February 7, 2009

I really want to post

But I really can't find the inspiration - so I went digging, and poking and prodding all around my tired, cobweb of a brain for inspiration. After reading Bonnie's post this evening I got it. Not so much because of what she said but more because of what she didn't say.

I am pondering two things I heard this week that have left me just puzzled. The first was from the Fischbowl , an absolute favorite blog of mine and perhaps the first one I ever read...Karl asked

"What is the purpose of School"

He did not ask because he is a jerk, a sceptic or a cynic - in fact he is perhaps the neatest, cutting edge teacher I have ever seen...on the contrary he asked to see what peoples answers would be and more.

So tonight I ponder: What is the purpose of school?

ALSO - Douglas County is considering a 4 day school week as part of serious budget cuts for next year...among many other drastic things because the district is out of money, the tax payers voted down a tax to increase funding and they are desperate. Now, keep in mind we are talking about a county that has a school on just about every stinking corner...

So I ponder tonight: 4 Day school week? Could it work?

I would love to hear your thoughts...I will share mine in a follow up post and compile our answers hopefully in some sort of highly inspired fun way later in the week!


The Blonde Duck said...

Hmmm. It depends. On one hand, it could give kids a nice long weekend. On the other, it'll upset parents because they'll have to pay more for daycare. Also, it depends how long kids would be in school for. 10 hour days with minimal breaks is too hard for young kids.

Lindsay said...

I think it mostly depends on a 4 day work week. Otherwise the kids would have to be in a daycare or baby sitter or something if both parents work. I would love it for everything to be a 4 day work week then have a 3 day weekend!

Kim H. said...

Wow! That's a tough one. Lots of valid points and concerns here. I definitely see the child care cost thing coming up with working parents that have that added expense. Cause Lord knows the schools just aren't going to give out free childcare too.

But like you said, a school on every corner, makes you wonder how funds in these districts are being managed. I sit in one of the best, most desirable districts in Ohio and year after year the district is looking for MORE and MORE money. I mean, come on, enough is enough. Eventually people start having to look at what's wrong with the current system.

I have a friend in Boston who's kids have a 4 1/2 day school week - they get out early EVERY Thursday. Now for her, she can do it, she stays home with the kids. But I do know she doesn't love it. She finds it kind of disruptive - but I suppose kids and parents would eventually get used to if if necessary.

Yes, I wonder too if that means longer days for kids - because some of those litte ones just can't be there for 10 hours.

Lots to think about....can't wait to hear more of your thoughts.

whoopsadasie said...

I am with the other readers...if work was four days a week..then yeah it might work. The flip side would be..what to do with them for a long WEEKEND! LOL! I am just glad that mine are grown and out of school!

Woman Interrupted said...

In my opinion, the 4 day week would work only if the kids are in school year round. Kids are not able to handle longer school days and be productive.

Doesn't it raise an eyebrow that districts across the country are going broke, now, when property taxes have been on the rise and more money than ever is being invested? Here in Houston, HISD is not a poor district. The money is just being mismanaged. For example if x amount is allocated for one thing it can't be used for something else. The result is wasteful spending b/c no department wants to have left over money and have their budget reduced the next year. That and "No Child Left Behind" makes it impossible for the teachers to do anything but teach to the tests. (Former teacher, here.) Sad!

Candi said...

I don't think it would work. Most people work 5 days a week and kids having school 5 days a week just makes sense. If they are planning on adding hours on to the school day I would be really against it. I think kids are in school long enough as it is.

Krape Family said...

One day while up at our place in Grand county, I was talking with some parents whose kids go to school up here and they informed me that the middle and high schools are on a 4 day week and they love it. Usually by middle school, kids are old enough to stay home with minimal supervision. BUT the catch is that the community has to give those kids something to do on the extra day, otherwise they just get in trouble. For example, all of the local ski resorts offer free skiing to all local students. And according to the people I spoke to, most of the kid use it.
I think a 4 day school week for elementary is crazy but I am open to it for middle and high schools.

Bonnie said...

I think it would be too long a day for grade schoolers and even middle and high actually. I just think at some point their brains would be too tired.

thecasualperfectionist.com said...

You bring up good questions!

Here are my thoughts.

1) What is the purpose of school?

In my opinion, the purpose of school is to prepare my child for her future, whether it be her higher-learning or career path.

I see two sides to what I want her to get from school: Academics and Social Skills. The Academics are the typical reading, writing, arithmetic, and also computer skills, technologies, science, literature, and other fields of academia.

The social aspect should focus on how to self-regulate in situations regarding interacting with peers, how to follow instructions, how to properly take orders from authority figures and also how to share one's thoughts with adults and peers alike.

Problem solving skills are also important, and that falls into both categories.

I also want her to be able to use school as a way to figure out what interests her and where to go after graduation.

2) Would a 4-day school week work?

Yes, if handled properly. In our personal situation, it wouldn't be hard to adapt to such a schedule, depending on which of the week days is free. I do not work outside the home, and my husband's schedule is such that he gets every other Friday off automatically.

I can see where such a schedule could place a burden on families where both parents work, but from what I've heard from a lot of friends in such situations, they are forced to juggle random days off and early-outs on a constant basis as it is. If it was a set-day off and consistent it may actually be easier for most people to adjust.

Just my thoughts!

~Momma, The Casual Perfectionist

thecasualperfectionist.com said...

As if my comment wasn't long enough already...I forgot one point I wanted to make!

I think in the older grades, I would like to see the free-day off as being devoted to volunteer service. That way, the students would see what it's like to give back to their community, and agencies would benefit from the volunteer workforce, and it wouldn't cost a dime.

Bonnie said...

To answer what I think the purpose of school is. It is to prepare them for adult life, academically and socially. I would like for schools to cut out a lot of the "fluff" and spend what precious time they have really focusing on important life skills..

Courtney said...

looking at "school" as a building, then yes, I think every district, every state needs to rethink the number of actual school buildings are needed.
PA is currently looking at a major downsizing of actual districts, so we will see how that pans out.

as for a 4 day school week, I think its great. As long as knowledge expanding experiences and studies are fostered within the home, I think we can even go to 3 days a week :)

Becky said...

The purpose of school - the same answer applies to the purpose of hospitals, stores, law offices, and most any other business - a facility that offers the specialized service of learned and experienced individuals to assist in a diversified development of a civilized society.

4 day work week - You bet! There are still several miles left in the kids at 3:00 PM. A fair trade off for that extra day of personal life.