Where Did You Learn The Important Lessons of LIfe?

We are currently having a controversy in Iowa  over how long the school year should be and when the school year should start.   I honestly don’t understand what the problem is. The length of the school year is set by state law. Why do school systems need to move the  start back into August further and further every year. The length of the school year does not change based on the start date. no matter when you start it. Is the start date important  so that all the football teams will have an even start to their season? Why is there no discussion of moving the ending date back into June. Which educators are advocating starting in August and why? Is it a thinly disguised plot to work our way into year round school by starting earlier and eventually extending the ending date as well to help out working parents who don’t want to pay daycare or see their own children during the summer. Do educators and administrators truly believe that a student actually learned anything if they forget it over the length of a summer. I personally remember a lot of things I learned in elementary school and I’m older than dirt. Or is it as I believe a concern that the students will not remember the answers to test questions over the summer, real learning be damned. Who will benefit from a longer school year? Those who can and will learn or those who can’t or won’t learn. And the finals before Christmas argument(to start earlier so the semester break is before Xmas vacation)  drives me nuts for the same reason that forgetting over the summer does. If they forget it over Xmas break ( I hope you are offended by my political incorrectness) then they didn’t learn it in the first place and teachers if you are concerned that your final needs to be given before Christmas, to be passed, perhaps you ought to be looking at the quality of your questions or teaching. Somewhere somehow we decided that all learning takes place in classrooms. I have learned more about our country and life from vacations, the state fair and summer adventures at home than was ever taught to me in school. Time does not equal learning, discipline, experience and motivation equal learning, three items that are often in short supply in our schools today. Get off the time issue, give a kids a chance to be kids, give our parents a chance to show our kids what life is all about, give kids back their summer and don’t start in on me about Korea or or Finland as their systems are so different and exclusionary that comparisons either to time spent learning or success are meaningless and while you are at it compare the number of Nobel prizes won in these various countries often held up as example as opposed to the U.S. . School used to be a place to love learning not hate it but unfortunately in the U.S. it is becoming the latter at the expense of the former and we will all suffer the consequences of this lack of awareness in our data and test driven society. Do we wish to create thinking people with true skills or automatons who can define words, calculate formulas and answer test drivel. If we continue down the primrose path we are currently on it will at the end we will find a basket full of failed expectations and destroyed dreams. Some of you reading this are my students from 40 years ago. We had fun, we learned, and be became real people and some of you may remember that I never assigned homework over vacations or when you missed school for a trip because I knew then as I know now that real learning takes place in the real world with help from the classroom not the other way around.


About safrisri

I was a school teacher until retirement. I have taught at all educational levels from pre-school to college. My college degree is general science which I arrived at after 5 years and 5 different majors. A degree as it turns out, almost as valuable and in demand as one in Neo-Bulgarian Mythology. I have been around education for around 40 years and can remember when teaching was a pleasant, happy and creative job and our schools were the same. Now I'm the guy sitting on the porch with an opinion on everything.
This entry was posted in education, Education Reform, Political Correctness, Society, The Future, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

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