Article Comment 

Cameron Triplett: Schools need changing




I agree with Mr. Wiseman that our school system isn''t the best that it could be. For years I have advocated changing from our agrarian-based school year to something more modern and more practical. Mine is a lone voice in the wilderness, opposed by everybody else. Teachers don''t want to give up their "summer vacation" any more than most of the students. Parents are concerned about the children of divorced parents who shuttle back and forth during the summer or about family vacations. Folks, it''s past time to get concerned about what really matters: the education of our children and the future of our nation. 


The advantages to a year-round school year are many: no break from learning so there''s no restart period; lessons can be broken down into three-month bites so it will be easier for students to grasp one section before moving up to the next; no daycare expenses for working parents; and on and on and on. 


The Headstart school program is already being abused as a free daycare for lazy parents. Let''s make free public education work. Require all children from the age of three to attend school, either public or private. I realize some people prefer homeschooling their children, but from what I''ve seen, that doesn''t work out very well sometimes. This business of being six years old on or before Sept. 1 is a ridiculous arbitrary cut-off date. By going to a year-round school year a child could start within a couple of months of turning three. 


One size does NOT fit all, especially in education. Some students are "smarter" than others and learn faster. By breaking up the school year into three-month segments, every student would get a chance to get a more equal education -- some just taking a little longer than others. 


I guess one of the biggest advantages of a year-round school year would be no more gangs of bored youths roaming the streets getting into trouble. Everybody benefits from that advantage, especially the kids! But as long as the teachers'' union opposes any changes, we most likely won''t see any changes, and that''s the real sad part. This country must change, or else. The "or else" won''t be pretty.



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Reader Comments

Article Comment hope commented at 8/25/2011 1:59:00 PM:

Have you read Rick Perry's book "FED UP?" If you haven't, get one!


Article Comment cdaniel32 commented at 8/25/2011 2:51:00 PM:

I can agree with some of the issues raised in the above statement but not all. You state that teachers and students alike do not want to give up their summer vacation which is understandable. You also state that most parents use headstart as free babysitter, which is sometimes true. A lot of parents use the summer as a time to bring their families closer together. You say that parents are worried about their kids having to share their children with a divorced spouse. Do you not realize that someone could go to jail over a child custody order? If our kids only get a few weeks at a time out of school how can they possible spend quality time with the absent parent?
I can also understand the issue with the gangs, but that has to fall on the responsibility of the parents. Where are they at when their child goes missing in the middle of the night when thay should be sleeping?
My thing is this. If you want a better education for our kids then maybe ity's not the teachers, principals or even the school itself as a whole. What we really need to be looking at is how to get the money that the school system needs in order to help our teachers. A lot of our teachers get a little stipend to start the school year, then they don't get paid what others in big cities get, the you have to think that a lot of these teachers go out of their way to help the slow learners. I should know because I have one. Teachers within the city and county school district have helped my son immensely with what little they are given.
The one thiong I ask is go sit in a classroom one day and you will know exactly what I mean when I say that the teachers aren't given what they need to make every child suctcessful. The No Child Left Behind Act hasn't helped. It just says that a teacher pushes a child through to the next grade whether they are actually ready or not.


Article Comment zenreaper commented at 8/25/2011 4:57:00 PM:

Many people advocate year round school. They fail to consider a few things. Lets pretend that there are only five kids in school, from five families, who all work at the ONE business in a hypothetical town. Now, they get two weeks off for summer vacation. So, of course, each family wants to take the kids away for a two week vacation. But they CAN'T, because not all of the people WORKING can take OFF at the same time.

Also, we complain about the cost of education NOW. Can you imagine the cost of on top of increased teachers salaries (they work more, ya got to PAY them more), we add is EXTREME energy bills to cool a school in 110 degree weather for extended periods of time.

I have to be honest, THIS statement threw me, "I realize some people prefer homeschooling their children, but from what I've seen, that doesn't work out very well sometimes." Homeschooling, if you are financially able to do it, produces HIGHLY educated kids, and work well MOST of the time, because the learning is at the individual students pace. We ALL want class sizes reduced, and they can't get much lower than ONE.

What needs to be done to fix this education system is hand it back to the TEACHERS. Take it away from the politicians. And specifically around here, STOP using the schools as a JOBS program for relatives and friends of those already employed by the school district.

Here is a simple rule we should follow. If you can't do the job, WE DON'T CARE WHO YOUR {insert realtive} IS, YOU'RE FIRED. If you are a TEACHER, TEACH. If you are a COUNSELOR, COUNSEL.

Now, this does not put SOLE responsibility on the teachers. Now for the parents. It is NOT the schools job to raise your kid. Your kid does NOT have the right to cuss out a teacher, or assault MY kid. And if they DO these things, they DESERVE to be KICKED OUT. Yoru child has the right to ACCESS to a free education. Once they treat that access like dirt, they LOSE it.

I guarantee that if you started kicking out the students who REALLY don't want to BE there, you will see and increase in test scores, because we will have less students, and those left will actually want to learn.

Now, what am I talking about? Well, bring a WEAPON to school? Your OUT. Assault an adult staff member? Your OUT. Simple common sense rules.


Article Comment bravesfan commented at 8/26/2011 9:59:00 AM:

I think there also needs to be tort reform concerning schools. A lot of administrators and teachers are scared to disciplin because they are afraid of a suit. So, the trouble makers are allowed to gain confidence in their trouble making ability and their parents are sitting back waiting to jump at the chance of a suit with a settlement. I'm not advocating that admin and teachers get to be bullies or anything like that (before you all pounce on me), but there comes a time when enough is enough and kids have to be shown they don't run the school. I agree with Zen, if they're being forced to be there, let them go. they're just holding back the kids who care about being educated.


Article Comment raider commented at 8/26/2011 12:41:00 PM:

I don't understand. If, "The Headstart school program is already being abused as a free daycare for lazy parents." Then wouldn't sending all kids to school when they were 3...make more lazy parents?

Personally, I do not believe that most children are ready for a full day of school when they are 3. Some maybe ready but the majority is not. And, as far as homeschooling...I would leave that up to the parents. I believe thier are a lot parents that think they are smart enough to be teachers when they are not but it's still thier call as parents.


Article Comment sheatherly commented at 8/26/2011 5:21:00 PM:

If I read one more suggestion that we need to 'modernize' the school system, I think I will scream. What needs to happen is that for the TIME that students are in session ...the TEACHERS be allowed to TEACH uninterrupted. There are CONSTANT interruptions during the course of a semester...EVERY SEMESTER...from school pictures, multiple fire and tornado drills, field trips, test drills, achievement tests, Beta club meetings, reward parties, school assembly programs, spelling bees, science fairs, reading fairs, student council elections, field days, constant interruptions from intercom announcements, the lawn mowing maintenance noise right outside the windows, practice for plays or special programs, candy sales orientation and then awards, Award's Day, weekly scheduled magnet school-themed labs or program attendance which takes away from regular instruction, teacher meetings or conferences that take teachers out of their classrooms ...and there are many many more.
By Feb./March, the interruptions become a several-times-daily occurrence. The longer the school year has been extended over the years, the more the busy busy interruptions have been compounded. Yes, the students are learning some skills from SOME of these extra-curricular activities, but not in beneficial proportions equal to the subject matter learning that is definitely being sacrificed.
Schools DO NOT need to become summer babysitters, there's enough of that going on the rest of the year. The parents must shoulder some of the child's upbringing responsibilities. And students and teachers DO NOT need to try to function on Aug. 4th in a classroom that cannot be cooled by an antique air conditioning unit while administrators and their secretaries all sit in glass-enclosed offices cooled by newly installed air units.
A good teacher is one who is artistically and creatively inspired to keep up a continual pace. His/her day with students requires more constant patient and high level attendance to the task than most any other profession. Teachers NEED a three-month rest period to operate at peak performance for the next nine months. Children NEED summers off. It is the happiest memory that most all of us have of our youth. Children also NEED is the most beneficial exercise for learning and behavior control and it is the highlight of most students' school day! Attending school in early August causes both teachers and students to become burned out even before the cool weather arrives.
This schooling trend toward a more and more hectic scheduling of what can be accomplished in six hours daily has long since reached the point of diminished returns. The students and teachers are put under ever-increasing pressure to meet goals while operating in a constantly shifting schedule-juggling act. It is a formula for nothing but failure...a mission impossible. ...because it ALL subtracts from instruction time. No wonder achievement is not happening, and to improve it, what do they do?? ..add more goals, more pressure, more days with interruptions, more hoops to jump through...subtracting even more instructional time. And why is this? ..because the main decision-makers and writers of articles do not have the perspective of what it's like to be inside the 100 degree heat because of an extended school year and know the feeling of STILL not being able to adequately finish one day's lessons within the period of any given month during the school term.


Article Comment sheatherly commented at 8/26/2011 5:34:00 PM:

And the proponents of the "summer school" concept need to go stand on black asphalt in August for a mandatory bus duty every afternoon for 45 minutes for one week...after having just given SIX hours of "their all" to a group of students. It is a job assignment equivalent to that of a highway construction worker.


Article Comment remy commented at 8/26/2011 10:10:00 PM:

@sheatherly.....Awesome comment! you said it better than I think I could have. Lets get all that extra crap out of the classroom and get down to the basics. There are too many distractions in the classroom right now. There is nothing wrong with school starting after Labor Day weekend. It almost feels like an American tradition. who goes to school in August? Lol. Save some money and keep the schools closed while it's still blazing hot.


Article Comment catfishcharliedawg commented at 8/27/2011 5:36:00 PM:

@sheatherly...You are right on. My wife retired with 31
years for the exact reasons you give in your stastement. Why educated people cannot see what we are doing to our teachers is beyond me. Teachers are getting out by the boat loads as soon as they can because they are being asked to teach more with less time and less support. Well stated @Sheatherly.


Article Comment sheatherly commented at 8/29/2011 1:50:00 PM:

Because, ccdawg, the focus is not put on the common sense basics of the actual teachers' and students' needs any longer. The emphasis is put on going in 1001 different directions at once, a day camp filled to the brim with activities, how to raise ach. test scores through more interferences (instead of simply providing ample teaching time), boasting about 'cutting edge innovation', what other programs can be installed to gain more grant or fed/state money which further detracts from an already too busy schedule, and everyone jumping through new hoops of whatever new law/mandate has been put into place, such as "No Child Left Behind", which do not help.
If "teachers" were the ones considered having any importance at all, THEY would have been the ones invited to the Market Street balcony parties.. instead of administrators, school board members, city council members, attorneys, the mayor, and other city dignitaries.


Article Comment justinrsutton commented at 9/8/2011 9:50:00 PM:

Well, these have been interesting comments to read...

First of all, Cameron, I don't know of any powerful teacher unions in Mississippi. There are some in other states and national unions, but many other states and communities have year round school. Teacher unions are not strong in Mississippi.

As far as saying teachers would not want to give up their time off, do you think the answer is sending kids to school even more days? Students and teachers need time to decompress and step away from the classroom. The same is probably true for most professions. Americans bust their rears, and I am not sure that always makes us better workers. As far as allowing students and teachers to decompress, you can still do this with year round school by taking all of the time off in the summer and spread it throughout the year.

As far as worrying about daycare, vacation and custody schedules, why should the school feel as if they have to suit the scheduling needs of all. Everyone should work their schedule into the school schedule. Schools are not a babysitting service. They are there to educate the next generation. Make your vacation/custody schedules work around school. I also have a feeling that since daycares are a business, they will figure out how to still make money if a school calendar changes.

Teachers have a difficult task. They serve multiple masters, and many times, these masters are asking for different things. Many teachers give up much more than people ever know. Many teachers reach into their own pockets when funds are not available for them. Many teachers give up time with their own families in children to take care of the children in the community. When a teacher works a back to school night, stays late tutoring, or takes tickets at a football game, they are giving up time with their kid and family for your child to be successful.

What do teachers usually get for that? They get a good bit! They often get to be the butt of jokes, thought of as lazy and incompetent, assumed to be poor, and disrespected too much by parents and students.

With that said, teachers should be held to high expectations. Teachers who struggle should be forced to improve or get out the game. At the same time, educators should be able to expect the best out of their communities who demand it from teachers. Communities and parents should support the schools, and they should find ways to be partners with them. It is a two-way street, and both owe each other the best. Everyone involved in the process should be held to high standards. That includes teachers, students, parents, administrators and other stakeholders.

Sorry for the book...


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