I'm breaking my own rule here and am going to discuss politics on my usually fun-lovin' blog. But today when I saw the headline that President Obama is calling for longer school days and a longer school year, I just couldn't hold my tongue (or, more accurately, my fingers!).
I think this is a terrible idea for at least five reasons:
1. The parents and students who are engaged in school and who are driven to do their best, will continue doing so. But extending the school day or the school year won't make parents who consider school to be free (or, in the case of private education, paid) babysitting won't be any more apt to encourage their children to learn.
2. More time at school will just cause further erosion of the family. As it is, I only see my children for about an hour in the morning and anywhere from two to six hours in the evening, depending on which day it is (I only work until 2:oopm two days a week). Keeping children at school longer will keep them away from their families longer. I want to do more with my kids besides make sure they get their baths and fix their breakfasts.
3. Children are not little adults. Their brains should not be expected to be engaged in formal instruction for more than six or so hours a day. And there are plenty of people who will argue that even that is too long.
4. Isn't there an obesity epidemic in this country? Aren't gym classes being cut from the schedule in many school districts? What do you think is going to happen when we add another 2 hours of sitting each day? Paging Bob and Jillian...
5. It seems to me that we, as a nation, are losing the ability to relax. I know I'm guilty of being at work all day, coming home and at some point in the evening, getting back on my computer to do more work. We owe it to our kids to teach them that life is about more than work. They need time to explore cultural activities like dance and music, to learn about sportsmanship and hard work on the soccer fields and basketball courts, and to understand the joy that comes from digging for worms or swinging high enough it seems their toes will disappear into the clouds.
I'm sure there are plenty of other reasons why this "more school" idea from the POTUS is a bad idea. But these are the ones that come to my mind first. What do you think? Is President Obama on to something or does he need to be schooled in what America's kids really need?