Monday, January 14, 2008

In Response to a News Article

Recently in our local paper there was an article stating how the superintendent of Anchorage schools is toying with the idea of lengthening the school day or year. It is mentioned in the article that more time for instruction is needed because our 180 school year doesn't make the students "competitive".

Here was my response:

Longer school day?

I don't understand why we need a longer school day or year or how we'll pay for it. Not too long ago teachers were renegotiating contracts and school programs were being cut and we all heard about how there was no money to pay for teachers or programs. Now there is talk about extending the day or year so everyone works more? I don't get it.

Kids need to be able to be kids. If you make school function in such a way where they don't have time to relax, hold a job, play sports, get their homework done or just go outside and play, don't be surprised when kids drop out because they get burned out.

I am 38 years old and I went to school in a time where I got out of school at 3:15, teachers weren't considered babysitters, we learned about failure and dealing with disappointment and no one coddled us.

Sometimes we got a much needed swat on the butt at school and then another when we got home. The parents supported the teachers and no one taught to a test only because they were worried their school would get shut down.

Teachers were respected because of who they were.

Teachers weren't afraid to grade your papers in red ink and put a big fat "F" at the top if that was the grade that you earned--if your were upset and felt like a failure, well then you should.

We played dodge ball and kick ball outside for an entire hour and if you got hit in the head with the ball you shook it off and kept playing. There was no reason for anyone to get sent to the office, or sued, or for assault charges to be filed.

Preschoolers and those in kindergarten could hug their teachers without getting cited for sexual harassment or some other inappropriate behavior.

Some of us were bullied or picked last for teams and miraculously we didn't freak out and shoot up the school. We learned to cope on our own without anyone running to our defense.

Now I and others are raising families, are successful, run individual businesses, etc. in spite of the fact that we had normal school hours and days and learned regular subjects.

Honestly, I don't know how we survived.



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