Obama Proposes Longer, More School Days

American children are not spending enough time in school, therefore, putting them at a disadvantage compared to students in other countries. Because of this, the government may have to pack on school days in order to keep our country up to par.

According to the U.S. Board of Education, the average amount of school-days in a year is 180, while students in Thailand, Scotland and the Netherlands adhere to a 200-day schedule. Even adding another twenty days to the American schedule wouldn’t put the U.S. in the rankings with students in Isreal, South Korea and Japan, who are attending school a 243 days a year.

The reason for the lack of American schooling is based on history. When the American’s schooling schedule was created, the U.S. was made up of mostly farmers, who needed their children home to plow the fields, not spending extra time in school.

But according CNN, Obama thinks this schedule is outdated. “That calendar may have once made sense, but today, it puts us at a competitive disadvantage. Our children spend over a month less in school than children in South Korea. That is no way to prepare them for a 21st century economy.”

Obama has two proposed solutions to this problem, keeping students in school longer and shortening summer vacations, and keeping students in school longer each day.

Although keeping student’s in school longer may appear necessary, many students beg to differ.

“I think that whole idea is completely whack. We’ve been fine for forever with school being how it is, I don’t see why Obama wants to change stuff now. The whole thing is just stupid,” said Sarah Leitner, junior.

At a September press conference in Washington, Obama stated, “Now, I know longer school days and school years are not wildly popular ideas, not with Malia and Sasha, not in my family, and probably not in yours. But the challenges of a new century demand more time in the classroom.”

But despite dislike from students, more schooling will most likely be needed, and Leesville Civics teacher Nancy Mosley, has her own opinion on the topic.

“We probably will need to add more instruction time to the schedule eventually, and I believe that more instruction time would be extremely beneficial,” said Mosley, “but despite this I don’t think that we’ll be adding anymore school days anytime soon. With tourism being such an enormous industry, taking days of off summer break just isn’t an option.”

The only way to fix this economic problem is to do it gradually. “It’s a very unpopular policy, so it’d have to take action slowly,” said Mosley, “maybe adding half an hour to each school day, or a few more days to the year, would be a good start, and not too drastic.”

About the Author

Katy Huis, Editor-in-Chief
Katy has been on staff since her sophomore year, starting as a staff writer. With hard work and diligence, she earned a junior editor position and ultimately became Editor-in-Chief her senior year. She will pursue a degree in journalism in college.

1 Comment on "Obama Proposes Longer, More School Days"

  1. Jimmy Wei | May 5, 2010 at 7:58 am |

    Ah-ha, and here is the fundamental flaw of American education. . . we have the wrong focus! Adding 1 more day, or 10 more days, or 100 more days won’t significantly improve the education system. Instead of just trying to spend more time with a failing approach, we should overhaul what we do with our time. For one, teachers need to be evaluated across the board, and the standard set by the school systems in hiring teachers needs to be raised dramatically. A lot of teachers out there can’t teach at all, which undermines the entire education system. Additionally, teachers should be paid more. Many bright minds, who could be excellent teachers, are turned away by money, especially when they could teach in a university or take other careers that pay much more. Finally, NCLB needs to be reformed. It’s focused on test scores and obscure facts, but has no room for application. In addition, the distribution of funds must either 1) take away from enrichment and extra-curricular activities or 2) require more funding across the board, A.K.A. more taxes.

    Adding time to the school day is no way to fix education. America is confronted with a major problem–failing education. Instead of spending *more* time trying out what’s already failed, we should turn to a new approach. It’s common sense.

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