Sunday, November 07, 2010

The Continuing Push For Longer Schooling

In the Nov. 8, 2010 edition of Newsweek, there is an article entitled "Class Action" about extending school days and the overall school year. I applaud the author, Sehba Ali, for starting a public charter school in San Jose, CA. I must also recognize that this article is the first time I've read something by a proponent of longer schooling that actually points out negatives of pursuing longer school days and a longer school year. Most proponent of More-Schooling won't even acknowledge that there are negatives, let alone actually discuss them.

With that said, I think the author is wrong. A longer school day and longer school years, even when accompanied with more focus on subjects besides reading, writing, and arithmetic and increased teacher assistance will not "fix" the education problem in the United States. Based upon the article, it seems that the author is under the false assumption that public education is a social panacea.

Public education is not a panacea. It's not going to fix society's problems. The problem isn't that students don't spend enough time in school. Therefore, adding more hours to a school day or lengthening the school year is not going to solve anything. The problem is that the home lives of many students outside of school and the breakdown of social norms. True education is founded upon truth, but if a person is surrounded at home and bombarded by messages from their culture and society that tell them everything is relative, then no matter how much time is spend in school, real education can never take place.

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