Thursday, October 18, 2007

My stance on year-long schools

My dad forwarded me a nice article about year-long schools in the Startribune. That is, schools that take four to six week breaks between quarters, instead of a long twelve-week break during the summer. My wonderful sister-in-law was quoted, which I found really neat!

From what I remember my elders telling me, the only reason we have a twelve-week break during the summer is so that the kids can help their parents on the farm. Not germane anymore as most of our parents don’t work on the farm. And those of us who did grow up on farms, our labor has been replaced with technology (i.e. combine).

Do we still need the twelve-week break for summer? The article states that kids who don't have the long summer break, spend less time relearning the following year. I believe that.

The article also tells about a young kid who can't play in baseball or soccer leagues. If that is true, that is a casualty of year-long schools.

So here is my stance. Because I believe extra curriculum activities, like sports, are so important to development, I'd like to see school districts adapt and allow students attending year-long school to participate in summer sports. If that means letting them out during the day to play or practice, so be it. There is learning taking place, and that's what we're all after.

As a whole, I feel year-long schools are a good thing and an idea we should continue to monitor and measure. And if the data show they are more effective, and kids are not denied things such as summer sports, then count me as an advocate for more year-long options.


David said...

I believe extra curriculum activities, like sports, are so important to development


Mac Noland said...

From my perspective, I feel I learned more about team building, leadership, interpersonal communication, competitiveness (good and bad), from playing sports or being in Cub Scouts, than I ever did in any educational institution.

David said...

That would have significantly strengthened your argument. In the original you just state "I believe extra curriculum activities, like sports, are so important to development" as fact. Which is fine, I personally don't disagree with that statement. However, your stating your opinion and thus trying to convince the reader that it’s the correct opinion. If your reader does not accept your statement as fact, your entire argument is at best suspect to them and at worst not convincing.

My 2 cents, worth what you paid.

Scooter said...

Do you feel that's a benefit of extra curricular activities, or a deficiency in education? I understand - I learned more about those things in sports, theater and Scouts than I did in school, but school didn't provide much of a challenge (at least in my era and community) as a way to develop those skills.

Mac Noland said...

Thanks for the feedback "David!" Very good point.

Scooter, that is a good question. I guess I see extra curriculum activates as an extension of education. All learning does not need to happen in the classroom. So do I see it as a deficiency in the U.S. education system? No, though they probably could do more to encourage young kids to see all opportunities as possible learning centers.