The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

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.

At least one parent isn't buying:

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?

  1. Nine weeks.
  2. Nine days.
  3. Nine hours.
  4. Nine minutes.
  5. Nine seconds.

Hand in your papers to the front of the room and exit normally.

Posted at 11:35 AM to Dyssynergy

"Jay Mathews has just been hired as a substitute teacher in Yourtown, USA."


Ahem. Uh, I'd give him the nine-second answer, but being the bright-eyed, rose-colored-glasses, "Yay-I'm-a-teacher-I'm-going-to-change-the-world" sort of guy that he is, I'll give him the full nine hours he so highly touts.

On the commentary of the parent who isn't buying it, you WILL notice that it isn't being bought for the sole purpose that the child needs more FREEDOMS don'tchaknow. The child needs to PLAY and EXPLORE and HAVE FUN and have the world revolve THEM. I have news for her: IT'S ALREADY THAT WAY IN THE CLASSROOM. Three more hours of play, fun, and exploration ain't gonna kill him. The "fluff and filler" she claims is part of the kid's school day is that way because PARENTS, for the most part, have had a huge say in the way the curriculum has gone to hell faster than a Yankee's post-season dream. She sounds just like one of those parents.

Posted by: Vickie at 12:06 PM on 18 August 2005

I thought you might like this Toren Smith comment to the original post:

9 hours of time-wasting crap is NOT better than 6 hours of time-wasting crap. Dumping all the PC rubbish and getting back to teaching actual useful knowledge is the solution, not just more of an already failed system. It is quite possible to teach a very comprehensive curriculum in 6 hours a day as long as you don't waste time teaching "Wisdom of the Rain Forest Peoples" and "Wymyn's Herstory" for half the year.

Posted by: CGHill at 7:15 PM on 18 August 2005