HT Editorial: Of course longer school days are better, who would argue?

kids in classroomI would.

The editorial today titled “Longer school day opens opportunities” basically just repeats the story written by Bethany Nolan on Thursday this week called “Longer days to fill needs at MCCSC”.  I would link to this, but it’s behind a pay wall so why bother.  If you have a sub to the paper you know how to find it.

Here are the assumptions.

1. More is better!

2. More is delineated in this fashion for elementary ed: 30 minutes for reading instruction time (state mandate item); 10 minutes of arts, music, and/or PE.  (seriously, 10 minutes for three categories that many of us would deem essential to the healthy, happy development of every child); 20 minutes of “other” for “intervention/enrichment”.  (That sounds suspiciously remedial and “whatever”-ish).

3. More for middle and high school: additional class time; additional intervention/enrichment time; additional time with “advisiers”.

Um, sounds more like a juvie hall curriculum.

This from our new Superintendent (read CEO): DeMuth noted in a letter to MCCSC parents that added “high-quality supplemental instruction or interventions for students experiencing difficulty, coupled with frequent monitoring and evaluation measures, will provide the necessary opportunities to close student achievement gaps.”   (You can also find more on “interventionists/preventionists” in this piece from back in April when the admin and the school board was ramrodding this through with little public discussion.)

So which of these time periods will be used for drilling for the standards exams?

Anyway, the HT editorial seems to simply think more time is better and one assumes the HT must then also think that the education on offer is the kind we want more of.  Yet, what is it exactly that the MCCSC offers by way of education?  Core Standards is the name of the game y’all!  Core, testable, Standards.  It’s all the rage, just like “no new taxes” and “freedom is choice” (school that is, not marriage or reproductive rights).

(Hey here’s another fun personal aside from my Praxis II test today: one of the questions–120 multiple choice–was based on a piece of writing that argued how difficult it was to teach ESL learners that learning a language was something they should do “for life” rather than just for the exam they would need to take to pass certain citizenship requirements.  Ah, irony…there were several questions about irony on the test, but I’ve forgotten them already.)

Also, it’s a bit inconsistent for the HT to praise this move (more school, but what kind?) but at the same time offer an editorial against the voucher law (that the Errant doesn’t fault) that ended on this note:

In addition, the law requires that the libraries of each participating school contain one copy of 15 certain enumerated documents, including not only the obvious ones, like the U.S. and state constitutions, but also U.S. Supreme Court decisions, The Mayflower Compact, and Chief Seattle’s 1852 letter responding to the U.S. government’s inquiry about purchasing tribal lands.

And to make sure there is no doubt about the agenda of these provisions, the law requires that teachers include in their high school history instruction “the role religious extremism played in the events of Sept. 11, 2001.”

In sum, here’s what our Legislature has delivered with the new school voucher law: a law that uses taxpayer funds for religious purposes, as long as it’s not the “wrong” religion; a law that guarantees eligible schools will be free of government regulation, as long as morality and the Mayflower Compact are included in instruction; and a law that is supposed to improve access, but allows private schools to continue to be, for the most part, autonomously selective about whom they admit.

Now, I know that I’m not talking about vouchers–those little bits of segregation and privateering on offer by the state–but these same “details” required by the voucher law must surely apply to all Indiana public schools, right?  I mean the state’s got to indoctrinate, man, and where else but school and church?  (See how this works now?)

Okay, briefly, the real issue with the change in the school day is that it is requiring the middle and high school kids to be at school at 7:40 a.m.  Yep, you read that right.  How many studies would you like me to link to wherein research shows that lack of sleep in teens is a major, if not the major, factor in developing health problems such as obesity and diabetes as well as inhibiting their brain development.  Here’s a place to start.

My gripe, besides the obvious, is that I like seeing my children.  I like a little bit of a slow morning.  I’m pretty sure that little bit of “unhurried” time we have in the morning to chat, eat breakfast together–heck, just say “how are you today?” and hug them without rushing them out the door is essential to their overall well-being; I know it is for mine.

 

 

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