April 14, 2009
In 1963, I took my first trip to the north side of town, to R.E. Hunt High School. Of course, I was only in junior high, but it was a big deal. That summer, we went to visit folks in the country, picked plums, chased cattle, rode horses, and sometimes, we just got up at 5:30 just to see the sun rise, and the critters crawling. In those days, the summer seemed to be a whole year long.
Of course it wasn''t, but for us, it afforded us a three-month break from the cry babies, bullies and the strains of study and testing. It was a time to ponder our achievements in academia, passing from one grade level to another. Summer was a time when children grew in character, stature and in culture.
It was a time when parents could have a break from worrying about kid''s grades, teacher conferences, principal problems and those things at the schoolhouse that were nine-month- long burdens. It was a break for students, teachers, and parents. Those were the good old days.
Since those days, we already lost a month of summer off time. Less time to travel, visit family, and otherwise experience life outside the classroom. And we still produced lawyers, scientists, doctors, teachers, etc.
What I want to know is this. Which mindless members of the school board, who have no children in our public school system, made this bold move to deny our children their summer vacation?
I know they will say that it depends on their grades, and after all, it is only for 11 months. That is the same rationale, that the same kind of people made when they reduced summer break from three months to two months, and now they want to take away another month.
I suggest you speak up for your child. I will, because we intend to continue to travel in the summer month(s). There have been no public meetings or forums where these issues were discussed, nor were we included in the decision making on the location of the new school. Oh, I know you voted on it. But you only voted for what they had set you up to vote for.
Look, I have no bones to pick with any school officials, I believe that they think they are doing the best thing. I beg to differ. They continue to make decisions that adversely affect our children, without consulting us, their parents. Please, don''t stand idly by while they take you children''s "social development" time. Our children need us to speak up now for them, as I remember my summer vacation, and my youthful experiences, so should they. I am not concerned how long they hold school in other countries, this is America, and we sometime do things differently.
James E. Samuel, Columbus
current educator commented at 4/14/2009 6:15:00 PM:
I completely disagree with this guy. As long as we continue to view education secondary to everything else, such as vacations and riding cattle, we will continue to be in the boat that we are in. The reality is that education needs to be put first, and I applaud Dr. Phillips for attempting to try something different. Obviously what we are doing is not working, therefore its time to try something else. Whatever parent views teacher conferences, principals meetings, etc, as a burden in the education of their child, probably should never have had children in the first place.
CSD teacher commented at 4/15/2009 12:01:00 PM:
I completely agree with the writer of this letter. I completely disagree with the previous poster. I have been a teacher for 22 years and I think the district is about to make a huge mistake. I have two college-aged children and I was a very hands-on mother with each. I was a member of PTA, volunteered in their classrooms (when I could), and studied with them every night. Yet I do believe that year-round school would be a huge burden.
Current Educator: The problem with our children and their test scores is simple. I don't think you would be shocked by the number of unconcerned and uneducated parents we have. I don't mean all parents, because I have some good ones. However, the majority of parents (in my classrooms, at least) do not take the time to study and read with their children. They don't do it now and they surely won't do it year-round.
Children need time to unwind, to relax, to be kids. If this decision is made, I don't think we will see the increase in scores that people are projecting. Our scores won't increase until we have parents that care.
A Parent commented at 4/15/2009 2:10:00 PM:
I am not for year round schools at all. You will not have all your kids out on the same breaks as each of them learns at a different rate. So this means not vacations during the normal school break times. Also causes a lot more Family issues due to one of them having to go to school & the other one out on break. If you want to offer a year round school then it should be a family's choice and NOT mandated for the rest of us. Not all families are into education only and no kid time (meaning summers).
As the CSD teacher stated, until parents take an active role in parenting their kids nothing is going to change. The problems with our school systems NATIONWIDE is they/we focus too much time on STATE TEST SCORES. Wake-up people test scores do NOT prove that the students are or are not learning or if a teacher is teaching or not teaching correctly. There are a lot of varibles in these waste of time tests. As a parent of two kids who use to love school, they now hate school by March due to the fact they stop learning new stuff and are focused only on what is on the MCT & MCT2 TEST. It is so sad to see these kids only learning what is on a darn test. This test is not going to prepare them for college are a career. It is only teaching them how to take a test.
We need to get back to letting our teachers teach & use their creativity in teaching our kids. I now see why so many teachers are burnt out on teaching. It is because these tests & Govenment mandates have sucked the fun out of teaching. Our kids are the ones that are suffering as they don't know how to be creative or think freely. They have lost how to use their imaginations as that is not on the MCT/MCT2 test.
Give the kids their kid time (summers) back. They already don't have a lunch time to talk to their friends or after school activities to interact with them due to funding cuts of programs. Kids need social time during school & that is what many of us adults had during our school days.
Big mistake on yearround school year.
point of view commented at 4/15/2009 2:19:00 PM:
Mr.Samuel made some great points. After reading his renderings I wanted to pack a bag and go to a farm or ranch. CSD Teacher pretty much hit the nail on the head with the fact that parents need to spend more time with their children reading,helping with homework etc.. Where she really scored was the plain fact that THE PARENTS IN MANY CASES MORE THAN THEY OR WE WANT TO ADMIT DO NOT KNOW ANY MORE KNOWLEDGE ABOUT SOME SUBJECTS AS THE KIDS. What do you do when you are 25 to 45 yrs old and your kids (that are making below average grades)ask you to help and you can't? I have no idea how I would handle the situation. The school system might think of taking a month a year to educate parents on basics and how to help their children. Two other little tid-bits..One is both parents (Mom isn't home)are working now days much more than they were in the 50's 60's and 70's.The other is, I'm sure some disconcerned and selfish parents would enjoy having an extra month of free baby-sitting 7 hours a day.
NITA KIZER commented at 4/18/2009 11:40:00 PM:
NO! TO LONGER SCHOOL YEAR. I FEEL SORRY FOR THE CHILDREN AND PARENTS. ALL THEY DO NOW IS WORK OR GO TO SCHOOL AND HOMEWORK. WHAT HAPPENED TO THE DAY WHEN TEACHERS TAUGHT THE KIDS AT SCHOOL AND DID NOT EXPECT THE PARENTS TO TEACH THEM AFTER WORKING ALL DAY.
CSD teacher commented at 4/20/2009 11:10:00 AM:
Nita..As long as I have been teaching (22 years), we have always wanted and needed the parents support. Parents should be willing to do their part at home. In order for children to be successful, they must always be learning. Like I said before, learning doesn't stop at 3:00. I feel like its the duty of the parent to help the child after school with their homework and studies. Nita, as long as people take your stance "what happend to the day when teachers taught the kids at school and did not expect the parents to teach them..." our students will not prosper.
A CMSD Parent commented at 4/20/2009 8:42:00 PM:
I have two responses to this letter:
1) Who said that you can't use the extra breaks that will be built into the new extended year calendars for visiting folks in the country, chasing cattle, and forgetting about school? This new calendar only lengthens the school year for students who aren't on grade level. For every other student, the parents have a CHOICE as to the extra days.
2) As idyllic as a traditional summer vacation sounds, the reality today is usually much different. Vacation time for parents is very limited, if available at all. Two weeks is standard for the entire year. Nobody goes on long extended vacations anymore. Most children spend their summers in front of the TV or playing video games. Some of them swim if they are lucky enough to have access to a pool.
As a parent who does take my children on trips, I see nothing in this new calendar that will hamper my ability to do that. I welcome longer breaks during the year to travel when it is cooler and less crowded.
student commented at 5/8/2009 9:54:00 AM:
it suckis butt!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! its sucks if youy have top go to school year round
teacher commented at 5/12/2009 1:40:00 PM:
I think the comments posted by "student" speak louder than any other words I've read so far as to why we need to have a longer school year. Some of you folks need to spend a week in an elementary classroom before you make comments about what goes on at school and what is taught. There is no worse comment than one which has no knowledge as a foundation. To Mr. Samuels I say that I remember the summer between 4th and 5th grades especially, because when school started back I had completely forgotten how to divide and I was so upset. Many, many children need as much exposure to educational experiences as they can get.
1. Voice of the people: Jim W. Scrivener LETTERS TO THE EDITOR (VOICE@CDISPATCH.COM)
2. Slimantics: Stennis biography brings legend to life LOCAL COLUMNS
3. Our View: Why spelling still matters DISPATCH EDITORIALS
4. Lynn Spruill: Term limits LOCAL COLUMNS
5. Kathleen Parker: Limited room for debate in the Republican field NATIONAL COLUMNS