School daze, golden rule days.
Every year across the country, we hear of school boards' desires to build new schools due to the growing number of students and the need for smaller class sizes.
A new school building for an average city can be upwards of $10,000,000 US. The construction costs, land acquisition, and interest accrual all add their bits to the initial price tag. The locality and state are in charge of the upkeep of the school past the construction with some grants from the federal ‘government’.
After the new school building has been constructed, the old one tends to sink into disrepair, become ‘storage’ or occasionally it is sold to the public. Sometimes the school district will use part of it for administrative tasks. Often these buildings were well-kept and needed only occasional repairs when they were used. Rarely have I witnessed a school district merely making an addition to an existing building unless it was an athletic field or an ‘alternative education’ building (which I do not plan to address in this diatribe).
Meanwhile, parents struggle to meet the demands of life in this system as we know it. I am amazed at how many parents are actually unable (not unwilling) to take an active interest in their children’s education. I am sure that each of us has said or heard someone say, “They just don’t care about their kids!” It has become a ‘belief’ among the daywalking parents. So much so that they choose to maintain that belief disregarding any of the other factors involved in each instance.
Currently in middle america, the school year begins in late summer and ends in late spring. The school day begins somewhere between 7:00am and 8:00am and ends between 2:00pm and 3:00pm. Elementary children (grades K-5) are under the guidance of one regular teacher while secondary children (grades 6-12) are moved from class to class in order to target specific subjects.
Now before I get lynched for making this sound like EVERY situation is just the way I described, I concede that this is JUST THE RULE using my observations and that THERE ARE EXCEPTIONS to it.
My proposal to solve both issues, parental involvement and budget efficiency, is relatively simple. However, many might consider it to be (for want of a better term) invasive.
The utility costs for the months of January, February, July, and August are typically the highest. The two coldest months and the two hottest months use tremendous amounts of energy to keep the environment comfortable for our children. No one likes to do class work or homework when they are shivering or sweating.
I have not encountered a reasoned argument for continuing to maintain this present schedule. Is wasting money and energy worth preserving the ‘preferences’ of those charged with educating our children?
It seems imperative that we discontinue this practice soon before we reach a level of expense unable to be funded effectively due to rampant inflation in other public services.
My proposed school year calendar:
Four months out? Wow. Actually, if we tally the spring breaks, fall breaks, winter breaks, summer vacation, and holidays then we can see that our children are out nearly that much time in the present system. Those days are merely in the wrong positions.
In order to maintain and possibly increase the number of days in the school year, the school week will need to be moved to six days. Yes, I know this seems preposterous, but wait. It gets worse. Holidays such as Easter, Labor day, Memorial Day, Thanksgiving and that pesky christmas will need to be ‘school in’ days as well. To some, it would be a small price to pay for four months of vacation from school per year. To others, it will be crippling because of their ideological attachment to the aforementioned days. However, I would question the integrity and motive of anyone who places their ideology ahead of their children’s education. I am sure that compromises can be made to achieve the greater good by finding ‘wiggle-room’ in the schedule by individual communities’ leaderships.
Other reasons for the omission of January and February from the school year include ‘snow days’, traffic safety, and outdoor activity. ‘Snow days’ or inclement weather absences have been responsible for at least 5 days out of school this past two months in my locality. This places a burden upon those parents who plan their schedules ahead of time and do not have jobs that maintain ‘school day’ schedules. For me, it offered time with my children that I don’t normally get due to my schedule, which only allows me approximately two hours per day Monday through Thursday. Traffic safety concerns and outdoor activity limitations during the months mentioned seems self-explanatory. I have no statistics to validate them at this time.
Leading me to my next alteration in our educational paradigm. To accommodate increased student rolls and families with parents who work night hours, the school day needs to be divided as such:
For the objections of those who say that running a school for that many hours in a day would negate the proposed utility savings, I call your attention to two primary facts: The schedule is based around the temperate months and the lights are on in the school building during the daytime now and half of them are on at nighttime as well particularly during school functions after hours. Also, one should remember that we are saving the price tag of a new school building by using the present one efficiently. Those millions of dollars for a new building are to be counted as savings as well.The meme of ‘parental involvement’ as mentioned previously is now solved because parents now have a choice as to which schedule best accommodates their family time and work schedule.
As one additional feature for consideration, the class schedules of all children K-12 should be focused on giving equal time to all subjects within the curriculum of each school system. This involves having the elementary children follow the secondary school’s schedule.
Doubling the school day and allocating specific subjects to each teacher should not double the number of teachers as compared to building a new school with more classrooms for more teachers would. Currently in the school that my children attend, each teacher has about 20 children in their respective classes. Under my proposed schedule, each teacher could focus on one topic with 20 children at a time in each grade if need be. 12 teachers teaching their respective subjects to 240 children is an even trade except for the primary difference that they are responsible for teaching ONE subject by grade instead of presently trying to cover all subjects in a specific grade.
This has been on my mind since the two oldest started 1st grade. I’m open to comments, praise, criticism, or just ‘fuck you this sucks, darth”