President Obama may have won the Nobel Peace Prize, but he's certainly not a popular figure in our house right now. (And I'm an Obama fan!)
The reason for the discord? My boys saw this headline in Sunday's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: "Kids Need More Time in School." Needless to say, they vehemently disagree.
I do too. I'm all for academic achievement, but the idea that "the only way you can close the achievement deficit is by having kids in school longer" is absolutely ludicrous. As if sitting in a classroom is the magic key to knowledge.
Learning can happen any time, anywhere; the only thing that's required, I'm convinced, is a curious child who feels safe in his environment. A supportive adult helps too, but plenty of children learn even in the absence of adults. (Remember William Kamkwamba?)
Obama says that the additional time is necessary for our children to "catch up" to the rest of the world. Children in South Korea, he says, currently spend one more month in school -- every year -- than American children.
I understand the well-meaning intentions, but the logic just doesn't make sense. In Milwaukee, Public Schools Superintendent William Andrekopoulos has proposed adding 10 minutes to the school day and moving to a year-'round schedule. 10 more minutes in school is going to improve things?
If kids are currently failing in school now, why do we think that a longer school day is going to help? Instead of just adding on "more," how 'bout we change the "how?" If kids aren't learning with the currents means and methods, try other methods. If that doesn't work, try something else.
I'm reminded of Albert Einstein's definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.