First he gave a speech indoctrinating America's students into his radical agenda of studying hard so they could, you know, get j-o-b-s some day and now he's going absolutely revolutionary on their young butts by proposing they spend more time in school. Good gracious, what's next, an expectation of literacy?
I predict a joining of forces of the following lobbyists in DC:
- Beach communities
- Amusement parks
- Baseball (major and minor leagues)
Here's an interesting nugget from the story:
While it is true that kids in many other countries have more school days, it's not true they all spend more time in school.
Kids in the U.S. spend more hours in school (1,146 instructional hours per year) than do kids in the Asian countries that persistently outscore the U.S. on math and science tests — Singapore (903), Taiwan (1,050), Japan (1,005) and Hong Kong (1,013). That is despite the fact that Taiwan, Japan and Hong Kong have longer school years (190 to 201 days) than does the U.S. (180 days).
Based on the conversations I hear between what I'd consider very average American teenagers I'd say that students in Singapore, Japan and Hong Kong probably also outscore American kids on English tests.
So how is it that our kids spend more time at school than their Asian counterparts, yet do not achieve the same level of proficiency? It would be easy to point the finger at the schools, teachers, curriculum, parents or the kids themselves, but the reality is it's probably a combination of factors. Some of it is crappy teaching, some of it is crappy parenting and Lord knows there are plenty of lame classes being offered.
My gut tells me that while President Obama's direction is positive, we'd probably be better served by looking at how the hours are spent before we look at adding more of them. There has to be a reason that our kids are being outperformed even though they're spending more time in school. We have to question everything: teachers, curriculum, class size, daily schedule and physical resources (books, lab equipment, etc.). Think about it logically: if we are doing something wrong and we add more time to do it without correcting our process then all we're going to accomplish is doing it wrong more often. How's that going to help?