Here is the second paper I wrote for my government class. Hope you enjoy it and please feel free to leave me some comments!
Link for the article… www.msnbc.msn.com/id/33054056/ns/us_news-education/page/2
I found an interesting topic during my daily review of the news pages on MSNBC today. President Obama is proposing a longer school day for our nation's children. The article is titled "More School? Obama could trim summer break, President, education chief want to lengthen days, keep schools open later". The article was published by The Associated Press on Monday September 28, 2009. The reasons the President cites for his proposal are; kids spend too little time in school which puts them at a disadvantage with other students around the world he also states that schools that are open later provide a safe haven for kids. Arne Duncan, the Education secretary, says that our current school schedule is based on an agrarian economy and we don't have very many farming students these days.
Some statistics mentioned in the article explain that kids in other countries spend more days in school than we do (US 180 days, Taiwan, Japan, and Hong Kong 190-201 days) but not more hours (US 1,146, Asian nations 903-1,050). However kids in those countries consistently beat us in math and science scores. The article goes on to cite studies of charter schools in the US that make a strong case for longer school days and year round school. These kids go to school three hours longer than a typical student. The fact is that kids attending charter schools exceed the school district average on state tests.
The article mentions that underprivileged kids would have a better academic experience if they were in school during the summer rather than at home where they are seldom encouraged to read or learn. Also mentioned in the article, is the cost of these programs, which is of course substantial but says that federal stimulus dollars will pay for much of it.
As I was reading this article I could not help but remember my own childhood and school days. I went to school usually on the bus from eight am until three pm and had time to read or study before dinner and bedtime. I also thought about my summers and the family vacations we took that I would never trade for extra smarts as the memories are priceless. I grew up in a typical suburban, white, two parent family where I was encouraged to read often and was always a member of the summer reading program; however I did very poorly in math. I can't help but think about my math troubles as I watch my niece and nephews navigate through their grade school educations. I wonder if I had received the same opportunities and help that they enjoy, would my life and my grades turned out differently. As an adult I have lived in a place where year round school is mandatory and then moved here where kids still get their summer vacations. I am not a parent so it would be hard for me to say which is better for little children; however, I do believe that education is of the utmost importance and should be cherished. Anything that helps this nation become more educated I am all for, even if it means shorter summer vacations. I know it to be true that educated people do better in life; they raise better human beings, hate less, appreciate more, smile more often and tolerate better. Couldn't we all use more of this?