... there are a whole bunch of things that could be improved in education. The list of simple corrections is so long and the creativity of idiots at coming up with new nightmare ideas and persisting in continuing them despite statistical proof of their deleterious effects is astounding...
There's a lot of education theory out there and "progressive" educators like to talk them up and sell them to school boards. Some are practical and researched based; others SOUND good but have little-to-no-research to determine they are sound.
Reading is particularly susceptible to that sort of "progressive education." Traditional learning methods were abandoned for the "whole word" concept which essentially stated that kids could learn reading without knowing how to phonecise/decode words. This gave us a whole generation of kids who could neither decode words much less understand what they meant. We had the same fuzzy-headed theorizing that told us it was more important that kids be able to understand math law than to know their math facts, the net result being that the kids STILL do not know math theory and neither do they know 2X2=4.
Year-round school, however, was pretty well thought out. One could alleviate school crowding by putting kids into tracks, with four tracks in school and one track off for three weeks.
This solved several problems:
(1) Facilities overcrowding: With one whole track of kids out, there was more space available for the four tracks of kids in school.
(2) Reduced class size. With one-fifth of the kids gone at any one time, meant smaller classes for everyone else.
(3) More face-to-Face time with teachers. Smaller classrooms meant a smaller student-to-teacher ratio, which meant more one-on-one time for students with their teachers. For some kids, THAT was the critical difference between understanding what was taught and having no clue.
(4) Greater retention of learning. Kids's track breaks last no more than three week for every nine weeks of learning. Meant kids retained what they learned. Meant teachers did not have to spend critical learning time reteaching concepts that the kids should've already learned.
My opinion is that the demise of year-round schools had less to do with money and more to do with parent desires. IOW the School Board knuckled under to pressure. Ce la guerre.
There's so much that we agree on!
And you're right about parent pressure. The problem with content retention is far bigger than simple over summer losses. It is really about lack of subject mastery. Kid's in high school tend to start forgetting almost as soon as the semester/year is over. The ones who memorized because they couldn't really connect with the concepts; get their grades, wipe their brows and are grateful they never have to go through it again. Trigonometry, chemistry, algebra, even simple arithmetic, fractions and grammar are just ugly rites of passage to them along the way!
Once had a bunch of first year teachers complete and fresh from their BA's come in for tutoring/refresher on fractions because they were facing state-mandated certification exams.
One governor was royally embarassed to fail his own state's high school exit exams!
We should make that a requirement for every office from dog-catcher on up.
It is disgraceful what they put teachers through!
Then when they have far too few takers for teaching jobs, they just lower or waive certification standards.
I'm in college right now (finishing a degree I never finished) and it's amazing how many kids coming out of high school don't know what an adjective is or how to write a basic research paper.
"No matter how dark the moment, love and hope are always possible." George Chakiris
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