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View Poll Results: Given two choices, which would you rather choose?
Option 1: The school year should begin in late September and end in early May 28 49.12%
Option 2: The school year should begin in the second week of August and last until the last week of June 29 50.88%
Voters: 57. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 09-12-2011, 04:54 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Troubleshooter View Post
The problem is not the length of they year or the amount of instruction time. The problem is giving students too many subjects to deal with at one time.

Let's get rid of the emphasis on subjects that no longer result in lucrative employment for most people. Emphasize skills that get jobs, not culture.
This is why so many people want students to be able to choose between training or education starting around age 14 or 15. The countries that tend to do well don't just allow this, for most students they are taking 12-15 subjects per year rather than the 7 or 8 that are typical in the US. The difference is that each subject varies in the number of class meetings rather than every class lasting the same amount of time. They may take a class 8-10 hours a week if it is their major or just 1 hour every other week for courses that aren't so content-intensive.

You may not be interested in studying philosophy and literature, performing lab procedures, or mastering three foreign languages, but some students are. Others would rather be able to learn the principles of accounting, marketing, and management in order to get a co-op position that would pay for college and allow upward mobility before the degree is even earned. Still others would love nothing more than breaking down and rebuilding motors all day long with just enough academics to get by.

All people are not cut from the same cloth. E pluribus unum.

It might be different if our country didn't need all types of people, but the funny thing is, we need academics, businessmen, and mechanics. Let's make a school system that allows each student to have choices about his own life. Isn't that the American way?
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Old 09-12-2011, 08:43 PM
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
85,004 posts, read 98,863,560 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lhpartridge View Post
This is why so many people want students to be able to choose between training or education starting around age 14 or 15. The countries that tend to do well don't just allow this, for most students they are taking 12-15 subjects per year rather than the 7 or 8 that are typical in the US. The difference is that each subject varies in the number of class meetings rather than every class lasting the same amount of time. They may take a class 8-10 hours a week if it is their major or just 1 hour every other week for courses that aren't so content-intensive.

You may not be interested in studying philosophy and literature, performing lab procedures, or mastering three foreign languages, but some students are. Others would rather be able to learn the principles of accounting, marketing, and management in order to get a co-op position that would pay for college and allow upward mobility before the degree is even earned. Still others would love nothing more than breaking down and rebuilding motors all day long with just enough academics to get by.

All people are not cut from the same cloth. E pluribus unum.

It might be different if our country didn't need all types of people, but the funny thing is, we need academics, businessmen, and mechanics. Let's make a school system that allows each student to have choices about his own life. Isn't that the American way?
The thing is, though, everyone has to have a core of general knowledge. (I'm not talking about Core Knowledge per se; I'm not a big fan of it.) A businessman (sic) who doesn't know basic science isn't going to go very far, for example. A mechanic who can't write up a bill, or add up charges, isn't going to get too far either. I'm not sure what you mean by an "academic", but everyone needs some practical experience too. We've all had to learn computers these days, for example. Everyone needs to understand civics so they can particpate in the government by voting at a minimum.

This pie-in-the-sky stuff about "paying for college" just doesn't happen in the real world.

Last edited by Katarina Witt; 09-12-2011 at 08:56 PM..
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Old 09-12-2011, 11:47 PM
 
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I don't know if the school year should be shorter/longer, but the school DAY should be shorter.....
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Old 09-13-2011, 03:47 AM
 
Location: Whoville....
25,393 posts, read 29,717,492 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by loloroj View Post
I don't know if the school year should be shorter/longer, but the school DAY should be shorter.....
How would this improve education?

I can see a combination of shorter days and longer years improving education but not just cutting time out. As a high school teacher I wouldn't like a shorter day unless they figured out a way to reduce the number of classes we have a day. I'm struggling to teach everything I need to in 50 minutes as things are.
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Old 09-13-2011, 10:09 AM
 
920 posts, read 1,470,869 times
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Originally Posted by Ivorytickler View Post
How would this improve education?

I can see a combination of shorter days and longer years improving education but not just cutting time out. As a high school teacher I wouldn't like a shorter day unless they figured out a way to reduce the number of classes we have a day. I'm struggling to teach everything I need to in 50 minutes as things are.
IMO it would improve education if you began the school day at a later hour. Much of why we have the hours that make up the school day is based on athletics. Sorry but my kids are for the most part not capable of staying awake at 8 in the morning. Many of them come from far away and have not gotten enough sleep in order to get through their day.

Second I don't believe in the Factory Education System (FES). Much of what we consider education is based on training in order to acclimate students for working in systems that have become outmoded. Fewer of us are going to have any kind of jobs, much less the traditional 8-5. As I have read some of the thoughts of the folks who instituted the current system, it was their intent not to educate but to train children in order to be proper workers. I have no intention of continuing any sort of training. Not that is wrong, when I'm in a accident, I want the people responding to be trained well enough to save my life, not if they can speak three languages or explain Hegel's dialectic. But in the classroom, that isn't the case. And from my short time as a teacher, but a much longer time as a student, what I've come to find is that we teach ourselves, which is really the best education possible. The very best teachers/professors I've ever had were the ones who encourage us to annotate our books and their lectures, putting it in our own words. They turned the class from a top-down driven to one in which the students themselves ran it, in that they had a major part in deciding if things I said made sense, what they thought I meant, and what they believed was correct. It wasn't chaotic at all, the kids, for the most part, wanted to learn and were eager to do so. That was before NCLB and 40-50 student classes. But it still was a better way to teach than anything I've come across.

Which comes to my third point. For education to stick, it has to be put into practice. The kids should be out in their neighborhoods actually doing much of what we talk about. Directing their energy to help improve their surroundings and improving the lives of neighbors. Helping people write letter who can't do so, planting and maintaining neighborhood gardens, which become outdoor labs, apprenticeships with pay for the older kids in trades which demand a knowledge of math and physics, e.g. plumbing and carpentry. Hell the possibilities are endless.

So it seems that I want to stop the way we teach now because it demands that we look at clocks, because for too many teachers/students, it does become babysitting until parents come home. Things need to change, they don't need to be expensive, though it probably means more people will need to become involved and paid, and it in fact will allow teachers to become far more involved in the actual teaching than what I've experienced now.
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Old 09-14-2011, 04:10 PM
 
146 posts, read 255,101 times
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I don't think either would change anything, and since it's been this way for years, my vote would be for everything to stay the same.
I grew up in Europe and there were two school shifts from kindergarten to high school.
First shift was from 7am to noon and second from 1pm to 6pm. Your grade either went to first or second shift. No school lunches since everyone was home for lunch. School year started mid September and ended mid May. There were no federal holidays observed, no spring break, no teacher institute days, and we had a winter break which was the whole month of January off. No one ever complained.
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Old 09-15-2011, 05:50 AM
 
Location: Whoville....
25,393 posts, read 29,717,492 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by loloroj View Post
IMO it would improve education if you began the school day at a later hour. Much of why we have the hours that make up the school day is based on athletics. Sorry but my kids are for the most part not capable of staying awake at 8 in the morning. Many of them come from far away and have not gotten enough sleep in order to get through their day.

Second I don't believe in the Factory Education System (FES). Much of what we consider education is based on training in order to acclimate students for working in systems that have become outmoded. Fewer of us are going to have any kind of jobs, much less the traditional 8-5. As I have read some of the thoughts of the folks who instituted the current system, it was their intent not to educate but to train children in order to be proper workers. I have no intention of continuing any sort of training. Not that is wrong, when I'm in a accident, I want the people responding to be trained well enough to save my life, not if they can speak three languages or explain Hegel's dialectic. But in the classroom, that isn't the case. And from my short time as a teacher, but a much longer time as a student, what I've come to find is that we teach ourselves, which is really the best education possible. The very best teachers/professors I've ever had were the ones who encourage us to annotate our books and their lectures, putting it in our own words. They turned the class from a top-down driven to one in which the students themselves ran it, in that they had a major part in deciding if things I said made sense, what they thought I meant, and what they believed was correct. It wasn't chaotic at all, the kids, for the most part, wanted to learn and were eager to do so. That was before NCLB and 40-50 student classes. But it still was a better way to teach than anything I've come across.

Which comes to my third point. For education to stick, it has to be put into practice. The kids should be out in their neighborhoods actually doing much of what we talk about. Directing their energy to help improve their surroundings and improving the lives of neighbors. Helping people write letter who can't do so, planting and maintaining neighborhood gardens, which become outdoor labs, apprenticeships with pay for the older kids in trades which demand a knowledge of math and physics, e.g. plumbing and carpentry. Hell the possibilities are endless.

So it seems that I want to stop the way we teach now because it demands that we look at clocks, because for too many teachers/students, it does become babysitting until parents come home. Things need to change, they don't need to be expensive, though it probably means more people will need to become involved and paid, and it in fact will allow teachers to become far more involved in the actual teaching than what I've experienced now.
Please describe your non FES model and how it will work for the average student who is not intrinsically motivated to learn. How will you orchestrate getting these kids out into society "doing", who will supervise and what will this system cost? I'm all for requiring public service credits to graduate, but these programs have to be supervised AND before you can help someone else write a letter, don't you have to learn how to write one yourself? How will you do that with fewer hours in school?

If you have fewer hours, you must cut something, what will you cut? What imact will what you cut have on the less motivated students?
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Old 09-15-2011, 11:38 AM
 
920 posts, read 1,470,869 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ivorytickler View Post
Please describe your non FES model and how it will work for the average student who is not intrinsically motivated to learn. How will you orchestrate getting these kids out into society "doing", who will supervise and what will this system cost? I'm all for requiring public service credits to graduate, but these programs have to be supervised AND before you can help someone else write a letter, don't you have to learn how to write one yourself? How will you do that with fewer hours in school?

If you have fewer hours, you must cut something, what will you cut? What imact will what you cut have on the less motivated students?
The US has a population of over 310 million people, with about a third of them in school. In order to be able to train that number of students, then you must have an efficient way of doing so. The invention that was created in order to churn out a standardized product is the factory. Read the history of modern factory practices and the efficient use of both plant and people in order to understand what the FES actually entails. Its exactly the same thing that has been applied to education. Standards have been established which supposedly determine what a student must know, with no/little input from either student or community. Those standards have been established not in order to become educated, but in order to serve an industrial model. That has nothing to do with being educated, it has to do with training. You ignored my points regarding who schools are serving, and because you did so, then failed to address my actual points. The school day isn't about education, it's about training children/students to become proper workers. I'll say it one more time: schools are primarily used to train us to become workers, not educated human beings. If so then their importance comes in how well they conditioned to work, not how well they serve their families nor their communities. There is no real reason to have a school day's hours as they are currently, any more than we need to have an eight hour work day.

You cannot truncate the purpose of schools from who they serve. And the point is being underscored with the crisis in education. That crisis is tied in with the fact that we're entering into one of the worst economic periods in US history. Because of that, the schools are no longer needed. The products which schools churn out aren't needed by industry anymore, and because of that, then the schools no longer get the tax support from corporations. California's tax burden on corporations has fallen nearly 1/2 from the 70's, when that states public education was considered the best in the US. That isn't a coincidence, it goes directly to the points I'm making. Industry will not pay for something they will not need, and US schools aren't needed.

And it really doesn't matter whether or not you think the school day/year should be left the same or extended. The reality is that they are being cut across the nation. If so then it will be a short period of time before any public education will come from on line classes. Many more states are now going this route, here in Oregon, our governor has already stated that he wants to rapidly increase the use of online classes to replace what we currently have. That only means that students will be on their own. Doesn't matter what you can/can't teach in whatever period of time you have, very shortly teachers will be replaced by electronics.

Which gets to my final point. It will come down to the communities if they want to be educated. Your example of an unmotivated student will be answered that they can either drop out, use a computer or become responsible for their own education. If his/her neighborhoods have done nothing to try to fill in the breech due to the collapse of the FES, the that student is outta luck. But for those communities that in fact want to educate their children, then it will be up to them to find ways of teaching that will not be using traditional methods or means of doing so, because they won't have the resources of the state/feds. The only reason more schools haven't been closed in Oregon and across the nation is because the FEDs came in a gave us the money in order to keep them open. It would be stupid to think that will continue. And because of that, then it'll be that education as we've known it will become a thing of the past. So it's way past time that we start to look at unique and supposedly iconoclastic ways of teaching our students. For instance, some of us already have been approached by parents to set up a Friday school for their kids due to the shorten school year/week. They're not looking for us to replicate what the schools are doing, they know their kids are not being educated. This will become far more prevalent in the coming years....
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Old 09-15-2011, 11:49 AM
 
Location: Mid-Atlantic
1,820 posts, read 3,900,442 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TabulaRasa View Post
My school is in session year-round. It's great.

Our days out of session include the day before and after Thanksgiving in addition to the day itself, a week at Christmas, a week in May, a week in August, and various three- or four- day weekends sprinkled at the rate of one every couple of months throughout the rest of the year.
I would love it if all states, districts went with a year round schedule. It allows the kids to have the little breaks they need, but not as long as the full Summer vacation.
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Old 09-15-2011, 05:58 PM
 
2,920 posts, read 2,909,037 times
Reputation: 3504
Quote:
Originally Posted by loloroj View Post
The US has a population of over 310 million people, with about a third of them in school. In order to be able to train that number of students, then you must have an efficient way of doing so. The invention that was created in order to churn out a standardized product is the factory. Read the history of modern factory practices and the efficient use of both plant and people in order to understand what the FES actually entails. Its exactly the same thing that has been applied to education. Standards have been established which supposedly determine what a student must know, with no/little input from either student or community. Those standards have been established not in order to become educated, but in order to serve an industrial model. That has nothing to do with being educated, it has to do with training. You ignored my points regarding who schools are serving, and because you did so, then failed to address my actual points. The school day isn't about education, it's about training children/students to become proper workers. I'll say it one more time: schools are primarily used to train us to become workers, not educated human beings. If so then their importance comes in how well they conditioned to work, not how well they serve their families nor their communities. There is no real reason to have a school day's hours as they are currently, any more than we need to have an eight hour work day.

You cannot truncate the purpose of schools from who they serve. And the point is being underscored with the crisis in education. That crisis is tied in with the fact that we're entering into one of the worst economic periods in US history. Because of that, the schools are no longer needed. The products which schools churn out aren't needed by industry anymore, and because of that, then the schools no longer get the tax support from corporations. California's tax burden on corporations has fallen nearly 1/2 from the 70's, when that states public education was considered the best in the US. That isn't a coincidence, it goes directly to the points I'm making. Industry will not pay for something they will not need, and US schools aren't needed.

And it really doesn't matter whether or not you think the school day/year should be left the same or extended. The reality is that they are being cut across the nation. If so then it will be a short period of time before any public education will come from on line classes. Many more states are now going this route, here in Oregon, our governor has already stated that he wants to rapidly increase the use of online classes to replace what we currently have. That only means that students will be on their own. Doesn't matter what you can/can't teach in whatever period of time you have, very shortly teachers will be replaced by electronics.

Which gets to my final point. It will come down to the communities if they want to be educated. Your example of an unmotivated student will be answered that they can either drop out, use a computer or become responsible for their own education. If his/her neighborhoods have done nothing to try to fill in the breech due to the collapse of the FES, the that student is outta luck. But for those communities that in fact want to educate their children, then it will be up to them to find ways of teaching that will not be using traditional methods or means of doing so, because they won't have the resources of the state/feds. The only reason more schools haven't been closed in Oregon and across the nation is because the FEDs came in a gave us the money in order to keep them open. It would be stupid to think that will continue. And because of that, then it'll be that education as we've known it will become a thing of the past. So it's way past time that we start to look at unique and supposedly iconoclastic ways of teaching our students. For instance, some of us already have been approached by parents to set up a Friday school for their kids due to the shorten school year/week. They're not looking for us to replicate what the schools are doing, they know their kids are not being educated. This will become far more prevalent in the coming years....
I think we're going through a paradigm shift as profound as that which accompanied the development of propulsion systems and communication. More people are doing freelance and contract work after losing traditional employment. Those jobs are just not going to return. It will be the classic adapt or die situation.

You implied in your post that the length of the school year is determined by the needs of industry. It is an artificial standard. Really, education should be measured by achievement and not by seat time. Over the history of modern education, the concept of a "school year" as a measure of achievement became normalized. I don't really know if there was ever a formal nomenclature for reading levels. I also don't know how reading levels are defined, if at all, in other countries.

I think that the new paradigm for education, as opposed to schooling, might be predicated on the demonstration of objective measures of mastery. For over a thousand years, the university system relied on rigorous examinations to determine whether students could earn credentials from their institution. For most of that time, wealthy parents had private tutors until they sent their children to boarding schools. Churches or communities took responsibility for basic literacy and numeracy, if that was desired. The teachers there would select the best students for secondary education, which often involved going away to school. Middle class children were generally placed in apprenticeships at the end of basic education, while the poor would be working. Schooling did not really exist outside of a few enlightened areas with progressive agendas. They weren't very common or long-lived. Advancement to the next level was earned, and not always expected.

As you point out, industry doesn't need the product of the American school system as it once did. Children will have to learn to grow up to an employment structure that is very different from what we had ten years ago. They may have to adapt to teaching themselves using district computers and software at home rather than teachers in classrooms. Progress will have to be redefined because seat time and achievement will vary widely from student to student. In a way this is a very good thing. Students who want to move faster than expected may do so, while those who need more time can progress more slowly but more thoroughly without being left behind by a teacher whose class needs to move on.

Students whose parents make their own schedules are more likely to take their children with them when doing business in the community. This is an education by itself--kids need to see how adults spend their days. They might get a more realistic expectation for what they need to be prepared to do. They can focus on the skills they will expect to use most, but still have to study basic subjects in order to get the appropriate credentials of achievement. The primary variable would be the amount of time any individual child would take to achieve mastery of required objectives.

A little lagniappe for athletes is that they could really begin to specialize at a much younger age more like what is done in other countries. There wouldn't be the massive expenditures for student athletics which is a cancerous drain on academics. This would be a practical way of separating these two spheres of childhood activity. Parent- or community-backed clubs could immediately take over these activities and fund them with the cuts to their taxes from eliminating school sports from the public expenditure equation. Kids could go pro when they and their parents and the associations agree to it as they currently do in tennis, for example. Freddy Adu turned pro at age 14, and now at 22, is a seasoned soccer veteran. If he wanted to, he could easily head to college now after eight years in the pros. There would be unintended consequences, but at least we could get the school districts out of the sports business. I think that would be in the taxpayers' best interest.

Victor Hugo summed up paradigm shift in the Hunchback of Notre-Dame: This will kill that. Wouldn't it be interesting if this time, we shift back to what we had before--parents and children taking care of their own needs, while communities provide the basics for their citizens.

Last edited by lhpartridge; 09-15-2011 at 07:11 PM.. Reason: add emphasis
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