Obama to increase time in school?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by skittleroo, Sep 27, 2009.

  1. rachaelski

    rachaelski Habitué

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    I thought part of the idea of extending the day was to allow for more extras and extending of education. I could be wrong though. I have worked at extended day schools, and you would be surprised how energized the kids are after a full day (though the youngest I worked with was 5th grade). The pace of the late afternoon definitely slowed down (small group remediation/extension for the most part).
     
  2. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    Oct 1, 2009

    I see the same thing even with the Kinders when they stay for our after school "Book Club" or tutorials. As long as they get a snack in them, they are very enthusiastic about staying. I guess it has a lot to do with how exciting the teacher can make the learning too. Schools like the KIPP schools who do this have very good results and there are deficits in kids who are several grade levels below where they should be academically, how can you make that up without any extra time.

    I've never lived in another country but I can't imagine that they attend less than 180 days a year. I know many teachers are happy with the breaks and summer vacation the way it is, but is that what's best for these kids to attend school 1/2 a year total? I also think it's naive to imagine most kids are home with Mom and Dad having quality family time when not in school - many are sitting in front of the tv or on the streets.
     
  3. Liljag

    Liljag Companion

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    Oct 2, 2009

    I am a little confused by this move of adding more time to the school year. I live in Sweden and (with the obvious different holidays and such), there does not seem to be a huge difference between the American/Swedish system when it comes to how much time kids spend in schools. We have summer vacations that are just as long, winter vacations, easter, etc...the only differences is that we don't have snowdays (I mean, that would be kind of silly to have snowdays here) and I have seen schools in the US close for two weeks or so due to snow.

    How long during the day kids go to school is dependent on age..such as a third grader usually goes from 8 in the morning till around 2/230 in the afternoon while a fifth grader might go an hour longer. In High school you might go till five in the afternoon max but it is dependent on what classes you are taking.

    The only ones who don't get summer education here are the preschoolers..they go year round.

    Summer education is pretty much optional by the kids as it is in the US.

    Finland also has summer vacation/pretty much the same days we do and they have even a higher ranked education system than we do..

    Its what you do in schools that counts, not how long you go to it...how is making your days longer supposed to improve education?

    I guess I can reply to this one as well. To start, I don't really like country rankings..I think that there are great educators all around the world but everything just comes down to the individual teacher and her methods. It doesn't matter if your country is number 1 or number 21..as long as your kids are learning effectively, are happy, creative in their thoughts..then does it matter?

    In Sweden we do not allow just the smartest kids to stay in school.Our system is completly goal based (such as based on what a kid should know rather than expected to know..how you try to reach your years expected goal is completly up to the individual teacher). Classes can vary..such as you may have a class where you might have people really good at a specific subject and some who are not as good..so instead of saying that by fifth grade all kids have to " blah blah blah" by the end of the year, we make the goal individual. An example would be that all students have to do a half hour of math homework twice a week...they might be working on different sections of the math book but everyone is learning at their own pace for the same amount of time.

    Kids choose themselves which routes they want to follow later in High School (such as if they want to work with automobiles, they might choose that track in a HS that offers it, kids who want to be a doctor might choose that track at a high school that offers it). Kids choose themselves what High School they want to go to and apply for a track there rather than going to a High School based on if it is in your district or not. In a sense, HS is more like how it works in a college in the US. But noone is sent to a trade because they were thought by the teachers that they "couldn't hack it" (same thing in Finland, Norway, etc). I think you are generalising the education systems outside the US but I would be interested in which countries actually do this if you could name them. Personally, I think this is horrible to do to a kid.
     
  4. kalli007

    kalli007 Companion

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    Oct 2, 2009

    I have been seeing more and more schools in the US going towards this, and I think it is great! When I was in HS (90's) our district came out with a High School for Human Sciences. You had to apply and test to get it, but it was a big hit! I am seeing more and more of that in other districts and hope that it increases.
     
  5. Carmen13

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    Oct 2, 2009

    I fear a lot of governments are looking into what other countries are doing, concerning education...and then teachers pay the price for the bad choices taken. The "interesting" thing is when a government tries to implement another country's education model, but "forgets" to implement all (meaning the good things, like small size classes, etc).
    I could go on and on, but it's Friday and I need some rest. :)
    Let's keep our fingers crossed...
     
  6. Carmen13

    Carmen13 Groupie

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    Oct 2, 2009

    Middle school and high school schedules in Portugal are similar to the ones in Sweden (the classes may end at 5 or 6 pm). Elementary schedules used to be from 8 am to 3.30 pm, but are now extended to 5pm (I think)...The classroom teacher has to stay with the students and help with homework. Some of the days, the students have an English teacher, and learn basic english vocabulary.
     
  7. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Oct 2, 2009

    So, going later in the afternoon seems to be the norm in at least a few European countries. Middle school kids here go the same hours as elementary kids. I think they do need more hours.
     
  8. love_reading

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    Oct 2, 2009

    I teach first grade. They are six years old. There is no way that they would be able to go an extended day. They are tired and lose attention after 2:00. As far as learning math, there are other factors that contribute to a student's achievement...factors that are out of the school's control. Personally, I don't think extending the school day would benefit younger students. They don't get enough time to be children as it is. Having said that, I wouldn't be opposed to adding days onto the year as long as it is a year-round type schedule where you might have school for 9 weeks, then a couple weeks off.
     
  9. skittleroo

    skittleroo Connoisseur

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    Oct 2, 2009

    I agree completely - it is pure insanity to suggest 5 or 6 year olds go to school until 5 or 6 at night. RIDICULOUS!!!!!

    I don't even care if I am the only one who feels this way - if I am then I guess I'm the only one left with a brain (but I know I'm not the only one). Now I'll keep my opinion out of the issue of older kids as I teach kinders. All I know my kids COULD NOT handle it and wouldn't learn anything additional.
     
  10. Emily Bronte

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    Oct 2, 2009

    I don't know, I would rather add extra days, but I think that if we had class sizes that were a lot smaller, we'd be better off and if early childhood was required. Quite frankly, I don't think the education system in the US is as horrendous as some would like us to believe. We have to keep in mind that we educate every kid no matter what his or her ability.
     
  11. knitter63

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    Oct 2, 2009

    Very well said-and so very, very accurate.
    The basis of education has not changed-society has changed. Our values do not include education, and technology has made life so much easier for everyone. There is no need to think of answers when we can pull out our cell phones and find the answer on web. When parents don't value education, students won't-and all the motivation in the world won't make a difference. Just my :2cents:
     
  12. Genmai

    Genmai Companion

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    Oct 3, 2009

    This thread is quite interesting.

    Longer hours alone and in isolation of any other holistic improvements is pointless and perhaps even damaging. The hornet's nest issue of school improvement is tangled with many, many, many factors that span legal, social, economic, and political areas. So the extension of hours alone is not the answer.

    IMO, the best way to look at improvement of our schools in the U.S. is to look at models that are working sensationally. The one with which I am most familiar is the charter school model, specifically the KIPP, Achievement First, Uncommon Schools, and Green Dot schools.

    At the very best of these public schools, there is an unbelievable synergy of positive factors including GREAT teachers, supportive administrators, parental involvement, and a real culture of excellence and achievement inculcated by real practice.

    At these schools, the school day and school year are longer and often extend into the traditional summer vacation, and the kids frequently are learning and enjoying learning.

    What does this mean for teachers? I think the problems arise when teachers are expected to teach longer days and a longer year without a substantial and commensurate increase in pay. After all these teachers are hired for their ability and are required to sacrifice more of their own time and resources.


    http://www.kipp.org/
    http://www.uncommonschools.org/usi/home/index.html
    http://www.achievementfirst.org/
    http://www.greendot.org/
     
  13. TeacherShelly

    TeacherShelly Aficionado

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    Oct 3, 2009

    I'm marginally familiar with KIPP schools, and not familiar with the others listed above. Can someone tell me, in addition to high test scores, is there evidence of increased deep, critical, independent thinking being learned there (not "test prep" learning, if you know what I mean)? And how about Social/Emotional learning? How are children viewed and treated at high performance charters like these? As people to be respected as individual and gifted in their own unique ways (not as scores to be raised?)

    I don't want to throw out the baby with the bathwater - end up with high scores and that's all. Not saying those schools are throwing any babies out - I just have no insight yet.
     
  14. Historyteaching

    Historyteaching Cohort

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    Oct 3, 2009

    My students and I were discussing this-I'd much rather go from 8-4 or something like that..instead of longer school year.

    I'm honestly not really sure what to think about this and what would help our students. I think someone mentioned that it would be dependent on the area, I agree. Many of my students have a family farm-when its time to harvest or deal with the animals-students will take time off of school to do that, it could be a couple of days to a week. I have students who spend their summer vacation, working on the farm-parents depend on the kids to help with the family livelihood. If they are in school, that takes away from the farm.

    I told my students that this was just a discussion-that if they would do anything, it would take a couple of years at least before it would be implemented. I think that the gov't shouldn't just look at other countries and say see..they do this and that, it works let's do it here. We are different-examine the facts, look at the demographics, state gov'ts are responsible for the schools (according to the powers that congress gives the states) let them decide.
     
  15. rachaelski

    rachaelski Habitué

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    Oct 3, 2009

    I worked at a KIPP school and another charter school closely modeled off of KIPP. At my first school all the students were in an orchestra, and learned to play soul, rock, and r & b songs. It became a point of pride for the students. In addition to block scheduling for regular subjects, the students spent about 90 minutes in reading and math remediation/extension classes, which were much more hands-on/discovery. In middle school most of the kids were 2 years or more behind in reading and math, so this was very important. During our Saturday schools, we either did service oriented project or field trips to places in our community (mostly field trips), so our kids got to know their community.

    Also, I think testing is important, however, my first school focused on value-added growth (growth from the previous year to the current year (based on test scores)) versus simply being "proficient" or "non-proficient". This method is much more holistic and individualized. It gives us a real portrait.

    I don't have much good to say about my KIPP school, however, the leadership NOT the model was the problem.
     
  16. LiveNLearn

    LiveNLearn Comrade

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    Oct 3, 2009

    The same article addresses the fact that we do not, for the most part, have students that live in an agrarian society. Our kids don't need the summer off for clearing the fields and harvesting the crops.

    "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.

    Instead, we have millions of kids in poverty that would benefit immensely from being in a structured environment like school for even another week or two.

    "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."

    This applies to K and 1st grade kids as well... No one can argue that it makes sense to send a Kindergartener to school for 10 hours a day, but one can argue that there is no one at home that is reading to them if they live in a home with no books.
     
  17. skittleroo

    skittleroo Connoisseur

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    Oct 3, 2009

    exactly - we have to motivate our kids, give them a reason to learn. They won't do it just because we say so. this is another difference in countries.
     
  18. skittleroo

    skittleroo Connoisseur

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    Oct 3, 2009

    I assume you are referring to what I said. However, if so, you would have seen that I agree with extending the year - just not the day. If you teach kinder then you would know. I don't question what your expert opinion is in your grade and I appreciate only kinder teachers "knowing best" for kinder. I would never tell you were wrong in what you did in 6th. THEY ARE DIFFERENT WORLDS.
     
  19. Genmai

    Genmai Companion

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