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  • I agree with POTUS

    I've been wanting this for years....I like year round school as well.

    More school: Obama would curtail summer vacation

    WASHINGTON – Students beware: The summer vacation you just enjoyed could be sharply curtailed if President Barack Obama gets his way.

    Obama says American kids spend too little time in school, putting them at a disadvantage with other students around the globe.

    "Now, I know longer school days and school years are not wildly popular ideas," the president said earlier this year. "Not with Malia and Sasha, not in my family, and probably not in yours. But the challenges of a new century demand more time in the classroom."

    The president, who has a sixth-grader and a third-grader, wants schools to add time to classes, to stay open late and to let kids in on weekends so they have a safe place to go.

    "Our school calendar is based upon the agrarian economy and not too many of our kids are working the fields today," Education Secretary Arne Duncan said in a recent interview with The Associated Press.

    Fifth-grader Nakany Camara is of two minds. She likes the four-week summer program at her school, Brookhaven Elementary School in Rockville, Md. Nakany enjoys seeing her friends there and thinks summer school helped boost her grades from two Cs to the honor roll.

    But she doesn't want a longer school day. "I would walk straight out the door," she said.

    Domonique Toombs felt the same way when she learned she would stay for an extra three hours each day in sixth grade at Boston's Clarence R. Edwards Middle School.

    "I was like, `Wow, are you serious?'" she said. "That's three more hours I won't be able to chill with my friends after school."

    Her school is part of a 3-year-old state initiative to add 300 hours of school time in nearly two dozen schools. Early results are positive. Even reluctant Domonique, who just started ninth grade, feels differently now. "I've learned a lot," she said.

    Does Obama want every kid to do these things? School until dinnertime? Summer school? And what about the idea that kids today are overscheduled and need more time to play?

    ___

    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."

    While it is true that kids in many other countries have more school days, it's not true they all spend more time in school.

    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).

    ___

    Regardless, there is a strong case for adding time to the school day.

    Researcher Tom Loveless of the Brookings Institution looked at math scores in countries that added math instruction time. Scores rose significantly, especially in countries that added minutes to the day, rather than days to the year.

    "Ten minutes sounds trivial to a school day, but don't forget, these math periods in the U.S. average 45 minutes," Loveless said. "Percentage-wise, that's a pretty healthy increase."

    In the U.S., there are many examples of gains when time is added to the school day.

    Charter schools are known for having longer school days or weeks or years. For example, kids in the KIPP network of 82 charter schools across the country go to school from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., more than three hours longer than the typical day. They go to school every other Saturday and for three weeks in the summer. KIPP eighth-grade classes exceed their school district averages on state tests.

    In Massachusetts' expanded learning time initiative, early results indicate that kids in some schools do better on state tests than do kids at regular public schools. The extra time, which schools can add as hours or days, is for three things: core academics — kids struggling in English, for example, get an extra English class; more time for teachers; and enrichment time for kids.

    Regular public schools are adding time, too, though it is optional and not usually part of the regular school day. Their calendar is pretty much set in stone. Most states set the minimum number of school days at 180 days, though a few require 175 to 179 days.

    Several schools are going year-round by shortening summer vacation and lengthening other breaks.

    Many schools are going beyond the traditional summer school model, in which schools give remedial help to kids who flunked or fell behind.

    Summer is a crucial time for kids, especially poorer kids, because poverty is linked to problems that interfere with learning, such as hunger and less involvement by their parents.

    That makes poor children almost totally dependent on their learning experience at school, said Karl Alexander, a sociology professor at Baltimore's Johns Hopkins University, home of the National Center for Summer Learning.

    Disadvantaged kids, on the whole, make no progress in the summer, Alexander said. Some studies suggest they actually fall back. Wealthier kids have parents who read to them, have strong language skills and go to great lengths to give them learning opportunities such as computers, summer camp, vacations, music lessons, or playing on sports teams.

    "If your parents are high school dropouts with low literacy levels and reading for pleasure is not hard-wired, it's hard to be a good role model for your children, even if you really want to be," Alexander said.

    Extra time is not cheap. The Massachusetts program costs an extra $1,300 per student, or 12 percent to 15 percent more than regular per-student spending, said Jennifer Davis, a founder of the program. It received more than $17.5 million from the state Legislature last year.

    The Montgomery County, Md., summer program, which includes Brookhaven, received $1.6 million in federal stimulus dollars to operate this year and next, but it runs for only 20 days.

    Aside from improving academic performance, Education Secretary Duncan has a vision of schools as the heart of the community. Duncan, who was Chicago's schools chief, grew up studying alongside poor kids on the city's South Side as part of the tutoring program his mother still runs.

    "Those hours from 3 o'clock to 7 o'clock are times of high anxiety for parents," Duncan said. "They want their children safe. Families are working one and two and three jobs now to make ends meet and to keep food on the table."
    A Veteran is someone who at one point in their life wrote a blank check made payable to The United States of America, for an amount up to, and including their life. That is honor, and there are way too many people in this country today, who no longer understand that fact!

  • #2
    Yes, I think his suggestions as options to kids would be helpful. Even if the parents want to go to the school and their presence alone encourages the kids to want to learn more does something. They watch way too much tv, know the lyrics to too many songs and are able to say too many words they cannot spell. My parents use to check me daily for homework by literally opening my bag and looking through every book for the current school day. If I had no homework they double check the next morning by going to school with me and asking why I have no homework. For the parents who have to work long hours knowing their kids are at least in school is better than them being home alone all summer.
    Young people will change the old wicked ways of the past.sigpic

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    • #3
      I agree the level of schooling in this country is in shambles. I don't know that I can get on board with a longer school day. Going longer through the year with less of a break I can see, but sending kids to school from 730 in the morning till 5 in the evening..hmm. What about homework? Are my boys going to get home a 530 after being dropped of by the bus then have another hour or 2 of homework? What about extra-curricular activities? Family time?
      Schooling is very important I agree. I think a better approach would not be to go longer, but to get more out of the time they are there. And parents have to be involved at home.
      "I would rather live one day as a Lion, than a thousand years as a Sheep."

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      • #4
        It's a government plot to provide more free day care.
        Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. -- Aldous Huxley
        Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity. -- Albert Einstein

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        • #5
          Hmmmm......yet another thing the Feds are sticking their unwanted noses in.

          He needs to focus his attention on the bigger issues right now.....but, I suppose getting even MORE govenment involvement is the solution to a non-existent problem, isnt it?
          The posts on this forum by this poster are of his personal opinion, and his personal opinion alone

          "Politicians are like diapers. They need to be changed often and for the same reason"

          "We fight not for glory; nor for wealth; nor honor, but only and alone we fight for freedom, which no good man surrenders but with his life"

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          • #6
            Working at a highschool myself, I like the longer school year idea even though it's not his place to say so. Right now, I only get paid while school is in session so that would mean more pay. Longer school days though, no thanks, I can only deal with these kids for so much time per day.

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            • #7
              While I agree wholeheartedly that our education system is in shambles, I think that government involvement is the last thing we need. Government involvement is what has crashed the system because of standardized testing and lowered expectations. It is damn near impossible to fail little Johnny because it would lower his self esteem. Standardized tests REQUIRE a teacher to teach to the exam rather than to teach the principles of the course.

              I have a little different perspective on this as my mother has been a teacher for 27 years and my wife is a teacher now. They both complain that student X is dumber than a rock but they have to pass him/her in order to avoid problems. My mother has been threatened with her job by the superintendent of the district because she suggested holding back a child whose parents had power in the community. We are completely behond the times against the rest of the world in the area of education which is why many things are going overseas. If we better prepare students for the real world, I think we might actually reduce the crime rates and poverty.

              I think Obama has the right idea on this, but once again he has NO idea what he is doing. His plan is to make changes and deal with the issues later. He has got to figure out where the extra money will come from to pay the teachers for the extra time and for the extra operating costs, which I see as the two major hurdles in this plan.

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              • #8
                The Federal Gov. should not be as involved in education. The Bush adminstration should have never signed the No Child Left Behind Act. I believe President Bush's descion to standardize education was a huge mistake. Children do not learn at the same pace.

                Now I do believe the State Government should take an active role in education, but states rights is a whole other argument.

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                • #9
                  A longer school day would only hurt the children. I know that I can only take in so much in one day then my brain shuts off. A longer school year would be a good idea but where is the extra money going to come from?? Dont get me wrong more $$$$ for education = more money for me but it costs alot to keep schools open.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Buckfan View Post
                    The Federal Gov. should not be as involved in education. The Bush adminstration should have never signed the No Child Left Behind Act. I believe President Bush's descion to standardize education was a huge mistake. Children do not learn at the same pace.

                    Now I do believe the State Government should take an active role in education, but states rights is a whole other argument.
                    +1

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                    • #11
                      I think extending the school day and year is a good idea -- but not if it means more of the same old same old.

                      My grandchildren have been in Montessori schools from age 3 and up. Unlike most kids who look forward to the bell allowing them to go home, my grandchildren get upset that they have to leave. Montessori emphasizes individualized learning paces and encouraging kids to follow their own interests, rather than teaching to prepare them to pass a standardized test. There is little need for disciplinary action because the kids are happy to be there. There is no lock-step: this is what fourth graders learn, this is what first graders learn, and 4th grade is for 9 year olds while 1st is for 6 year olds.

                      My oldest granddaughter is a very promising artist. She also loves history, social studies, and literature. And she is becoming fluent in Spanish. Her younger brother is a whiz at science and math. Both are solid readers, and their comprehension far exceeds their supposed grade levels.

                      When I was in high school we changed over to a "modular" system that was closer to the scheduling you have in college. If we wanted, we could choose to take up to 7 or 8 courses and stay through to 5 p.m. The late afternoon courses were usually art, music, theater, and other creative activities, and sports. Most days for me ended at 4 p.m. I loved it.

                      Extending the school day COULD mean that the late afternoon time is spent with doing your homework or getting help from a tutor, if you need it. It could also mean studying something that keenly interests you. And/or it could involve physical education, which could help with childhood obesity.

                      It doesn't have to be more of the same. Certainly, more of the same would be deadly dull.

                      Afternoon activities wouldn't necessarily require the expense of certified teachers. Theater, music, art, even shop can be taught by people with expertise in the subject matter but without a teaching degree.

                      Currently, one of the programs of the agency I work for offers an "after school academy" where students at risk can get tutoring and mentoring in order to help them stay in school and plan for their futures. It is very successful. The kids involved love it. And since they love it, the threat of being removed from the program for not following the rules is sufficient to keep their behavior in line.

                      Extending the school day would also help reduce youth delinquency, as the time kids cause the most trouble is between the time school is out and when their parents get home from work. (Yes, most DO work!)

                      School doesn't have to be drudgery. Unfortunately, drudgery is the name of the game when your education is all about passing a standardized test.
                      Hatred never ceases by hatred, but by love alone is healed.
                      Happiness never decreases by being shared. -- Buddhist quotation
                      A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger. -- Proverbs 15:1

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                      • #12
                        I'd really like the plan where you go 3 months of school and then get a month off. keep doing that. No summer.. I think some school in my area is experimenting with that.

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                        • #13
                          Lol, it sounds like he wants the school to be a community-center. "Stay open late, let kids in on weekends so they have a safe place to go". I don't know about all that...but, I do agree that our school-year should be more efficient to deal with our modern times. The summer vacation is just too long and allows to much idleness for the majority of kids. Education in this country is really in the gutter, hopefully a tangible change occurs for the sake of our generation and the ones after us...

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                          • #14
                            I went to both private and public schools and the difference is night and day.

                            Here's a few notable differences:

                            In the private school we had 7 classes( religion was 7th class) and the school required a mininum of 2 hours a day of homework. Class length was 45minutes to incorporate the catholic religion class and or mass on friday mornings). Class size was 25-30 students.

                            In public school, we had 6 classes of over 50 minutes each. No homework requirement and class size was ironically equal to slightly smaller than when I was in private school.

                            Start seeing the pattern?

                            Now the best part:

                            In the private school, you had 4 9-week periods in which you needed 5 quality points to pass. FYI a D is only 1 point so if you got 4 Ds, you failed.

                            Over at the public school the year was two semester each with 3 6-week periods. You need 3 points each semester OR a total of 6 point by the end of the 2nd semester. You get 6 Ds, you pass. If you failed the first semester but accrued a total of 6 points by the end of the 2nd semester you passed.

                            In the private school if a student was failing, the school would immediately place that child in the grade below them. Two fellow students I was in school with were removed and placed one grade down. Try that in a public school.

                            Just looking at those few differences you can tell which school required mastery and competence and which school acted as a day care center for mediocrity.

                            We do not need a longer year nor do we need a longer school day. Private schools sure don't need either one nor do they need smaller classes and a longer class hour.

                            What we need to do is actually teach kids which this country use to do until the government decided to experiment with every "technological" or " new technique" that some beaucrat dreamed up that was going to improve our kids' test scores to the level the US use to have back in the 40s, 50s and 60s when none of those "technological," "new techniques" or any other wonder teaching aid existed.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Rifleguy View Post
                              I went to both private and public schools and the difference is night and day.

                              Here's a few notable differences:

                              In the private school we had 7 classes( religion was 7th class) and the school required a mininum of 2 hours a day of homework. Class length was 45minutes to incorporate the catholic religion class and or mass on friday mornings). Class size was 25-30 students.

                              In public school, we had 6 classes of over 50 minutes each. No homework requirement and class size was ironically equal to slightly smaller than when I was in private school.

                              Start seeing the pattern?

                              Now the best part:

                              In the private school, you had 4 9-week periods in which you needed 5 quality points to pass. FYI a D is only 1 point so if you got 4 Ds, you failed.

                              Over at the public school the year was two semester each with 3 6-week periods. You need 3 points each semester OR a total of 6 point by the end of the 2nd semester. You get 6 Ds, you pass. If you failed the first semester but accrued a total of 6 points by the end of the 2nd semester you passed.

                              In the private school if a student was failing, the school would immediately place that child in the grade below them. Two fellow students I was in school with were removed and placed one grade down. Try that in a public school.

                              Just looking at those few differences you can tell which school required mastery and competence and which school acted as a day care center for mediocrity.

                              We do not need a longer year nor do we need a longer school day. Private schools sure don't need either one nor do they need smaller classes and a longer class hour.

                              What we need to do is actually teach kids which this country use to do until the government decided to experiment with every "technological" or " new technique" that some beaucrat dreamed up that was going to improve our kids' test scores to the level the US use to have back in the 40s, 50s and 60s when none of those "technological," "new techniques" or any other wonder teaching aid existed.
                              I see. I know a lot of people that went to private schools, some did well, some not as well. It really depends on the private-school one goes to, the tuition, etc. I know there were a lot of kids from some country (To sound un-PC, it was "Somewhere in Asia") where the kids were in school year round. That concept was embedded in the culture. So when they came to America, the idea of going to school and then having 2 months of doing absolutely nothing was rather...odd. And, for the most part, the people that came from that culture, they didn't let their kids do "nothing". They were in some sort of tutoring or program or something. And, those kids, amazingly enough, seemed to fare much better when it came time for college and the 'real world'. If school is to teach kids about life and what the 'real world' will bring to them, might as well teach them all the realities, i.e. not getting a 2 month break to goof off...

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