ITEM: President Obama Calls for Longer School Day, Public Education for Toddlers, & the Abolition of Summer Vacation

RESPONSE: The fire captain in Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451: “Heredity and environment are funny things…The home environment can undo a lot you try to do at school. That’s why we’ve lowered the kindergarten age year after year until now we’re almost snatching them from the cradle.”

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  1. Puts a body to thinking about year-round schools. We no longer have an agrarian economy, so there’s no need to keep the kids at home in June, July, and August. Solution: keep them even farther from the soil by sending them to school all summer long, because nine months of prison isn’t bad enough.

    Earth to “Experts”: revive an agrarian economy, and give the kids something useful to do in the summer.

  2. In a positive note (faintly tinkling), several year-round schools in Louisville have gone back to a more traditional calendar, due to increased costs.

    It would be interesting to see what the Obama girls’ school calendar is. Many private schools have significantly shorter terms than public schools.

  3. I have to confess, I liked much of what President Obama talked about in his speech on education. Charter schools, merit pay for teachers, etc. It depends on how it’s delivered, of course, but these are good ideas. As for longer school years, well, I’d like to see a revival of the agrarian economy as much as anyone, but even if it can be done–a debatable proposition–it’ll be primarily focused on mid-sized farms, rather than small ones run solely by families making use of their children to handle the work, and that means Jason’s issue about “giv[ing] the kids something useful to do in the summer” remains. Unless, of course, we are talking about peak oil and the complete collapse of an oil-based–and thus farm-machine dependent–economy…but if that’s the case, then the timing of public education is the least of our worries.

    Given a choice, actually I probably would vote for school year around, so long as we had vacations of about three or so weeks scattered throughout all the seasons in the place of one single summer break. Deer season in much of this country already results in an unofficial “fall break”; why not make it a reality?

  4. It takes an awful lot of work, regimentation and flash cards to drum every ounce of self -directed imagination or independent thinking out of these harried youngsters and so opportunities that might encourage the bad lessons they learn over summer break must be reduced or next thing you know, the Great And Cheerful Kafka Society might be endangered.

    After all, now that we have achieved a generation of publicly schooled children who have the creative thinking and writing abilities of an Opossum, well…who needs a summer break? Best to keep them plugged into the vicarious agora where they shall feel the comfort and full graphic display of the electronic hive and not be confronted with the crushing burden of time spent outdoors scheming how to pull off a good burning doorstep bag at the nosy Mrs. Barth next door. This kind of activity breeds group awareness and common cause and we cannot have that standing in the way of achieving a full realization of the Federal Godhead. Furthermore, any awareness whatsoever of the hostile out-of-doors, without benefit of a sanctioned yet unfunded “No Child Left Inside” program is to be avoided because , well…because. Liberty, if it is to be orderly must be planned, tested and approved by the proper authorities.

    Leave it to these low fat World Improvers to think more time spent in school is going to result in anything more than simply more time spent in , ahem… Anyway, if any teacher had to actually spend all year with the little darlings, they’d go stark raving mad. Perhaps this shall serve to bust the pernicious influences of the Union.

  5. The exquisitely initialied Russell Arben Fox suggests: “Given a choice, actually I probably would vote for school year around.” Well, you do have a choice (at least in America… while it lasts): home and/or cooperative education!

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