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Re: New York State Ed Cracks

I have several comments about this some dervied from research, some
just reflections

given the current structure of schools, and the ridiculous emphasis on
tests, I'm not sure that any adjustment to the schedule of the school
year wil make much of a difference

I note that the resistance to starting school before Labor Day is that
things like beach resorts and amusement parks object to loosing their
low-wage work force.

I also note that the long summer vacation can traditionally be traced to
two sources. First, students were needed during the summer to work on
the farms. Second, for large chunks of the country before air
conditioning, the schools were impossible places to learn.

Now, having gone through all that garbage, let me refer to the reserach,
which is the real concern about loss of learning over the extended
summer break. This is especially true for students from lower SES, and
the evidence on this seems fairly strong.

I am strongly of the opinion that - assuming that we could restructure
schools so that what occurs during the time school is in session is far
more meaningful than much of what occurs now, especially the preparation
for tests - a structure of the year that is broken into periods of
perhaps 6 weeks on, two weeks off, or iff the 6 weeks is too short, 9
weeks on, 3 weeks off, would make far more sense than what we have now.
Okay, I've got 4 weeks to account for - and I;ve only got 36 weeks
ialthough that would equal 180 days, minus the holidays). I'm too tired
to explore all the alternaitives, but youg et the picture. After about
3 weeks, I think we begin to see the loss of retention of learning. And
most people really don't know what to do we breaks of longer than 3
weeks, short of dumping the kids into a summer camp (for 8 of the 9-10
weeks of summer?).

There are schools following this so-called "year-round" pattern. My
guess is that it will not spark any massive trends, even though the
breaks could be used for extended work-study as well as just play.

As to play - I thinkmit is an improtant part of learning, but we are
rapidly losing places for children to play. I wil be 56 in May - during
my youht, when our back street was closed at one end so that we did not
have through traffic, we used to regularly play games in the street.
Now some communities that make it illegal for children to play in the
streets. We could also find fields on which we could play pick-games,
organzied by the kids without adult supervision. Now in may communities
allpalying fileds are reserved for organized leagues, which means kids
never learn how to organize themselves.

I guess I'm just grumpy tonight. Anmyhow, I wanted to put my few cents
worth into this topic.

Goodnight all!!!

Ken B

Juanita Doyon wrote:

> In a message dated 2/23/02 8:01:07 AM Pacific Standard Time,
> jpbottini@ADELPHIA.NET writes:
>> Summers are necessary for kids to be kids and experience growth.
>> But, most
>> kids are bored after 6 weeks.
> Uh, where's your data on that one Joe? When I'm superintendent, one
> goal I have is to fix what I consider to be the broken school
> calendar. I think we need to get back to a first week of June exit
> and a day after Labor Day start. (this in the northern states who fall
> into this pattern. Texas and OK get out in May and start in August I
> believe. Not sure of other warmer states.
> The problem I see is the lack of consistency during the school year.
> We need variety-- I disagree with you on the hat day on Friday thing--
> but we also need consistency, if only to provide teachers the
> opportunity to plan their teaching in reasonable blocks of time. We
> all need days of the week to mean different things. Keeps life
> interesting. Our kids learn to have good clean fun with their friends
> when schools allow play. I'm not talking about taking away recess
> time either. Kids need down time during the school day too. What if
> teachers had a near 3 month summer again too? Schools can't continue
> to take over parenting and expect parents to fulfill their parenting
> responsibility.
> The societal problems that are caused by the lack of supervision in
> some families cannot be solved by the schools alone. And it cannot be
> assumed that all parents want the schools to take on more
> responsibility over their kids.
> It's time for society in general to recognize the needs of our
> children and value them enough to see to those needs. Teachers are
> only human. There is a teacher shortage now. Increasing time in
> school only stretches the human resources to the breaking point. Very
> scary!
> It all boils down to respect though. Respect for parents, kids, and
> teachers. Respect for the limits of the ability of schools to solve
> all the troubles of the world. We need to empower parents to spend
> time with their kids. There's no reason why both parents should have
> to work to scrape together a living. Life is long! Percentage wise,
> child rearing years are short-- even when we have more than our 2.6
> children and overpopulate the world, like Margaret and me. Single
> parents are in a different situation. We need to improve the
> environments of many children, but we do that by respecting the parent
> and empowering them as caregiver, not by taking over their job.
> okay, I'll quit ranting on.....
> If the school year were lengthened, it would be in the best interest
> of children to alter the structure of the classroom, so that we offer
> children a variety of learning situations. Classroom instruction
> ain't gonna hack it, and I'm not sure anyone is ready to put a price
> tag on offering 49 million children authentic learning environments
> for summer instruction-- but maybe I'm wrong; maybe we could link it
> to national parks.
> Juanita