Times are hard, as we all know. Our political leaders are preoccupied, understandably, with job creation.
But if they don’t put reversing the decline of public education as the highest priority, their efforts to bolster the economy by creating jobs are doomed to fail.
If we want a preview of what comes when public education goes into a death spiral, just look south. After years of economic crisis, the once-vaunted University of California college system, formerly among the world’s most envied, has lost appeal, with many high school counselors now advising high-achieving, college-bound graduates against applying there, due to declining quality from lack of funding.
The implications are obvious: brain drain/fewer college students coming to the state → a reduced pipeline of well-prepared young workers for the labor market → less interest from businesspeople in locating or expanding in the state → reluctance of smart people to move to places where schools are subpar = no way out of economic malaise. (more…)
The summer weather has finally arrived in Oregon and summer vacation is in full swing. Some kids are camping, some are at summer camp. Many teachers are taking a much-needed break, while others are enrolled in summer courses.
Summer vacation has been a tradition in the United States since the mid-19th century, but as the students of the United States fall behind in reading, math and science, the trend towards year-round education is gaining momentum. Is it possible that summer vacation is a tradition that is doing more harm than good for our children? Could year-round school be the key to improving our struggling public education system?
Public schools in the United States haven’t always had a long summer vacation; in fact, in the 1800s different areas of our country had different school schedules. In the city schools were open as many as 48 weeks a year while rural areas had a summer and winter term for school and a fall and spring break allowing children to help with planting and harvesting on the family farm. In the 1840s, popular educational reformers like Horace Mann proposed a blending of the two schedules citing the belief that year-round school was over-stimulating to children’s minds, but that 2 semesters wasn’t enough. And so it was. The “traditional” calendar was born: a 9 month school year with a long summer break. (Source)