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Better Time Management Will Prevent 'School Sour'

Posted By: Susan Williams on November 14, 2008
 
Extending the school day and school year would be a colossal waste of money. I hope the schools are better at understanding the data than to knee-jerk that way. "More" is NOT "better" in education. This isn't a time problem; this is a management problem. Because of governmental overregulation, schools are micromanaged to the point at which they are no longer cost-effective. Throwing more money at the problem will just make it worse, and let disadvantaged kids down even further.

It would be much smarter to (1) do away with the U.S. Department of Education and all its crazy noneducational mandates that have created these epidemics of learning disabilities and behavior woes, (2) do away with the requirement of having a teaching certificate and/or being an education major in order to get teachers out from under all that nonacademic indoctrination -- did you know grade-school teachers today do not know the phonograms, do not know how to teach proper handwriting, and have never heard of the rules of spelling??? -- and (3) encourage districts to go back to the Labor Day to Memorial Day calendar, 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and do a better job with the generous tax resources they already have, and meanwhile incentivize educational entrepreneurship for after-school and summer learning programs for disadvantaged kids who really do need the extra attention.

There's a growing epidemic of apathy, loss of motivation, and cynicism among middle- and upper-class children because of the long school day, interminable school calendar, and boring, irrelevant curriculum which fails to give them the basics of the 3 R's in order to launch them into independent, lifelong learning.

Children are different from adults. Children need time to play, to think, to dream, to explore, to experiment, in unstructured settings with minimal adult supervision and direction.

You are enabling child neglect on the part of the parents, dumbing them down with pointless worksheets and dreadful kiddie lit that makes them not want to read, and literally driving them crazy with all this structured schooling -- especially since so much of it is so pointless, pallid, weak and stultifying.

The students who are dropped off at school early to get the free breakfast, and stay late, often until 5:30 p.m. or 6 p.m., and even go to school on days the other kids are off, are in grave danger of "school sour," which is highly destructive to student academic achievement.

The obvious reason for current and future school calendars which drag on all day and all year is poor time management and poor curricular selection on the part of the administrators. THAT'S what needs to be addressed.

If teachers knew HOW to teach reading, writing and arithmetic properly in the early grades, almost all students would be reading at grade level and much more capable of the exciting, enriching curricula, including classic works of literature, that their parents and grandparents studied.

If reading were taught correctly, then there wouldn't be such an impossibly wide chasm in the reading abilities of students within one classroom, which is causing so many teachers to have to "dumb down" the material, and boring the pants off more than 3/4 of their students, leading directly to their growing propensity to get distracted and misbehave.

With proper reading instruction early on, time-on-task would be far more productive, and cost-effectiveness would go 'way up. Best of all, the students who have been documented as benefitting the most from proper, phonics-only reading, handwriting, spelling and computational math instruction in the early grades are the very disadvantaged ones whom you seek to help, erroneously, by extending the school day and year.

If you do this -- lengthen the school day AND the school year -- you will wind up with a two-tier system for American education. One will be high quality, taking place in private schools and homeschools. The other will be low quality, taking place in public schools that are run like government agencies. Separate, and far from equal.

Don't do this . . . please!
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 Better Time Management Will Prevent 'School Sour' by Susan Williams on November 14, 2008
     
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