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Barack Obama’s War On Summer Vacation

by @ 3:51 pm on September 27, 2009. Filed under Barack Obama, Education, Politics


Beware kids, while you’re signing his praises, the President is thinking about getting rid of your summer vacation:

WASHINGTON – Students beware: The summer vacation you just enjoyed could be sharply curtailed if President Barack Obama gets his way.

Obama says American kids spend too little time in school, putting them at a disadvantage with other students around the globe.

“Now, I know longer school days and school years are not wildly popular ideas,” the president said earlier this year. “Not with Malia and Sasha, not in my family, and probably not in yours. But the challenges of a new century demand more time in the classroom.”

The president, who has a sixth-grader and a third-grader, wants schools to add time to classes, to stay open late and to let kids in on weekends so they have a safe place to go.

“Our school calendar is based upon the agrarian economy and not too many of our kids are working the fields today,” Education Secretary Arne Duncan said in a recent interview with The Associated Press

While I think that it is a good idea to talk about modifying the 180-day, September-June school calendar that has become as much an American tradition as fireworks on the 4th of July, I don’t quite see the need for this to become a national issue, or for the Federal Government to mandate that schools modify their calendars based on a decision made by a bureaucrat in the Department of Education. As with most things in the education field, this is a matter best left to school boards at the local and state level and to the parents of the children being educated.

It’s also worth noting that the old argument that American children have a shorter school calendar than the rest of the developed world isn’t entirely accurate:

While it is true that kids in many other countries have more school days, it’s not true they all spend more time in school.

Kids in the U.S. spend more hours in school (1,146 instructional hours per year) than do kids in the Asian countries that persistently outscore the U.S. on math and science tests — Singapore (903), Taiwan (1,050), Japan (1,005) and Hong Kong (1,013). That is despite the fact that Taiwan, Japan and Hong Kong have longer school years (190 to 201 days) than does the U.S. (180 days).

It’s not just a matter of the amount of time that kids are spending in the classroom, then, but what’s being done with that time. Obviously, students in those Asian countries are using their time much more productively than American students are, so adding an additional 10-20 days a year to the school calendar isn’t going to help if the time isn’t being used right. Maybe that’s what we need to concentrate on.

11 Responses to “Barack Obama’s War On Summer Vacation”

  1. sus says:

    I like the 6 weeks on / 2 weeks off schedule. Comes with problems like how to work around teachers vacations, energy to heat/cool the schools. But seems like it would be best for the kids.

    Schools would be open even on the 2 week off schedule for parents who work. Safe place. Those who need tutoring can get it.

    Some schools already do this. I wonder how they worked around this problems?

  2. Scandia says:

    Maybe, in the Asian countries you mention, teachers don’t have to devote the first quarter of the lesson to get the students to sit down and be quiet. I don’t know, but I do know that most Asian parents are tougher on their kids when it comes to studies, than are most American parents.
    Also, you hear stories about parents being upset with teachers who are “too demanding” of their little darlings.

  3. James Young says:

    In any case, this should cure the cult of personality that the Obamorons are promoting in the government schools.

  4. Hall Monitor says:

    This story made ! Check it out for all the crazy headlines from our schools.

  5. Let's Be Free says:

    Homeschooling our kids we get done in 2 to 3 hours more than what the school system accomplishes all day. The rest of the day goes to enrichment and giving the kids free rein to explore their interests. The answer to better education lays not in more classroom time. Our kids are learning how to think and act for themselves and stand on their own two feet. Unfortunately, a lot of parents will look at what Obama is pushing and think more school equals less daycare expense — incredible visionaries that they are.

  6. John Burke says:

    Iran, Afghanistan, the recession and healthcare should be enough to keep Obama busy without intruding on state responsibilities.

    Besides, US school kids waste half the time they spend in school now. Japan, Taiwan, Korea and China have two thingd going for them we lack:

    1) A school culture that focuses on brighter and more hard-working students rathert than dragging everyone down and

    2) A nation of parents who whack their kids on the head if they screw around or get bad grades.

    Short of being able to change those things, Obama has nothing to add.

  7. Bob Grumbine says:

    It is the difference in focus inflicted by child molesting homosexist pedophiles and their “phys ed” and “sports” disruptions of schooling that cause the educational gaps vis a vis other parts of the world. When admins make criminal thuggery the primary objective of “education in the schools” it defeats any legitimate purpose regardless of hours per day or days per year spent in the grossly mismanaged “schools”.

  8. SV says:

    As someone who did his early schooling in Asia, the AP has it completely wrong. Yes the “official” number of hours may be shorter, but just about every student spends hours in study (extra classes, tution, etc) after school (every day and every weekend). Cram schools and private tutors are a huge industry in Asia and this is part of the reason for the pressure cooker environment of learning that is Asia.

    Adding more hours to schooling will only correct the imbalance somewhat.

  9. Jon says:

    response #’s 5 & 6 say it all…. It is time to remove the morons from the decision making processes

  10. Asorel says:

    More school won’t change anything. If you’re dumb, you’re dumb. If you should change anything at all, its the education itself.

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