President Obama Is Looking To Extend The School Year

Sunday, September 27, 2009 3:26 PM

Good Afternoon!

I read on quite a few websites that President Obama wants to increase the school year (and school day) of American children in order for America to remain more competative on the global market.

Here are some thoughts:

1) What effects will it have on the parks?

2) How will the parks deal with this news?

3) Will he be able to do it?

Any thoughts?

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Sunday, September 27, 2009 4:08 PM

If I were a kid I'd be uber pissed off about this :-) I don't think the problem is the time spent in school, but the quality of the education provided. When I compare the education that I got in the Bronx with my friends who went to school upstate...I really think we were short changed. The teachers (no offense to our teachers on this site) were horrible. They were more concerned with making it safely in and out of the ghetto than trying to educate us. How about we try to hire more effective teachers than resorting to some knee jerk solution? I'm no expert though, so.....

Parks are gonna suffer from this ofcourse. Don't most seasonal parks set their hours based on school? Anyhow, based on the opposition that Obie is getting these days to everything he proposes, I think this will be another fight.

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Sunday, September 27, 2009 4:26 PM

Delan, I agree with you that it should be quality over quantity. Besides, if this goes through, there will be districts who won't be able to afford to keep the schools open any more days.

Then good wholesome extracuricular activites like sports and the arts (like drama club which I was involved with and laerned a lot from, both on and off stage.) will continue to be cut.

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Sunday, September 27, 2009 4:35 PM

66.66% of this thread makes me agree with Obama. Then again, I'm old, what do I know ;)

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Sunday, September 27, 2009 4:50 PM

It's not the quality of instruction or quantity. A lot of time it is the parents. A lot of our urban areas of this country have the largest budgets per student in the country, yet they have the worst results. Delan, your teachers may have been afraid to go to school, but there was a reason why.

I read a report somewhere that said that the Detroit school district was getting all sorts of money thrown at it and it had the worst drop out rate in the nation.

How having these kids in school any longer is going to help any of them is beyond me. If they were actually receptive to an education, I might actually support such a measure.

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Sunday, September 27, 2009 4:58 PM

Frankly, there is no easy answer to the problem.

I do think part of the problem is all these friggen standized test they put out. The teachers teach to the tests instead of what the students want to learn.

Another part of the problem is that some of the high-ups need to realize is that not everybody WANTS to be a doctor or a lawyer or even be in business. We need to bring back more vocational programs (such as basic wood shop or even auto shop). The world needs just as many "blue collar" guys and gals as it does office drones. There are kidss out there who are bright but don't fit into the tradional "factory model" of the education system.

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Sunday, September 27, 2009 6:09 PM

No Child Left Behind has left millions of children behind.

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Sunday, September 27, 2009 6:59 PM

^ 100% Agreed!

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Sunday, September 27, 2009 8:02 PM

If schools go later into May/June I don't think it will matter to parks since parks go into daily operations after Memorial Day weeks before school lets out (at least in my area). If schools go back before Labor Day, then it could be a problem since Labor Day seems to be when parks go back to weekends only except in the South?

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Sunday, September 27, 2009 8:52 PM

Actually, right now, in today's economy, it is not going to make a difference. The unemployment rate for people between 16 and 25 is over 50%. There are a lot of teens out there without jobs anyways. The vacuum can probably be handled by a combination of college students and people of other ages that are still looking for work. It's kind of weird nowadays going to McDonalds or Walmart and not seeing some pimply face kid serving me but rather someone in their 30s or 40s. Then again, I'm pretty close to that myself once unemployment runs out. I'm going on four months right now. :(

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Sunday, September 27, 2009 8:58 PM

Here's a thought...
Shortening the summer break just means all of the park visits students make would be compressed into a shorter operating season, which means a more profitable outcome for the parks since they would have less days of overhead, but still get the same annual attendance. I know I wouldn't skip out on going to my local park just because my summer break was shorter than it used to be. The only decrease might be in season pass holder visits, but I imagine the in-park spending by fewer season pass visits would be a small portion of the annual revenue and likely would be made up for by all the money saved from a shorter operating season.

A longer school year is not a new idea. They were talking about it when I was in high school 15 years ago. As a former teacher who taught math and computer-aided drafting year round without any breaks between terms, I believe the concept has merit, but getting the students to want to learn is the real problem.

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Sunday, September 27, 2009 9:42 PM

Are there any local issues that our wonderful reps in DC will stay out of?

Our system has proven to be a failure. Spending more time in a failed system is a stupid idea.

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Sunday, September 27, 2009 10:20 PM

I could care less what the effects are on the industry.

That said, while I admire the effort to improve education, I've yet to see any evidence anywhere that reasonably concludes that a longer school year makes smarter kids. Furthermore, school funding is so hopelessly broken (and unconstitutional, here in Ohio), that many districts can't afford to operate the bare minimum today.

Prove me otherwise, and I might consider supporting it, but only then if we can figure out the correct way to pay the bills.

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Sunday, September 27, 2009 10:22 PM

I agree, Lankster. I think our teachers are too limited with how they are allowed to teach. A good teacher figures out how kids best learn, and then teaches that way. I've heard complaints from many teachers in my area that they are limited to just following the lesson plans.

The big question on my mind is, why would the US Government want to continue a teaching system that has been failing our students for so long? It's not the kid's fault that they don't care about school anymore, and it's not the teachers (most of them anyways), so who's fault is it?

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Sunday, September 27, 2009 10:46 PM

Jeff said:
I could care less what the effects are on the industry.

While some of us do ;)

At any rate, im tired of the broken educational system blaming the teachers. They are typically caught between the highly political school structure set by administration and society.


In some school systems they have very little money to operate by so they lower the standards of teachers they hire. Not the teachers fault, it's politics of administration. Or teachers are forced to teach the test (called Standards of Learning in Virginia) or else the school will lose funding, some doing it by any means possible.


On the other side little Billy isnt doing well in school, it MUST be the teachers fault, when in fact the parent doesnt keep up with what assignments Billy does brings home.

Its no wonder they have a hard time finding teachers.. You get crappy pay, and take most of the fault for an entire system that is broken in a lot of areas.

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Sunday, September 27, 2009 10:54 PM

I don't see teachers and administrators taking on extra days or extra hours for no extra pay. I also don't see how many districts will be able to suddenly increase their budgets to handle a large increase in teacher salaries if the school year grew longer. Many teachers will also point out that it's during the summer that they take the courses they're required to for continuing credits.

LK, I'd be interested in hearing what you think should be taught and how. Seems that our society thinks that history is stupid, geography, spelling, writing, and math are stupid. Literature is somewhat acceptable to people, as long as it agrees with their viewpoints (this goes for the right and the left). Civics is pretty much non-existent. So we should only teach stuff that's "fun" and makes us feel warm and fuzzy?

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Sunday, September 27, 2009 11:49 PM

Seems to be about par for the course for this administration: pick a perceived problem, then propose a "solution" which completely ignores in every possible way the root cause of the problem and which, if implemented, will just as likely make the perceived problem even worse.

How is more time in an ineffective school going to make it more effective? Let me bring this into "our" world. This is like trying to fix the helix on Son of Beast by removing the vertical loop. And we all know how well THAT worked out!

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

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Monday, September 28, 2009 1:06 AM

Eh...I was a fan of Obama, until I saw this thread. ;)

I know that many of you may pass this off as "teenager logic," but I have to agree that the education system these days is flawed. Each of us students are told to prepare our own individual goals, and to work towards those different goals...but the problem is, we are all forced to be taught the exact same things, which ends up just wasting precious time and causing frustration.

My graduating class, the Kentucky Class of 2012 (darn, I hate having to reveal how young I am), must gain a total of 24 credits to graduate high school. Included in those must be 4 math credits, 4 english, 4 science, 3 math, 2 foreign language, and 2 physical education/art credits.

I'm planning on becoming an orthodontist after I finish all my schooling. I do very well in class, and I understand how most of it will be useful to me after reaching my goal/career. However, why should someone who wants to do something completely unrelated (become a blacksmith, for example), be forced to learn how long it took for Hernan Cortes to conquer the Aztecs? Why should they have to sit through two years of Biology, listening to teachers ramble on about how humans and spider monkeys came from a common ancestor?

It just seems to me that, in times like this where there isn't a ton of money to throw around on testing flawed ideas (like what the administration is trying to do right now), the higher-ups would be taking more time to thoroughly study how students are comfortable learning, and what students should be learning in order to help them reach their own, individual goals. A solution is never going to be found until someone with power realizes that not everybody learns the same way, nor needs to be learning the same things.

IMO, extending the school day/year isn't going to cause anything but trouble.



**EDIT:
Haha, excellent analogy, Dave. ;)

Last edited by DantheCoasterman, Monday, September 28, 2009 1:08 AM
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Monday, September 28, 2009 1:17 AM

Awesome analogy, RideMan.

RGB, You misunderstood me. I agree that the subject that are taught should be taught. It's not about what they are taught, it's about how they are taught. Kids can still feel warm fuzzies when they are being taught boringstuff, if the teacher is trusted to do their job.

While I am in no way an expert on how our schools are run, I have been told by many teachers that they could teach the things that they are supposed to teach in more effective ways, if only the system would allow them to. Teachers know their students better than anyone else. They would probably do a better job at getting the info to soak in, if only allowed teach their way. Everyone learns differently. Some kids soak it in better when the info is lectured to them and they have to take notes, some kids do better when they read it to themselves, some kids do better when they all read together.

I once had a Math teacher who would do a head stand at the end of class if we finished our work in class. He didn't want us to have homework, so he bribed us with theatrics, and it worked every time.

That angle wouldn't work with every class. Some kids would have made better grades if they were lectured during the entire class and then given homework, for example, but the majority of my class refused to do homework for him, so he tried a different approach.

Edit - Agreed 100%, DanTheCoasterMan.

Last edited by LostKause, Monday, September 28, 2009 1:20 AM
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Monday, September 28, 2009 3:19 AM

Kick The Sky said:
It's not the quality of instruction or quantity. A lot of time it is the parents.

Hopman said:
I do think part of the problem is all these friggen standized test they put out.

I believe these to things are the biggest problems in our current education dilemma. I know of far too many parents who just assume the school is doing the work for them and they don't need to spend any time being involved in the education process. Or parents that claim to not have time to be involved. The standardized tests are a huge freaking joke. How can you take something as broad and diverse as education and try to cram it into a one size fits all module? There needs to be individual variety tailored to what works best for both the kids and the teachers.

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