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The debate of the longer school year has surfaces yet again, and in truth, I have been in this debate for years. In Michigan, when the state first started to offer charter schools, my brother and I ventured to start one. We were the proud owners of Midwest Tech, a school that offered classes to the automotive companies. We saw the opportunity of starting a charter school as an opportunity to educate the youth of Michigan to enter in to high paying engineering jobs. With our experience in the industry, we felt we could offer something other schools could not.
One of the offerings was a more “work” structured school, including, but not limited to. a longer school year. Our reasoning was much along the same reasoning as being offered now: keep up with the worlds best, allow parents to better plan time off and help the students retain information from year to year.
Below is an article concerning Obama’s comments on a longer school year:
The problem with education does not come down to days in class nor hours in class, but basically and simplistically, it is a problem of how and what we are teaching. Teachers today are teaching to the standardized test and not to the students. We are trying to play catch up with China and Japan, yet forgetting that we have what it takes to be number one in education, its called the American way.
Americans are not, incase you have not noticed, Japanese or Chinese. We are country of risk takers and innovators and our educational system should reflect this reality. We are a nation built on hard work and finding solutions that are outside of the norm. Our system of education should be no different.
We as a nation, need to stop looking to Japan, China and the other nations of the world to find our solutions, we need to stop trying to be followers and become, once again, the leaders that we know we are.
America is a nation that leads, not a nation that follows, we seem to forget that. Our school system is a mess and has been getting worse ever since the federal government got in to the game of education. We need to revert back to state and local control of our education. The feds need to allow the local communities the ability to implement the best solution for themselves. Not a mandate from up high. Obama, like all other politicians, seems to feel that he knows best, that he, in DC can dictate what our local communities need. They, in Washington, could not be further from the truth. What we need is to be left alone. What we need is a union free educational system that is held accountable to the community, The parents and local business will work at keeping the schools inline and the city and state government will guarantee the education of out youth.
Maybe we need to look back into history, look back to the Greeks and there concept of education. A concept based on critical thinking and expression on great ideas. I read an article the other day in a Catholic newspaper talking about a new online Catholic university that is doing just that. The curriculum is based on “Great Books” and open dialog. The basic idea is simple, each week you read a classic book, the following week, as a class, you discuses the merits of the book. You have an open mind and a guided debate and allow critical thinking to take place. Sure this is not the fix all to our system, but it is one solution that will work to help create a generation of well educated critical thinkers. Something our nation is missing.
Our educational system can not and should not be a one size fits all solution. We need a mix of opportunities to fit our diverse communities. For some a year round system would work, for others a more technical education would work and for yet others a more Greek system would be better.
It is time for the teachers unions to stop protecting themselves and time for out teachers to serve the best interest of our children, It is time for out communities to step up to the place and offer solutions that fit the needs of today and it is time for our Federal Government to back off and allow the communities the freedom to do so.