President Obama has likely added to the list of those who aren’t very happy with him. This time it is the small fry.
Obama wants kids to spend more time in the classroom. This includes longer school days and opening on weekends to give kids a safe place to go. The idea is that U.S. students are behind those in other countries because of the fewer hours American kids spend in class.
Arne Duncan, Obama’s education secretary, pointed out that today’s educational system is based on an agrarian society and that not many kids are working the fields. While some studies have shown that more hours is conducive to better learning in certain subjects, adding hours — and how they are added — is something that is wrapped in multiple social and economic issues.
It’s true not a lot of families can be found out working the fields these days. Likewise, not a lot of couples raise a slew of kids just because the extra help is needed in the fields.
But some families do work the fields both those that are desperate for money and the family farmers who would like to pass their way of life and assets to their offspring.
Then one must consider family vacations — for those that take them. I can’t recall having ever taken one as a kid unless you consider loading the family up in a pickup one Sunday and visiting Houston. I don’t mention that with resentment because it is simply something I didn’t dwell on as a kid, so I see no reason to do so now. That doesn’t mean my summers were void of fun.
The point is that no one family is the same and the time schools now give more for family and student recreation is used in a host of different ways.
Speaking of recreation, I wonder how Disneyworld and Six Flags would make out should kids have shortened vacations? And what about day care businesses if schools days were lengthened? The parents might come out better financially not having to shell out a lot of bucks for day care. Who knows?
This is not the first time such a subject has surfaced. I remember it being talked about more than 40 years ago when I was a kid. I wasn’t the idea’s biggest fan back then. The idea has also been renewed several times in my more recent years.
Personally, I like the structure of classes and school calendar one finds in colleges and universities. I refer to taking classes at different times of the day with class hours varying in length and days, and having the ability to either take or not take a vacation, or take one-half of the summer off. I am sure that would require way too many kinks to work out.
But implementing the types of changes Obama is talking about would also require quite a bit of upheaval. The social and economic ramification are such that it seems the only way it could be effective would be making such changes on a national basis. And Americans are pretty protective when it comes to local control in school matters.
While there is merit in more hours of school there similarly can be great value in time off. Spending time with one’s family or just chillin’ and recharging the batteries or even playing with your imaginary friends thus developing a better sense of imagination can all be worthwhile. It just depends on how it all is being done and ensuring parents are ensuring the kids are responsibly overseen.
The president has got a lot on his plate. This is one area he should leave for the local schools.