President Obama wants longer school days and shorter summer vacations for American students.
Aside from improving academic performance, Education Secretary Duncan has a vision of schools as the heart of the community.“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.”
I propose a different idea. Why not give American families the option to participate in an extended school day? For the parents who need this option because of job schedules, the extra few hours would provide students with an opportunity to work on subject areas that need strengthening, with time allocated to exercise and play. Many of the parents who would choose this option already have their children enrolled in after school programs. I see the difference being in the credentials of the adults who would be caring for them. They would be certified teachers, able to provide the academic instruction the students would be receiving.
The students in this program should be able to complete all their work during these extra few hours of “school” and not be required to go home and do additional homework. These children need to be spending quality time with their families, however limited that time may be.
I do believe the American educational system needs an overhaul.
It has some serious flaws.
Let’s spend some of our hard earned tax money making the regular school day a more enjoyable experience for our children. Through the years, we’ve stripped almost every bit of creativity from our curriculum, including cutting back on playtime and making school a monotonous experience. It’s interesting to me, how so many children in the past two decades have been labeled ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder). I wonder if they’re really suffering from IAB (I Am Bored).
We need to take a good look at the testing we put our students through to see where they stand compared to other students. These mandatory tests take up countless hours of school time. Teachers feel pressure from administrators that they pass on to our kids and everyone suffers. Why not cut back on these tests and give everyone involved a break?
When I look back to my early childhood in the 1950’s and 60’s, I find it interesting that we managed to survive and thrive without so many tests. We didn’t look at school as a prison sentence but rather a place where we could have fun and learn at the same time. In elementary school, our days included a recess and a physical education class. We had art and music and show and tell, a special time of the day when we could get up and talk in front of the class . Our teachers were relaxed because the classes were rarely overcrowded. Problems were addressed in a calm, efficient manner. We were not sent home with hours of homework. Our report cards included the teacher’s comments, either praising us for things we improved on or pointing out areas that needed improvement.
I would suggest before we make any changes to our school schedule as drastic as what President Obama is proposing, we take a look at the educational system through our children’s eyes.