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Year Around School

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Federal money and standardized EOI tests have a lot to do with the state of education in America today. You could probably get by with less days in class and get a better quality education if school systems were allowed to set their own standards and actualy teach to those standards. Instead, teachers are forced to teach to the standardized tests in order to get the best scores possible so the schools can meet the standards to get their piece of the federal dollars pie.


This point was driven home to me by an out od school example. The schools around here quit teaching drivers ed some years back. As a result, a cottage industry of driving schools popped up and you have to pay $350+ for your kid to get drivers ed. You want to do this for a number of reasons, mainly because the insurance lobby has gotten the legislature to pass laws that give preferential insuance treatment to people with the ed, but I digress. The school my son went to claimed a 98% drivers test pass rate. The reason for this became apparant during the first day of classroom instruction. The instrutor told them to toss the state issued driving manual. He would teach them to drive by teaching to the test they would be taking to maximize their success. For the school, the success rate was a selling point to get new customers.


When teachers are required to teach to pass a standardized government test in order for their school to get dollars to operate, then your child will only get the education needed to pass the test. That my friends is why other nations are surpassing us in their education quality with less actual days in class. Throwing more days at school is like throwing money down a wishing well.

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One reason why HS won't be affected by year round school, or so I've been told, is #1 HS athletics and #2 those industries, read tourism, that require manpower during the summer. Most atheltic regs state theat athletes must be in school at the time of play, with a few exceptions. have year round school, well only certain players will eb eligible at a certain time.


Also some industries need the cheap labor of teenagers, I was one once ;),You gotta have those lifeguards.

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I'm not skilled at understanding politicians.


I went back and read what was said and it doesn't say year round school, I thought he was referring to what Europe does, which is a longer school year in some countries or a longer school day in others.




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Regarding teaching to the test, would you rather not have a standardized means of assessment? Any time there is an exit exam or some test of this nature, there will be a tendency to teach subjects that the authorities have judged important by virtue of their existence on the test. This is unavoidable and I'm not sure it's all that bad. Did your son wreck the car as a result? Does he know how to drive?

If there is a problem it may be in the test itself. A well-designed test will not lend itself easily to shortcuts or lazy teaching. A shallow, or sloppy test will make it easy to pass with minimal instruction. This depends a lot on the standards that are established by each state or locality. Weak standards do not support outstanding scholarship. To be sure, you can still have weak students in the presence of rigorous standards, but their scores will reflect this. And those weak students will have a better understanding that they need to practice cleaning toilets.

On the other hand, strong standards and rigorous testing makes it more difficult to compete with the apparent scores from states whose examinations are less rigorous.

This mix of students arrives at my institution and the first year or so relieves some of them of their illusions the way their state might have done back when there was still time to do something about it. And losing that scholarship after the first semester is a showstopper for most of them. Welcome to reality, sort of.

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State of Michigan used to leave graduation standards entirely up to the school district, except to mandate half a year of "civics." There were really no standards to control what got taught in that half a year, either.


Result: districts in more well-off areas had fairly stringent grad requirements, including 2-4 years each of math, science, english, and social studies. Other districts had basically no requirements, other than a certain # of credit hours and that half a year of civics. You could take 4 straight years of nothing but fluff and still get that degree. They were turning out students who struggled with basic arithmetic and who were functionally illiterate, but hey, they had a high school diploma to show for it.


No Child Left Behind brought changes. Among other things, states have to test students on an annual basis. There are undoubtedly problems with this, which we all know about. In general, I don't like what NCLB has ended up doing. Some states write notoriously easy statewide tests, just to boost their "pass" rates.


Most countries have national standards and national exams. Well-crafted ones, as pack says, can do a decent job of improving the educational experience for everybody. NCLB isn't going to produce a well-crafted set of national standards, but I suppose it is one way to lurch forward.

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In all the talk about how to improve schools and the educational process, whether its year round school or improve teacher preformance or something else, the most important factor and number one ( in my opinion)contributor in the success of a students education is rarely if ever mentioned.


That of parental involvement. Why is the parents role in the educational experience not talked up more? Children do live up to parental expectation, children do model parental values. If as a society we wish to improve education, we must as a society expect parents to be as active in a childs education as any teacher

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Problems with year round schooling:


- My state has an entire region (the shore) that is based around the summer season. Take away summer vacation and a lot of people are now out of work, and alot of small bussinesses just died.


- Your taxes will go up. Why? You are paying for airconditioning for the schools (and possibly installation), teachers/principals/custodians/secretaries/support staff salaries will go up by 1/4 (you now have three extra months to pay them for)


- Without summer, when are you going to maintain the schools? Summer is the time to fix rooves, recarpet, repaint, install new toilets, rewire the entire building for the internet, bring the fire alarm system up to code by completely reinstalling it (that was the big project where I worked at this year)


- Many teachers will quit, especially in "needy" districts with lots of problem students. Teachers, even amazing teachers who love kids and do a great job with them, need time to recharge their batteries, which is why many teachers take jobs that have nothing to do with children over the summer. Already half of new teachers burn out in their first five years and go into a new line of work because they can't hack it, that rate will surely go up if teachers work for 12 months with children.


- The prementioned date showing that Americans already spend more hours in school that countries that beat us in days attended. Why do you think other countries do that? Because kids burn out too.


Our schools have major issues, but year round school is definately NOT the answer.

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I'm one of the first ones that went to a "Year Around" school here in the US. This was in the late 70's, and it was a new HS in California. We were on the 45-15 schedule, and I loved it. It was like you had several mini vacations all year long.


It does have its plus & minus.


A big plus for me was that I graduated from HS a year early. On those "off" periods, you were allowed to take classes. Most places wont let you do that now, since they need 4 years of standardized test on ya for $$$. But for me, I figured, why stay in HS a whole year when I only needed 2-3 months. Year round allowed me to move on quicker.


As a parent now, I still think year round has a place, but it should be "parent's choice". There are some kids that would benefit by not having the long break, and others, that need that break.


One benefit would be, allowing families to plan vacations during the year instead of the summer. If your family wants to plan a long holiday, unless it during the summer, the schools get upset since they need kids for testing (Don't even think of planning a trip when state standarization tests are planned.)


As pointed out, the minus is that kids in the same family may have different schedules. It does cost more for school districts. (However, the reason we went year round was that the school only had 2/3rds of the students in house at any one time. This allowed for more students in less school space. (A cost savings))


But the main concept that the president wants the US kids to stay in school longer is wrong. School is not daycare. Get rid of the social engineering classes, and get back to basics. Example, my son does not have to have the right math answer... it's... how did you come to that answer? Hello!! As a rocket scientist here, if I tell my employer, ya know Mars, Saturn, Mercury... Hey, I got ya to one of them, thats good enough. Oh, and I "feel good" about where we sent the probe. I'm out the door!!!

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