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 More school: Obama would curtail summer vacation

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PostSubject: More school: Obama would curtail summer vacation   Mon Sep 28, 2009 4:59 am

More school: Obama would curtail summer vacation


By LIBBY QUAID, AP Education Writer Libby Quaid, Ap Education Writer Mon Sep 28, 12:00 am ET

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."
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PostSubject: Re: More school: Obama would curtail summer vacation   Mon Sep 28, 2009 10:42 am

Eh, I kinda wish my school was year round. Never like summer. But extra long school days? bullsh*t. I'm sorry, but for even me (who heart heart heart school) that is just torture. You need that time to do all the HW and studying needed for that class, plus that time to just chill.
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PostSubject: Re: More school: Obama would curtail summer vacation   Mon Sep 28, 2009 11:41 am

I like it. With the increase, they might actually have "Time and money" for secondary languages.

And that extra time they're talking about during the day isn't much. Very few if any students would walk out because students tend to follow orders because the teacher or other authority figures say so. It would also help out those families that have a terrible time finding baby-sitters during the summer.
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PostSubject: Re: More school: Obama would curtail summer vacation   Mon Sep 28, 2009 12:07 pm

If I were still in school I would be really p!ssed right about now. I always hated school and adding time and days would of been torture for me, but being I graduated last June I don't mind. Also if it will help some of these kids that need help more then great.
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PostSubject: Re: More school: Obama would curtail summer vacation   Mon Sep 28, 2009 3:41 pm

I read this on yahoo. I have a problem with this. Kids today barely have time to do other things as it is. I mean if you read it, it shows right now americans are in school more hours out of the day then any other country. This is bull. Either shorten the days and make the weeks longer or don't do anything at all. We can't keep adding time to the school day with more days. One a healthy body needs rest. Two there is no way anyone in school would be able to get homework done and have a job and a social life. Those things are all vital for learning the material and keeping sane.
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PostSubject: Re: More school: Obama would curtail summer vacation   Mon Sep 28, 2009 5:37 pm

deadcoldgothgirl wrote:
One a healthy body needs rest. Two there is no way anyone in school would be able to get homework done and have a job and a social life. Those things are all vital for learning the material and keeping sane.

Rest, yes. they do rake breaks within the day. And days that long, there's usually a study hour. As for the job and social life: those aren't really NEEDED to learn the material. Those are just a bonus that most people would like to have. Sure, America may spend the most time in class, but we're also far far behind in educational standards. Adding more days and hours is just another way to make the students get the hint and get involved. Most of America's problem isn't that they can't learn, but that they don't want to. If educational standards were to go up without changing hours/days, then they wouldn't be added.

The main point, a person's education is FAR more important than a social life. And even then, as it stated in the article, some of these students wouldn't have a social life if they didn't go to school. Or it would be very lacking. You can't really communicate properly if you're only taught slang and can't read to save your life. That just limits the person to his little community.
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PostSubject: Re: More school: Obama would curtail summer vacation   Mon Sep 28, 2009 5:42 pm

I know I went to school when dinosaurs roamed the earth but I cant help thinking that shorter Summer holidays would work well. Some terms over here are only 10 weeks long! How in Hades can you get your teeth into a subject in 10 weeks.

I have to add that I loved school particularly when I went to sixth form and the people who didnt actually want to learn left.

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PostSubject: Re: More school: Obama would curtail summer vacation   Mon Sep 28, 2009 5:54 pm

The teachers unions won't allow it.

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PostSubject: Re: More school: Obama would curtail summer vacation   Mon Sep 28, 2009 6:08 pm

I wonder where witchartist is, as a teacher I'd love to see his perspective on this...
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PostSubject: Re: More school: Obama would curtail summer vacation   Mon Sep 28, 2009 8:00 pm

^^A teachers perspective would be nice.

I think that If we got a higher standard of teachers, who acctually made us do work, would be more benificial than longer school days. At my school, teachers would pratically do nothing, just go over the material and then give us worksheets on it. I mean, hell It took us one whole semester in my senior English class to do 3 stories: Beowulf, the Cantebury Tales and we didn't even finish the third one (which I can't remember). It was because instead of cracking down on us, the teacher would just keep giving us more time to do it and extend the due date, so that we could finish it. So kids just goofed off and didn't learn. Most of my school was like that. If they would just say, you have one chance, that is it, kids would get the point, learn and do the work. They are just too leanent on us! Also, some better funding for the public schools would be nice. Are school didn't have enough text books for every kid because there were so many of us and the editions we did have were years old because they couldn't afford new ones. They need to fix these problems first before we start extending the school days.
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PostSubject: Re: More school: Obama would curtail summer vacation   Mon Sep 28, 2009 11:34 pm

TheDarkHippie wrote:
^^A teachers perspective would be nice.

I think that If we got a higher standard of teachers, who acctually made us do work, would be more benificial than longer school days. At my school, teachers would pratically do nothing, just go over the material and then give us worksheets on it. I mean, hell It took us one whole semester in my senior English class to do 3 stories: Beowulf, the Cantebury Tales and we didn't even finish the third one (which I can't remember). It was because instead of cracking down on us, the teacher would just keep giving us more time to do it and extend the due date, so that we could finish it. So kids just goofed off and didn't learn. Most of my school was like that. If they would just say, you have one chance, that is it, kids would get the point, learn and do the work. They are just too leanent on us! Also, some better funding for the public schools would be nice. Are school didn't have enough text books for every kid because there were so many of us and the editions we did have were years old because they couldn't afford new ones. They need to fix these problems first before we start extending the school days.

The lenient teachers are everywhere, but some of them do crack down once in a while. The way I understood it, they now have to take the time to get kids to learn it because of No Child Left Behind. Holding them back until they learned it would put a strain on the school system's funds.

That's also a reason they probably can't buy new textbooks. Lack of Money for academics. If the people in the community cared enough about the kids education, they'd allow more in taxes for it because that's how the schools get their money.

But also, it comes back to the kids. You said they'd just goof off. The teachers can't always fix this. Sometimes it has to be the kid that gets their act together. But anymore, no one can touch kids for doing anything. They can't punish them for screwing up big time, or small punishment for not doing work. They're lazy because they know they can get away with it and still graduate. If the graduation requirements were higher and there were punishments for not reaching a certain level, I bet the kids would learn more.
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PostSubject: Re: More school: Obama would curtail summer vacation   Tue Sep 29, 2009 1:52 am

nsanelilmunky wrote:
deadcoldgothgirl wrote:
One a healthy body needs rest. Two there is no way anyone in school would be able to get homework done and have a job and a social life. Those things are all vital for learning the material and keeping sane.

Rest, yes. they do rake breaks within the day. And days that long, there's usually a study hour. As for the job and social life: those aren't really NEEDED to learn the material. Those are just a bonus that most people would like to have. Sure, America may spend the most time in class, but we're also far far behind in educational standards. Adding more days and hours is just another way to make the students get the hint and get involved. Most of America's problem isn't that they can't learn, but that they don't want to. If educational standards were to go up without changing hours/days, then they wouldn't be added.

The main point, a person's education is FAR more important than a social life. And even then, as it stated in the article, some of these students wouldn't have a social life if they didn't go to school. Or it would be very lacking. You can't really communicate properly if you're only taught slang and can't read to save your life. That just limits the person to his little community.

That is why I added the keeping sane bit. I'm sorry but I hated school. That doesn't mean I don't like to learn. It means I hated being stuck in a building feeling like a rat with some teachers that didn't even know what they were talking about. True people don't care about education. Is it because we need more school hours? No it is because the day is so d@mn long in the first place you want to shoot yourself in the face. I mean for the love of god, if we want to compare ourselves to japan and china then go to school like them. Make it where you are in class for shorter hours but longer days. Make it so you extend the time of a class during the day. Make it so there is a block schedaul where you only take 3 or 4 classes in a day. At the same time you can't force people to learn if they don't want to. Why do you think so many people are dropping out of school as it is? Because it is too much for them with either the time they spend there or too stressful. I know. I wanted to drop out because of it. I was lucky I didn't.

For your study period thing... That isn't true. I was in school for 8 hours a day and I only got a 22 minute lunch break. Being that we didn't have a lunch program, 4 microwaves, and two vending machines, there wasn't much time for lunch let alone relaxing. I felt like I was in a mind warping prison. I love learning but I couldn't stand feeling like a prisoner for hours on end. Again if you don't have a social life then you will get tired and warn a lot faster. Not only would that lead for lack of wanting to learn but it would also cause more students to drop out. Would the american government want that.

Lastly with jobs. Not everyone has a choice. Some kids have to work because that is the only way they or their family will eat. We can't tell them they have to choose between feeding their family and school. What do you think they would choose. I can almost garontee they would choose their family.
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PostSubject: Re: More school: Obama would curtail summer vacation   Sun Oct 04, 2009 1:35 am

If we are already going to school for more hours than countries that outscore us on tests, then how exactly will adding more hours help?

I think that more funding and more options for schooling is the way to go. I firmly believe that everyone has a different style of learning, and different interests, and the public schools today cannot accommodate that. They seem more like a daycare-prison hybird than anything. Teachers never put pressure on even the honors students to do much work, bringing the whole class down and boring those of us who wanted to learn to tears. We were always under someone's eye and routinely being punished for stupid things like forgetting our IDs at home or using electronics during our free period. Hell, I almost failed out because the school, being as caught up in rules and paperwork as they were, could not get it through their skulls that I had a documented medical condition that made me go over the number of absences and tardies we were allowed. I had long wanted out of the system, but given that my only other options were either Catholic or unaffordable, I grudgingly stayed. A few of my friends who did not do well in public school, and who had money to get out of it, did amazingly in other schools that were more accommodating to their learning styles and more responsive to their needs and concerns.

By more options, I mean creating schools with different environments that are responsive to different students needs. Rather than sitting and book learning, and prescribing all students the same teaching style, schools ought to figure out how each student learns and put them in classes responsive to those needs. Hands-on classes. Discussion-based classes. Visual classes. Options for alternative subjects (like "19th Century Russian Literature" or whatever instead of just the pain "Junior English" type class.) Also, changing the way staff treats students would likely be a huge help. The way faculty routinely treated students in my high school, condescendingly, disrespectful of students, acting like strict small-town cops, turned a lot of people off to schooling and bred an attitude of contempt towards the faculty. It never helped anyone learn. I noticed that in classes where faculty respected students, the quantity and quality of work that got done was so much greater than it would have otherwise been.

I'm seeing in retrospect how much better high school would have been, and how much I would have gotten out of it, if it had been like that. Feeling like I am respected by my professors, and being engaged in the hands-on studio work and discussion-based academics I've found myself in have made school so much easier, even if a larger quantity or more advanced work is required of me.


Once we have a school system that actually works for our students, then we can talk about extending hours.
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PostSubject: Re: More school: Obama would curtail summer vacation   Sun Oct 04, 2009 11:21 am

Okay, Both DarkDreamer and DCGG, I never said I supported the current teaching styles.

But at the moment, teachers are few and far between (and becoming even harder to come by). I don't know what the problem in your schools were/are, I know here, the main problem is laziness on both faculty and students. Both of those I would love to have changed. Teachers that are laid-back and human, but not to the point of being doormats, and students that want to learn (if for no other reason than to not get punished).

And DCGG, there are MANY state and federal programs out there to help those that are in need. Especially when the kids are still school age.

I guess my idea of school, year round at the same (whether they add an hour or take an hour... don't care) for those that are understanding the material, and required extra time to the day to help out those that aren't getting it. Plus courses that are interesting and help the student in the long run. I'm pretty sure most schools were probably like mine in deciding, "we're only going to teach these bits of history year after year instead of adding anything new."
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PostSubject: Re: More school: Obama would curtail summer vacation   Sun Oct 04, 2009 3:24 pm

^^I really don't want to start a big thing but I'm just sayen..... Michigan is at least one state that doesn't have money to give to those that need it. Michigan has been in a resession for the longest time. Now that the rest of the country is in a resession michigan is now in a depression. So we really don't have that money.

I mean for the love of god michigan has been on the breaking point of losing our state government for at least the past 4 years. So I could make this into a long and totally off topic thing but simply saying michigan doesn't have the money to help those kids let alone keep the state above water.
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PostSubject: Re: More school: Obama would curtail summer vacation   Sun Oct 04, 2009 4:12 pm

Actually, I was thinking national programs. The help is there if they look for it.

Food Stamps

Food Banks

Welfare

And for those that just need a job.

Plus any dozen or so local ones that I've yet to find or have never heard about.


But this whole thread was about education anyway, so....

Having year-round school would also benefit those with money issues because it would mean they no longer would have to hire a babysitter for the summer months.

Most schools are funded by both Federal grants and local taxes. And if Obama is the one coming up with this plan, more than likely it will be funded with more Federal grants.
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PostSubject: Re: More school: Obama would curtail summer vacation   Sun Oct 04, 2009 4:22 pm

^^those gov't programs are great and all, but bloody hell, they try to squeeze the life outta ya before they give you anything. My mom is single, doesn't have a job and has 3 kids, (not including me) and they give her a hard time with just getting food stamps. Those programs are flippin ridiculous. Is usually just easier to get a job. It's a lot less time and paperwork (and stress).


back on topic:
Yes, it would be a money saver for parents. I think a year round school would be better, just keep the school days short.
I am trying to figure out where these federal grants would come from, we are so indebt to china already, they could just take us over if they really wished too. Not to mention all of the other gov't programs that are in need of money. Us citizens are bieng taxed enough already, I don't think they need to tax us more just to pay for better programs. We just need higher educational goals and kids need to take school more seriously, then we'd all be good.
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PostSubject: Re: More school: Obama would curtail summer vacation   Sun Oct 04, 2009 5:27 pm

While an extended year for school sounds good on the surface, I only get my daughter for the summer and the extended breaks like Christmas, so of coarse I think this plan stinks.
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