Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review, which has been on the web since 1995, is now published from Freeport, Maine. See main page for full contents

September 28, 2009


As we have noted, determining the length of the school day or school year is none of a president's damn business

MSNBC - 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.". . . "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 . . . Obama and Duncan say kids in the United States need more school because kids in other nations have more school. . .

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).


Blogger Lars said...

I would love to know where in most town budgets the additional dollars for busing, air conditioning, teacher pay etc. are going to come from. Here in Massachusetts many if not most towns are pink slipping teachers. I find it hard to believe we'll have money to comply with this nonsense.

Moreover, we should all know that the quality of the education counts for much more than the quantity.

Lastly, the notion that students must put their nose to the grindstone more often is misguided. Nowhere in these bureaucratic proposals is time made for the development of imagination, fitness, and social skills. These are critical to forming well rounded, happy people who are good citizens. Summer vacations provide ample time for all of this. Whether kids gather freely to play, attend summer camps, read for the own enjoyment or do any number of other things in an unstructured environment it is for their own benefit.

Proposals like these seem more useful for softening minds and preventing protest and resistance in the work place.

September 28, 2009 11:29 PM  
Anonymous m said...

Now that we exhausted all of the possible avenues of torture of children by testing, it is time to ramp up the hours and days on which they can be tested.

September 29, 2009 9:33 AM  

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