Longer School Days, The Solution?

First President Obama states that children in the U.S. need longer school days.

Then Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, who is in Philadelphia visiting schools with Newt Gingrich and Al Sharpton, says (per the Philadelphia Inquirer): “Our school calendar’s based on a 19th century agrarian economy. I’m sure there weren’t too many kids in Philadelphia working in their parents’ fields this summer.”

The above statement by Duncan is true; school in America is based on an agrarian calendar. Summer was a time for children to assist their family in the fields, harvesting, and the like.

Don’t get me wrong; I do not particularly have an issue with children attending school longer.

And I do know there are researchers that say adding even short amounts to of time to a curriculum, such as math, raises test scores.

What I take exception to is that the root of America’s educational crisis is NOT a short school day.

Witness, we have been on the agrarian calendar for education since schools were formed.

The U.S., under this system and schedule, did lead the world in education for decades and decades.

Thus, changing the school day schedule or the number of days in school is not the answer. It may help some, but it is not THE answer.

What is?

Basics.

Pure and simple, the basics of education.

The Three R’s: reading and ‘riting and ‘rithmetic.

Youth today have not learned their basics. The proof, as they say, is in the pudding.

National test scores, as collected and averaged by the National Center for Education Statistics, show slight, only slight, increases in reading and mathematic scores in all grade levels of students tested the last four decades.

The vast majority of students cannot perform a multiplication table.

Whole word reading displaced phonics as the way to teach students to read, despite the fact the National Reading Panel (which reviewed over 100,000 studies on reading) states unequivocally that the use of phonics is the best way to accomplish this task.

Student comprehension is low, as dictionaries, which used to be in classrooms in mass quantities, have all but disappeared from the educational scene.

Main Street USA, the problem is NOT the number of hours a child spends in school.

The problem IS what and how our children are being taught while they attend.

And this problem has been staring us in the face for decades.

Our youth need to be taught the basics.

Teaching those basics is the best way to halt student dropout, of which there are 3,000 students who leave school PER DAY.

“In Philadelphia, for instance, about half of all students cannot read or do math on grade level. The dropout rate hovers around 50 percent as well,” states the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Keep in mind that the National Institute of Justice reported that 85% of all juvenile offenders lack basic reading and math skills.

Food for thought.

Over For Now,

Main Street One