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  1. #41
    Dreaming the life onemoretime's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elaur View Post
    Obviously that makes sense since you can visit a museum for free and an xbox or tv costs money.

    We don't need more "balancing" between low school performance and high school performance. We need the low performance to increase. If some schools have high performance with the same time commitment that actually says something else should change.
    Umm, most museums cost at least $10 a pop to visit in a major city. Never mind that there's no time to do it because parents are working 60+ hours a week to get by. That $150 on a used console is a lot more reasonable in that context, considering how much of a workout it'll get.

    It's not about balancing; it's about making use of the untapped resources we have in the less-well-off kids in this country. The greatest factor in educational success is parental involvement. There's no way to change that through policy, no matter what we do. The reason richer schools put up better performance is because the parents there have time to give a damn about their kids' education, investing time and resources into the process. It's not that easy to do this when you have to work two jobs in a row on a given day.

    The greatest policy-based factor is consistent time in school. Surveys show that retention is equal across all socioeconomic classes at the end of the year. It's at the beginning of the year, testing over the previous year's material, where the discrepancies arise. That's just because you're rarely going to remember anything you're not interested in if you don't have to think about it for twelve weeks.

  2. #42
    Senior Member Kyrielle's Avatar
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    That's a bad idea. I remember how much homework I had to do every night in high school. Often I wouldn't go to bed until very late because I was always busy with it. But I'd also go to bed late because of homework because I would spend the first bit of my afternoon relaxing not jumping straight into work right after spending 6 hours straight learning. And then my family would come home around dinnertime and we'd want to spend time together.

    So, using that memory, if school was extended until "dinner", or the early evening, then I might have time to come home and spend a little bit of time with my family before having to do the ridiculous amount of homework I was assigned and I'd STILL get to bed late. Anytime I might have had to unwind by myself is pretty much gone.

    Overall that seems counterproductive. Year-round schools, however, using a quarter system (9-10 week segments) instead of a semester system (4 month segments) would work much better and still give students plenty of time off while keeping any knowledge learned current.

    However, increasing the number of school hours in a day might work if schools taught in a more holistic manner and focused less on the importance of standarized tests and more on the importance of actually learning the material (as opposed to mostly memorizing).
    "I took the one less traveled by,
    And that has made all the difference."

    Robert Frost

  3. #43
    Was E.laur Laurie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by onemoretime View Post
    Umm, most museums cost at least $10 a pop to visit in a major city. Never mind that there's no time to do it because parents are working 60+ hours a week to get by. That $150 on a used console is a lot more reasonable in that context, considering how much of a workout it'll get.
    Bull crap. People don't have to suck at parenting because they don't have money. Why increase the time all children spend in school if it IS working. So the parents who engage with their children over the summer lose because some parents can't? You really don't need to bring out the trump card of "poor families" to try to push through agendas. How often do you use that reasoning to explain why something should happen? I'm imagining pretty often. Let's go with logic and discussion.

    I was just telling my daughter that everyone can learn anything. Some people will take longer to understand something and may need deeper teaching to learn it, but everyone (within normal intelligence ranges) can learn anything. There is no reason that people should be lagging. Screw this American "I don't like math" belief. It's crippling us.

    On that note, my second daughter is behind in math, she has had trouble grasping it. She has had some helpful school intervention but we have needed to provide more. It should not be acceptable that some kids don't do well in a school setting. I don't think it just needs more time thrown at it. We've been told we are expecting too much from her because we both did well in math and we've been told that she does better than some of the kids who need help. How are those reasons even remotely acceptable? The school system has flaws but it's not the time spent in school.

    Heck, on a board like this with the different learning styles so pronounced it should be obvious. I have four girls and I can see the difference between the first and the second. The first is the "model" student and the second has trouble even bringing home her assignment list. Yesterday we got "Mom, I can't do my reading homework because I brought home the wrong packet." More time in school will not help her do better with that.

  4. #44
    THREADKILLER Prototype's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JAVO View Post
    Yes, and I fixed your post with the new spelling.
    Thanks, looks much better now!
    ... They say that knowledge is free, and to truly acquire wisdom always comes with a price... Well then,... That will be $10, please!

  5. #45
    Don't Judge Me! Haphazard's Avatar
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    You know, there are a lot of kids at my school who stay there from 8-5, sometimes later. They're the people who do sports and cheerleading. If the school day was any longer, everyone would drop sports. Ohai obesity!

    Now, I can see how this would make sense for little kids, like elementary school. Elementary school is already like daycare anyway. But older kids? They can't even get their homework done as it is. If you're 'involved,' that's even more time tacked onto your school day, pretty much, because everyone's doing it for colleges. The only way I could imagine any more time working was if it was completely elective time, instead of instructional, so that kids who actually did stuff could leave to do that, and so kids could actually interact with each other instead of having to be note-taking bubble-filling robots for two more hours. Essentially, extend the clubs that are already there from an hour to two, and maybe give credit for them.

    A lot of the reasoning is that kids need more supervision, but if highschoolers are going to colleges where there's very little, is it going to do any good to baby them?
    -Carefully taking sips from the Fire Hose of Knowledge

  6. #46
    Don't Judge Me! Haphazard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kyrielle View Post
    However, increasing the number of school hours in a day might work if schools taught in a more holistic manner and focused less on the importance of standarized tests and more on the importance of actually learning the material (as opposed to mostly memorizing).
    This is... hmm...

    I've heard from some of my foreign language teachers that American schools actually spend more time trying to develop holistic and critical thinking than schools in Europe, at least (I'm not sure about Asia). Is this perhaps the reason why we're doing so poorly on standardized tests?
    -Carefully taking sips from the Fire Hose of Knowledge

  7. #47
    cast shadows metaphours's Avatar
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    Obama does have a point. And this is coming from a 15 year-old.

    Like Chris Rock once said, "America is a nation of B and C students."

    Not sure I agree with extending the year though. Maybe just making the schoolday a bit longer.

  8. #48
    Dreaming the life onemoretime's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elaur View Post
    Bull crap. People don't have to suck at parenting because they don't have money. Why increase the time all children spend in school if it IS working. So the parents who engage with their children over the summer lose because some parents can't? You really don't need to bring out the trump card of "poor families" to try to push through agendas. How often do you use that reasoning to explain why something should happen? I'm imagining pretty often. Let's go with logic and discussion.
    I'm not pulling out a trump card. This is the reality of the situation - we lose an incredible amount of potential because of socioeconomic factors. Many of these factors can be mitigated through policy decisions. These people don't "suck at parenting"; they just don't have time to parent, because they're too busy making sure their kids don't starve. That's not emotional appeal. It's pure logic.

    It's also a huge noticeable difference between the US and the rest of the world. Exams show that for the first four years of school, end-of-year retention is pretty much equal across all countries, and much less for the US at the beginning of the year. After fifth grade, the catch-up lag starts to severely drag down American students.

    Parents who engage with their kids over the summer don't lose. They just won't have a big block of 12 weeks, by the end of which most parents and kids wish they were back in school (to see their friends and all). 180 days in school is just fine by my standard - I just want the vacation days spread out with an eye toward enhancing retention through preventing burnout, rather than negatively impacting it due to lack of reinforcement.

    I was just telling my daughter that everyone can learn anything. Some people will take longer to understand something and may need deeper teaching to learn it, but everyone (within normal intelligence ranges) can learn anything. There is no reason that people should be lagging. Screw this American "I don't like math" belief. It's crippling us.
    I agree with this.

    On that note, my second daughter is behind in math, she has had trouble grasping it. She has had some helpful school intervention but we have needed to provide more. It should not be acceptable that some kids don't do well in a school setting. I don't think it just needs more time thrown at it. We've been told we are expecting too much from her because we both did well in math and we've been told that she does better than some of the kids who need help. How are those reasons even remotely acceptable? The school system has flaws but it's not the time spent in school.
    These are all policy decisions you're speaking of. There are certain things we don't do in American education, such as tracking, because of deep-seated cultural values. Tracking is inherently anti-democratic, because it's pretty much saying that group A is smarter than group B, and always will be. Even if there were proof that it greatly enhanced educational achievement, it would never be implemented in the US to the extent it is in other countries for precisely this reason.

    As far as math goes - even though NT's are supposed to be math whizes, it wasn't something that came easily to me during public school. However, this was less a function of my not understanding the concepts as it was the style it was being taught: a purely procedural input-output process. Geometry, I remember, was the first major roadblock - they figured that having us memorize axioms and then do problems according to those axioms would be best. Learning everything step-by-step wasn't going to work when I didn't understand the big picture behind it. I would have done better if there was more of a sense of what we were doing and how we were trying to manipulate the world through these processes. For example, rather than tell me that a circle is all points a given distance from another point, get me to describe what a circle is, which would eventually get to that definition. Now that I've learned some of those concepts, the whole business is a lot easier.

    What's the point of that anecdote? Given the one-size-fits-all approach that we're stuck with in education (due to policy and cultural norms), teaching methods are by their nature going to appeal to the majority; consequently, those who have different learning styles are going to have a little more difficulty reconciling these things. This is why parental involvement is so important.

    Without that involvement, it's incredibly difficult to keep kids focused, but more importantly, it'll be harder for the kid to find out how to learn the material in a way that suits her learning style. However, this requires time and resources. Even if the educational system we have is far short of perfect, it's much better than many being left to their own devices for 12 weeks, getting their education in ways that we as a society would rather not see.

    Let me put it this way - in the United States, it's likely that people in low-income areas know the metric system and its conversions much better than people in higher income areas.

    Heck, on a board like this with the different learning styles so pronounced it should be obvious. I have four girls and I can see the difference between the first and the second. The first is the "model" student and the second has trouble even bringing home her assignment list. Yesterday we got "Mom, I can't do my reading homework because I brought home the wrong packet." More time in school will not help her do better with that.
    I empathize with her - I'm much the same way. However, that's not an issue that can be solved through policy decisions. Most problems in education can't be solved through policy. Lack of retention due to summer vacation can.

  9. #49
    Striving for balance Little Linguist's Avatar
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    As long as you reorganize the hours and don't add hours, no problem. I have actually always advocated for more breaks in between that are shorter and sacrificing part of the summer holidays to make up for it.

    You guys are making it sound like the government wants to swoop up your kids 24/7. That's not the case. We're talking about a restructuring of the school year so that you don't have a majority of your time off all in one bunch.

    Think about it like this. If you have six weeks off, like in Germany, you can either choose to have one week off in the beginning, one in the end, and FOUR in the middle, or you can have two weeks off three times a year, or one week off six times a year, or you can have two weeks off twice a year and spread out the other time throughout the year. Or you can bite off the whole chunk at once and be frazzled the rest of the year.

    The point is: If you structure it differently, you're not having 'more' or 'less,' you're just being more efficient about it.

    However, I am against adding time to school days unless something constructive is coming out of it. Unfortunately, that is often not the case. Restructuring holidays is one thing - adding three hours to the school day is something else....
    If you are interested in language, words, linguistics, or foreign languages, check out my blog and read, post, and/or share.

  10. #50
    Senior Member Lateralus's Avatar
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    I wouldn't care if summer vacation was eliminated. It was originally implemented because children were needed to help with farm work over the summer. We don't have that issue any more. However, our society has grown around the concept of summer vacations. Simply removing it would have some temporary negative consequences, but we'd get over it.
    "We grow up thinking that beliefs are something to be proud of, but they're really nothing but opinions one refuses to reconsider. Beliefs are easy. The stronger your beliefs are, the less open you are to growth and wisdom, because "strength of belief" is only the intensity with which you resist questioning yourself. As soon as you are proud of a belief, as soon as you think it adds something to who you are, then you've made it a part of your ego."

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