Blog > Arne Duncan on Social Stu…
Arne Duncan on Social Stu…
@GrantEval: Arne Duncan on Social Studies, with responses by NCSS leaders: http://bit.ly/jpHfzo
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  1. Seda | July 7, 2015

    I’m against leongr school days and leongr school years, mainly because the hard evidence shows they aren’t cost-effective and don’t produce better learning outcomes for kids. I’m for better time management and better use of the generous resources we already have in school.I’m for stickin’ to our knittin’ core academic subjects with art, music and PE and squeezing out all the time-wasters by simply not allowing enough time in the school day for them to take place.I’m for splitting the 8-to-5 day in half, continuing to fund the schools for half-days, and give each student a voucher for the equivalent of 25% of today’s total bill to spend on half-day short courses of the kids’ and parents’ own choosing. Right off the bat, we’ve cut K-12 education costs by 25% and that HAS to be a good thing.It’d be great for educational freedom. We’d be letting the kids in the bottom half of the spectrum spend time in class in the morning, and the kids in the top half spend time in class in the afternoon (or vice versa doesn’t matter).On their half-days off, they will be free for complementary education activities at home, at part-time private schools, performing art studios, fine art studios, online course work, homeschooling co-ops, on-site learning of all kinds, math enrichment programs, science-related job shadowing activities, music studios, in programs led by nonprofit organizations, at their churches, at nature centers, sports teams, etc. etc. They can do these on a contracted basis for cheaper than it would cost to pay certificated employees to teach these at school plus, they would get to learn from subject-matter experts and learn a lot more than they can learn from education majors, who are not experts in the content fields they teach, for the most part, and often don’t even know as much as their students.This would be good for both the strong students and the struggling ones. Then a kid who’s getting D’s and F’s in his or her core academic classes doesn’t have to spent ALL day feeling like a failure half of that day, he or she can do the things that bring confidence, happiness and success, which are taught in different ways and evaluated in different ways, which is better for the different kids who are very smart, just not school smart and when they have a chance to shine, that will by definition spill over into that half-day of academic life that now doesn’t seem so dreary.Meanwhile, the brighter kids won’t have 90% of the ADHD and behavior problems they have now because they won’t be bored out of their skulls waiting so that no child will be left behind, and can learn alongside kids whose academic skills and motivations are closer to their own.It’s the only way I can see to save our public schools, cut K-12 costs significantly, and still lurch forward into the 21st Century, as we should’ve started doing a long time ago.With leongr school days and year-round schooling, we run the risk of school sour among students and teachers alike if we extend their structured time in school. And as you point out, we really cannot afford all the cascading consequences of extra staff time, benefits, pensions, utility bills, etc.I’m a big fan of complementary education learning experiences that take place out of school hours. My website is full of ideas for the home, Scout groups, babysitters, informal play groups for older kids, cheap or free mini-field trips, etc. That’s the future of education, as I see it: use school to brings kids up to specs meet state standards which by definition 50% of the kids do on Day One each school year and set them free for a half a day to devise more individaulized, quality learning activities at a lesser cost to taxpayers.

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