Sunday, September 27, 2009

No More Summer, No More Breaks, No More Fun, Obama States

Yet again, Netscape has provided me with some current news.

After reading the article Obama Seeks to Curtail Summer Vacation, I have to say my level of outrage and disgust with President Obama and our current government officials has reached a new peak. I know I’ve ranted about this before, around the start of the year, but I feel compelled to do so again.

Let me respond directly to this article. First off, I don’t care what people in other countries are doing. Yes we can learn something from others, but we don’t, as Americans, have to do everything the way everyone else does it. If people in other countries want to give their children away to public education, then by all means let them. We don’t have to follow their example. You know, it used to be us leading the world. I guess maybe that time has passed.

A ten hour school day? Really, Mr. President? I mean, I know you have a long workday yourself, but ten hours, five or more days a week, almost year long is waaaaaaaay too much time to be dedicated to learning in school. After just eight hours my mind is tired and ready for a break. Kids usually, that I’ve been around, start losing focus and attention after about six hours. And what about what’s outside of school to learn? What about learning to play sports, or developing social skills, or spending time with family? What about high school kids who need that summer job, or part time job, to save up for a car, gas money, college tuition, etc.? What about all of that?

And what’s more, why won’t anyone in our government take a serious look at why education has weakened in this country? The reason isn’t that we aren’t spending enough time at school. People in this country used to spend far less time in school, and yet we were then considered the smartest, the brightest, and the most prosperous nation on earth. The reason is that we no longer teach to the basics. We have students who rarely even get a glimpse at the times table, or who ever do any math without the assistance of a calculator. We don’t teach reading to be fun, but we teach it to be a chore. We barely even cover the fundamentals of grammar. We teach all these theories that look good but don’t work that are presented by people who have never even been in the classroom. There is little authority given to teachers to be able to discipline their students. High school is being transformed into college, causing all the basics to be shoved down our kids throats so fast that they just barely have time to grasp what they’re taught. If they get behind at all, it’s just their tough luck. And I could go on and on.

It just burns me up that our government screwed up education in this country, caused us to get dumber as a nation, and rather than actually attempting to correct their mistakes made over the last few decades, they just want to add more time to the school year and rob our kids of their youth.

Frankly, Mr. Obama, you just lost any support from me you may have otherwise had. I took you to be a fairly intelligent person. But now I’ll simply presume you are just as arrogant and ignorant as every other politician and a puppet to those leaders from other countries. Let me just tell you, if you dislike America so much, why the hell are you leading us then? If every other nation is better than America, then get the hell out and go lead someplace else. We can manage without you. Goodbye and good luck making the rest of the world as dumb as you.

Sorry for the rant.

Let me just make clear on a few things, after having some time to reflect. I don't want to make it sound as though I think we can't learn from others. We can. I think it's a good thing to consider the accomplishments of others. And there are good ideas we can get from other countries. The problem I have is that I think there are better ways of improving education in this country without having our kids live at school, learning without a break. And I don't see why we should always have to strive to be number one at everything. It's a good goal, but not one worth killing ourselves for. If the Chinese and others want to stress themselves to death to become the smartest people on earth, then let them. We can still be a smart and prosperous people without necessarily having the highest test scores. And what's wrong with that? Why do we have to give up our way of life in order to be like everyone else, particularly when there are better options available?

Here's an idea. Why not give kids summer projects to do that are goal oriented toward their next year of school? This would allow kids time away from school, but still give them specific opportunities for learning. And I'm not talking about non-stop homework projects either; just something that students can spend some of their time focused on, preparing them for their next year of school.

On another note, I will conceed that more school time is probably in the best interest of some students. But I think this should be a choice. Right now, in a lot of places, summer school or summer programs are offered as a choice for students. Afterschool programs, likewise, are offered as a choice. And these programs can certainly help to improve a child's education. Having worked in an afterschool program myself I can verify this. My problem is not with these particular programs. It is the arrogance on some to suggest that these programs are needed by all students, when they are not. It is the desire that we should always be number one at all costs, even if that cost is to rob our children of time that they need (not just want, but need) away from school. That is where I have a problem and conflict with the opinions of our current leaders.

2 comments:

freelancer said...

I'm definitely glad you added the ending you did. I was about to attack! Hahaha.

School reform definitely needs to happen. The problems are numerous and something besides throwing more money at it needs to occur.

Poor kids are definitely the ones that need it most. Their summer vacation is not like the summer vacations we had. I don't know about yours, but mine was filled with reading and summer projects (at least in high school) or work (when I was older). Most kids in poverty don't have it and summer can be brutal. They fall behind!

The KIPP program is very interesting. There is actually one in my town and I've done some research into it. For many students these are great options.

While summer vacation may seem like a cherished right, I don't think getting rid of it would abolish "fun". It would not even be abolished, just shortened. Also, we can stubbornly refuse to not model our schools after more successful countries, but isn't that a bit counterproductive.

You are right that summer school should be a choice. However, we don't really have that luxury, especially in failing districts. I support (and even did in high school!) year round schooling.

The end.

Brandon said...

Freelancer,

Sorry I haven't responded sooner. I somehow looked over your reply until now. My bad.

Yeah, I agree that in some failing districts these are maybe some good measures to take. I alluded to that in parts of this post. I'm sorry to have come across so strongly against President Obama when I wrote this. I was in a bad mood and finding out about what he wanted to do just sort of sent me over the top that day.

My problem is that even though other countries have done things like what is being suggested in this country, and those things have worked well for them, doesn't gaurantee that what they did would work well in this country, and it doesn't mean that those are the only options available to us. There is a lot of improvement that could be made dealing primarily with content, for instance, but I don't see many voicing support for updating and changing our content areas in schools. And then college tuition just keeps getting higher each year as well. Why isn't our government doing more to combat that? Why couldn't they do more to help set up more community colleges, or even better, add college to the public education system and made it a taxpayer funded education? Frankly, I'd rather see the trillions that's gonna be spent on Obama's healthcare reform spent on accomplishing something like that. After all, the better your education, the better the job you're gonna get, and the more money you'll then have for healthcare anyway. I just don't think Obama has really looked at all of the options, or really thought through what he's talking about wanting to do.