Saturday, October 17, 2009

I Say NO To More School! - Parent Perspective

Recently, President Obama took up the cause of extending the school year and the school day. A recent AP report said:

"Obama says American kids spend too little time in school, putting them at a disadvantage with other students around the globe.

"Now, I know longer school days and school years are not wildly popular ideas," the president said earlier this year. "Not with Malia and Sasha, not in my family, and probably not in yours. But the challenges of a new century demand more time in the classroom."

The president, who has a sixth-grader and a third-grader, wants schools to add time to classes, to stay open late and to let kids in on weekends so they have a safe place to go."


I am a parent of two children, ages 11 and 8. I am also a public school teacher. I have many academic thoughts on this, but in this post today I want to speak as a parent.

I do not want my children spending ONE more second in school. Seven hours a day for 180 days is more than enough.

My children are involved in many things outside of the classroom that I deem just as important as that which is occurring within the classroom. Martial arts, theater, dance, music, and time with family and friends is sacrosanct. I will not offer any of it in trade for more time in the classroom.

I firmly believe that most of our kids are over saturated with peer socialization; much of which happens at school. Our children simply do not have enough time with adult mentorship; and as important as I think classroom teachers are, they are not mentoring 30 children. The students are mentoring each other; and it is most often a case of the blind leading the blind.

One of the greatest indicators of future stability for a child is that they have 3 or more non-custodial adults who are investing into their lives. My children have many adults who are serving as mentors, and for this I am eternally grateful. More classroom hours would undercut the precious time they have with their scout leaders, theater directors, music instructors,
senseis, dance teachers, and family friends. I am not willing to sacrifice this time.

I also do not want to cut into the time that my wife and I get with our son and daughter. Children in America already spend a fraction of the time with their parents that children did a generation ago. Extending school hours would exacerbate an already troubling trend.

When my children were home-schooled, they received more education in half the time. Extending the quantity of time in school is not the solution that I want to pursue.


Steve H. said...


I'm studying for my teaching degree as you know and, well, the less our kids are exposed to modern educational theory, the better all of our families will be.

Why the heck do schools need to be open on weekends?

I noticed to it took an educational issue for you to take a shot at Obama. Good shootin' Tex!

Krista said...

Hoorah Andy. Right on.

Andrew said...

Steve- Yeah, I don't mind disagreeing with Obama, but as you commented on in your blog recently, many folks wait for Obama to make a choice... then declare it wrong. :)

Bob said...

Just catching up on some of my blog reading and wow, I could not agree with you more! I really appreciate your perspective from being a parent AND a teacher. We have been fighting "year-round school" in my local school district for years, so far with success. Might print off your blog post for the next battle! Thanks for your thoughful, informed statements here.

Related Posts with Thumbnails