18 August 2005
No child left to breathe
Jay Mathews, writing in The Washington Post, thinks it would be a really cool idea to stretch the school day out to nine hours or so.
My objection to a nine-hour school day is not just about money, resources or raising teacher's salaries so they can provide babysitting for three hours a day; it's about what we are doing to our children. We are forcing them to grow out of childhood too fast. It's all about work, work, work and how much learning and regiment you can squeeze into one child's brain in the course of a few hours a day. Kids need some freedom. They need to gather in front of their houses and play kickball with their friends. They need to ride their bikes and play hopscotch or just sit around with a few buddies playing video games or watching movies. Why force the rituals and time constraints of the adult world onto a ten year old? Do you think this will prepare them for "real" life or toughen them up? No, it will only make them weary and humorless. Nine-hour school days, plus time to do homework, projects and study leaves them no time to be children. They'll just be mini-adults. That's not fair.
But Mathews thinks the teachers will go for this:
One topic that comes up repeatedly in education articles and debates is the need for higher salaries and more job satisfaction to lure and keep the best teachers. Creating a longer school day can solve both of those problems. More hours can mean more money for the teacher, and more achievement for that teacher's students, which is just about all a good teacher needs to be happy.
Quiz time, boys and girls. Jay Mathews has just been hired as a substitute teacher in Yourtown, USA. How long before he runs screaming from the room, never to return?
Hand in your papers to the front of the room and exit normally.Posted at 11:35 AM to Dyssynergy