Monday, September 28, 2009

Sometimes, Less is Truly More...

One of the reasons I found that I could not support Barack Obama in the 2008 election was his tendency to want to butt in where he did not belong - places such as my wallet, my home, my kitchen, my car, and now my school. The president has indicated a desire to compel schools to go to longer days and more days over the course of the year.

I do not necessarily have a problem with the idea of longer or more days of school. Now, I do like my vacation, but I also teach summer school from around June 20-July 15 - so it is four weeks extra. My problem is the philosophical stance taken by President Obama and people who are like-minded that everything should be dictated from the top on down. The president was quoted in the story as saying we are using an agrarian type of calendar - and with not a lot of children working the fields anymore, it doesn't make a lot of sense. Ok, but how does it necessarily follow that we ought to go to school upwards of 300 more hours during the academic year?

I would have no problem if individual states or school districts mandated longer days/hours - that is their right. They are the ones who are in a better position to judge if the children in their school systems need more instruction, not Washington. This is what federalism is supposed to be. It's nice that the president is interested in education; he has two school-aged daughters, and yet, education is probably one of those things to which he would be better off taking a l'aissez faire approach.

1 comment:

AdamV said...

I wonder why you are okay with States forcing these sorts of issues but not the Federal government. Wouldn't that still be "top down." I just don't see why, in the one case this is okay (the State) and in the second (the federal gov) this is not, even though it would probably only amount to denying people federal funds, not absolutely demanding it.

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