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Pay no attention to the people behind the curtain

Monday, March 23, 2009

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

by folkbum

Al Campbell, curmudgeon, is writing about the Milwaukee Public Schools superintendent's new infatuation with year-round schooling for every student. At his MyCommunityNOW blog (his regular blog), Campbell writes,
I began wondering about just what would happen with year-round education?

Would we start this at the kindergarten level and continue it through the senior year of high school. If so, the typical 18-year-old would be about a 15-year-old when he or she graduated. Are they then going to be able to go on to college or trade school or get a job as an adult?

If we start year-round school at the freshman year of high school, students would graduate about nine months earlier than is currently the case. This would still seem to carry many of the same issues with it that were identified above.
He goes on like that--do we pay teachers more, those marshmallows won't roast themselves, and so on--apparently believing that "year-round schooling" means full-time, 52(ish) weeks a year, down-buckled students missing the joys of pick-up foursquare games and snow angels and tadpole drinking. Or whatever it is kids do in the park in the spring.

In fact, if Campbell had read even a little more than just the headlines of the articles discussing the superintendent's dreams, he would have learned what "year-round schooling" really means:
The year-round schedule does not increase the number of school days - about 175 a year - but shortens summer vacation and gives several longer vacations than during the conventional school year. Backers say it can reduce the problem of students slipping backward academically during the 10 weeks or so of the summer.
(A similar paragraph exists in the earlier story, too.)

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