There’s Something To…

…President Obama’s statements about either extending the school day or school year in an attempt to make public education more effective. Now, I’m not much for extending the school day if most of the nation’s school days are like the ones in our community. See, they start at 8:45am and end around 4pm. The rest of the evening is eaten up by extracurriculars and/or homework. Sure, they could be a bit more efficient with that school day, but then again, so could every office I’ve ever heard about or been in. All work and no play blah blah blah.

I am for extending the school year by a few days and going to the “quarter system” like when I was in university. You’d start school the third week of September and roll through until mid-December. After nearly three weeks off after finals, you go from early January to mid-March. After those finals and a spring break of 10 days, you’d go from late March to early June…take finals and two weeks more off. That was more or less the school year. Me and several of my buddies went to summer school, which went from late June to mid-August…and then you’d get an entire month off.

Now, the reason I’m for this is that it’s basically the same amount of school days divided up with longer breaks and based on a more accurate cultural reality than the current system (implemented when working the fields was a big player in the economy).

I’m sure there are drawbacks, too. My guess is that the biggest reason would be the simple one of resistance to change. You know, child-care schedules and work schedules and practices and vacations and all that.

Side comment: I don’t believe the idea that people don’t like “change.” I hear people say all the time that “people don’t like change.” I think they do like change if the reasons for “change” are clearly communicated as well as how the “benefits” outweigh the “inconveniences.” Case in point: If someone in the 1960’s in the summer in Texas didn’t have air-conditioning, and you told them that you could put a window unit in their home which would cool down a room where they could be more comfortable as well as a few health benefits, etc. Sure, there’ll be an additional cost, namely financial, to your power bill. And maybe some nominal risk regarding fire hazards or what not. But, largely, a person living in the heat would like that change and be willing to make a few personal sacrifices for it.

Anyway, I’ve long been a propenent of “year-round” school (much like my little personal crusade for public transportation) and would love to hear the patronage weigh-in on the idea.

Frankly, I think we pretty much have year-round school anyway since coaches and sponsors and band directors have camps and tournaments and such that require our kids to be there.

And, even more frankly, there’s not a chance anything like this will ever pass in Texas since the tourism industry lobby has enough sway with state legislators to move the school schedule to allow for more summer vacation (when most everybody I know heads to Colorado or north Florida for their vacations anyway).

Lastly, I have no idea what the teachers would think about it, which is ultimately who should have a majority voice in the discussion.

But I think it’s a fun discussion to have, so, whaddya think, patrons?

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