. Yonge has always (at least 25 years) been designated as a "laboratory school". It's closely affiliated with UF's College of Education, and much like Professor Noble is saying re: A2O, there are non-trivial hoops to enrollment. Nonetheless, I think when you select out certain populations who have parents that are involved and interested, THOSE students do better almost universally. The non-selected students, I suppose, suffer to some degree from the lack of interaction with the overachievers - but at what point should these decisions be made based on what's best for society? Diversity rocks...but maybe we could do a better job of teaching each child to their own individual level of potential? Slowing down "the best and the brightest" to try and keep everyone together for the purpose of doing well on a standardized test isn't working too well. But what would you anticipate happening when schools and teachers are financed based on that same (stupid) test? More questions than answers this time...sorry. ;)


You still have Zoidberg.... You ALL have Zoidberg! (V) (;,,;) (V)

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Tuesday, March 31, 2009 12:28 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

Jeff said:
For example, I used to get in trouble for not "showing my work" in school, because when I saw 341 + 298, what my brain saw was 341 + 300 - 2, because it's easier.

I think most people end up doing that.

But you had to understand why that works before it made sense. You can't go to 341+300-2 without understanding why that makes sense. Once you reach the point where you're rounding for the sake of speed and simplicity, you have understanding of the basic concepts.

What they seem to do at my kids' school is tech the rounding and expect the reasoning behind it to magically sink in.

rollergator said:
Slowing down "the best and the brightest" to try and keep everyone together for the purpose of doing well on a standardized test isn't working too well.

Then maybe the schools around here are more progressive than I realized. For example, three of the first grade teachers work together (one being my son's) for reading and they don't just teach their classes. They break the kids into smaller groups based on their skills and work with them that way. So the kids working together are of similar skill levels. I think it's great for morale, but like you said, poor on diversity and exposure. So we see a multiplier effect on both ends - the best readers move at a faster pace, but the slower readers seem to move at a slower pace. There's a tradeoff occuring there.

Still, in general, I can't deny that it makes sense. But I just can't shake the feeling that the smarter kids or the achievers will do so in any environment while those struggling can be helped. If you're forced to make a sacrifice, where do you make it?


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Tuesday, March 31, 2009 12:48 PM

So we see a multiplier effect on both ends - the best readers move at a faster pace, but the slower readers seem to move at a slower pace

It's not clear to me that this is an unavoidable consequence of tracking. I'll have to ask my principal friend if she's aware of any literature on the subject.

Note: "it's not clear" is fancy academic speak for "I think that's probably bulls**t."


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