School’s out…never?

I read this article today – http://www.abc2news.com/dpp/news/national/students-in-5-states-to-be-in-class-longer about more states adding more time that students will be in school. According to the article education secretary Arne Duncan wants kids in school 6-7 days a week, 11 or 12 months a year. I guess we should just forget letting kids be kids and send them off to boarding school as soon as they can talk. Instead of trying to figure out how to educate better, they have decided we will just do more of what isn’t working. I’m sure that will work. Here are a few of my suggestions.

First for parents: stop doing everything for your kids. Stop giving them everything they want. Stop over scheduling them and give them time to experience life on their own. I think many kids these days go to school completely unprepared because parents don’t make kids learn to be independent. They are now expected to be responsible for getting work done on time and doing projects when all they have ever done on their own is play a video game. To make things worse, parents are so focused on grades instead of learning that many of them do the work for their kids. A kid who does a science project on their own and gets a B will learn a lot more than the kid who got an A because mommy did it for him.  A kid who goes to the library and does their own research will learn a lot more than the kid whose mommy goes for them while they are in school. I’m not saying don’t help, I’m saying don’t do all of the work or help in a way that does not teach.

Now for schools: stop teaching to the test. Stop making teachers main concern be the results of a standardized test. All we are teaching kids is how to memorize what they need to fill in the proper bubble and then we wonder why they aren’t prepared for real life. Stop setting up a curriculum that does not allow for different learning styles. Why not allow kids to take a track in school that plays to their strengths and interests? They do need a base knowledge in every subject, but at some point we need to allow them to focus on those areas in which they plan to continue their education.

And for both: Every kid should not expect to go to college. Stop with this “everyone deserves to go to college” thing. Some kids should go to trade school to become a plumber, carpenter, welder, etc. That is not failure. That is finding an area where they will be successful in life. Isn’t that the goal?

We don’t need more of the same. We need more original thinking.

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2 Comments

  1. I agree with all of the conclusions from paragraph 2 on. But the initial thesis? I have to say I absolutely agree with Arne Duncan. Not because what we’re doing works, but because part of the stated goal of school is to prepare kids for the working world. When I get summers off, or kids don’t, I’ll re-evaluate my current stance that the school system fails miserably in preparing students for the “you have to go to work all year long” aspect of the working world.

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