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Obama Calls for a Longer School Year

Old 09-27-10, 09:37 AM
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Obama Calls for a Longer School Year

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100927/...bi_ge/us_obama


WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama started the school week Monday with a call for a longer school year, and said the worst-performing teachers have "got to go" if they don't improve quickly.

Bemoaning America's decreasing global educational competitiveness, Obama sought in a nationally broadcast interview to reinvigorate his education agenda. At the same time, the president acknowledged that many poor schools don't have the money they need and he defended federal aid for them. But Obama also said that money alone won't fix the problems in public schools, saying higher standards must be set and achieved by students and teachers alike.

Asked in an interview if he supported a year-round school year, Obama said: "The idea of a longer school year, I think, makes sense." He did not specify how long that school year should be but said U.S. students attend classes, on average, about a month less than children in most other advanced countries.

On other topics in a live half-hour television interview, Obama said that White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel has not told him whether he will resign to run for mayor of Chicago, as is widely expected. Obama said he knows Emanuel must decide quickly to mount a serious campaign.

The president also sought anew to show that he understands the frustration of millions of people coping with a slow economy — and high joblessness — some 20 months into his term. He said that even if people know he is working hard to fix their problems, what they expect from him is "something concrete" to help them get a job and pay their bills.

Obama appeared on NBC's "Today" show in a live interview that focused on education.

Education is primarily the domain of state and local governments. But the federal government has leverage and uses it, for example, through the strings it attaches to poverty aid that thousands of schools depend upon to support their programming.

The president admitted that his own daughters, Malia and Sasha, couldn't get the same quality education at a Washington, D.C. public school that they currently get at their private school. The Obama girls attend Sidwell Friends School, an elite private school in the Washington area.

"The DC public schools systems are struggling," Obama said, though he added that the school district has, "made some important strides over the last several years to move in the direction of reform." Public schools in Washington have long faced criticism for their low test scores and high dropout rates.

Separately Monday, Obama announced a goal of recruiting 10,000 teachers who work in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math — over the next two years. In a statement, Obama said such education is vital to allowing students to compete against their peers in today's economy.

In the interview, the president said he wants to work with teachers unions, and he embraced the role they play in defending their members. But he said that unions cannot and should not defend a status quo in which one-third of children are dropping out. He challenged them not to be resistant to change.

And the president endorsed the firing of teachers who, once given the chance and the training to improve, are still not serving students well.
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I wonder how well this is going to be received by the American people - especially those with school age children?
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Old 09-27-10, 09:46 AM
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Re: Obama Calls for a Longer School Year

Originally Posted by classicman2 View Post
I wonder how well this is going to be received by the American people - especially those with school age children?
I anticipate those who worship Obama as the new savior of civilization will think this is a great idea, while those who know him to be a nascent Leninist dictator bent on global domination will oppose it.
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Old 09-27-10, 09:50 AM
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Re: Obama Calls for a Longer School Year

I don't know about a longer year, but public school days seem ridiculously short, at least for HS.
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Old 09-27-10, 09:51 AM
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Re: Obama Calls for a Longer School Year

Since I've since have any school age children, I really don't have an opinion on it.

I do have 2 grandchildren in school. Hell, a longer school year wouldn't help/hurt them. They would just miss more school to /make up for it'.
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Old 09-27-10, 10:22 AM
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Re: Obama Calls for a Longer School Year

I'm not sure quantity is the problem. But it might help a little.
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Old 09-27-10, 10:24 AM
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Re: Obama Calls for a Longer School Year

I am against this. I enjoy what I like to call "summer driving season," when all the children are not being driven to school and one or more parents are constantly taking off from work to either watch the kid or take a vacation. The roads are so empty I can zoom into work.
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Old 09-27-10, 10:46 AM
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Re: Obama Calls for a Longer School Year

My daughter moved from public to private school over the summer. Her homework would take 15 minutes tops in public school. She has 90 minutes of homework every day in private school. I don't know if a longer year is necessary just more rigorous curriculums that weed the slackers out into longer years.
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Old 09-27-10, 10:49 AM
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Re: Obama Calls for a Longer School Year

I agree there is a problem with public schools, but I am not sure it is the amount of time spent at school.
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Old 09-27-10, 10:53 AM
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Re: Obama Calls for a Longer School Year

Originally Posted by VinVega View Post
I am against this. I enjoy what I like to call "summer driving season," when all the children are not being driven to school and one or more parents are constantly taking off from work to either watch the kid or take a vacation. The roads are so empty I can zoom into work.
Wow.

Anyway, yeah, America's lazy. What else is new? Whenever I tell my students how long American school children have off they're always envious. Making it longer is a good first step, but it sure isn't going to fix the problem, especially at the public school level where no one gives a crap, anyway.
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Old 09-27-10, 10:59 AM
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Re: Obama Calls for a Longer School Year

As a parent of school-age children, I'd love for them to have school all year long.

Growing up, my mom was a teacher and my friends' mothers were either teachers or stay-at-home moms, so I had no idea what to do with our kids once summer rolled around. My parents were always there.

I think it would be good for them, and it would definitely help us plan our year since neither my wife or I get a "summer vacation".
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Old 09-27-10, 12:02 PM
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Re: Obama Calls for a Longer School Year

Most states can't afford to pay for the school year the way it is now, how are they going to pay to operate a building in the summer?
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Old 09-27-10, 12:05 PM
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Re: Obama Calls for a Longer School Year

It won't help improve anything.
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Old 09-27-10, 12:09 PM
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Re: Obama Calls for a Longer School Year

Originally Posted by MrX View Post
Most states can't afford to pay for the school year the way it is now, how are they going to pay to operate a building in the summer?
Around here, they send kids home when it gets hotter than 90 or something, so yeah, I have no idea how that could work.
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Old 09-27-10, 12:10 PM
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Re: Obama Calls for a Longer School Year

Hawaii already moved to 4 day school weeks because of budget issues.
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Old 09-27-10, 12:12 PM
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Re: Obama Calls for a Longer School Year

Originally Posted by Draven View Post
As a parent of school-age children, I'd love for them to have school all year long.

Growing up, my mom was a teacher and my friends' mothers were either teachers or stay-at-home moms, so I had no idea what to do with our kids once summer rolled around. My parents were always there.

I think it would be good for them, and it would definitely help us plan our year since neither my wife or I get a "summer vacation".
Great points. My little brother and I were often left to fend for ourselves, and that usually involved endless days of TV, Lego-building and general mayhem. Which I feel kids need, but it should actually be worked into the school year. So I agree with making the school year longer, but then make it easier for parents to pull their kids out for a week or two of vacation. When I was kid, we lived in a few different states. When I lived in Kansas, if my parents had to take their vacation time during the school year, the teachers would give me the work for that week and I would turn it when I got back, and they would grade it then. After we moved to Kentucky, we tried to do that and they wouldn't do it, since their budget depends on school attendance. So I was a straight-A student, who got a week of "0's" just because the only time my parents could take their vacation time was during the school year. If I've never expressed my disdain for the state of Kentucky before on this forum, allow me to do so again: "Fuck Kentucky, and the goat it rode in on."

But yeah, I agree the school year should be longer, but the individual day could probably be shorter. Add in busing and homework, and kids are away from their home and families far too long. You want to talk about the decline of the family unit, there's a big part of it right there.
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Old 09-27-10, 12:13 PM
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Re: Obama Calls for a Longer School Year

Originally Posted by taa455 View Post
It won't help improve anything.
Nothing? Do you know how much of the first few weeks of each fall semester are spent on reviewing the previous year?
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Old 09-27-10, 12:20 PM
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Re: Obama Calls for a Longer School Year

Obama just wants more time to indoctrinate America's future with his socialist agenda.
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Old 09-27-10, 12:23 PM
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Re: Obama Calls for a Longer School Year

Originally Posted by wendersfan View Post
those who know him to be a nascent leninist dictator bent on global domination will oppose it.
Originally Posted by tracer bullet View Post
obama just wants more time to indoctrinate america's future with his socialist agenda.
q.e.d.
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Old 09-27-10, 12:25 PM
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Re: Obama Calls for a Longer School Year

Originally Posted by milo bloom View Post
Nothing? Do you know how much of the first few weeks of each fall semester are spent on reviewing the previous year?
And that won't change. Whether or not kids are in year-round school, it will still be nearly a year since they learned the stuff at the beginning of the previous year. If they learned that the capital of Nebraska is Lincoln in October of the previous year, going to school all Summer won't help them remember it in September of the current year.
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Old 09-27-10, 12:25 PM
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Re: Obama Calls for a Longer School Year

I, too, at first wondered about the cost. Silly me... I forgot we'd simply have to pass an education stimulus.



Originally Posted by sracer View Post
And that won't change. Whether or not kids are in year-round school, it will still be nearly a year since they learned the stuff at the beginning of the previous year. If they learned that the capital of Nebraska is Lincoln in October of the previous year, going to school all Summer won't help them remember it in September of the current year.
I think the point was that it takes a long time to get them back up to speed on where they left off, not to remember a year prior, but a few months prior. There is something to be said for continuity. I think this matter more in certain subjects than in others.
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Old 09-27-10, 12:29 PM
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Re: Obama Calls for a Longer School Year

Originally Posted by Red Dog View Post
Around here, they send kids home when it gets hotter than 90 or something, so yeah, I have no idea how that could work.
That's the way my school was growing up. They'd have to spend a ton of money they don't have to add AC to those old buildings.
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Old 09-27-10, 12:31 PM
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Re: Obama Calls for a Longer School Year

Perhaps the single biggest contribution to the decline of public education is the forced inclusion of all students. When I was in elementary school, students were distributed into classes within a particular grade based on their aptitude and other contributory factors. Kids with learning disabilities were grouped in classes where they could be taught in a way that was more compatible with their disability. Those who were able to learn things quicker were in accelerated classes.

But in this current day where "little Johnny is not only the center of the family but the center of the universe" children must be treated identical regardless of their individuality. In the end it doesn't help those who need extra help and holds down those capable of more.
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Old 09-27-10, 12:33 PM
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Re: Obama Calls for a Longer School Year

Originally Posted by sracer View Post
When I was in elementary school, students were distributed into classes within a particular grade based on their aptitude and other contributory factors. Kids with learning disabilities were grouped in classes where they could be taught in a way that was more compatible with their disability. Those who were able to learn things quicker were in accelerated classes.
I'd prefer a focused track that breeds professionals in one room and guides the other classroom towards not screwing up my order.
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Old 09-27-10, 12:35 PM
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Re: Obama Calls for a Longer School Year

Washington has a mandated 180 days. No way around that to make it shorter, really. But most states like Oregon have gone to a shorter school year because they don't have the money and payroll runs about 85% of the costs of school. So lots of states have moved down to 170, etc. Cost to go to a longer school year is obviously huge. I think it sounds nice, but Obama won't do anything about it.

And I also don't think it is necessary.
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Old 09-27-10, 12:46 PM
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Re: Obama Calls for a Longer School Year

If a longer school year is required to get proper education, and if all teachers were educated under current school year lengths, then wouldn't all teachers be improperly educated and kids would still get an improper education?

The length of the school year is not the problem.
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