President proposes longer school year to boost education

Due to increased pressure from our nation’s economic competitiors, President Barack Obama says he wants students in the United States to attend school longer than the current 180 days a year. Obama recently pointed out that American students are falling behind in the areas of mathematics and science. In 2009, for example, the U.S. students ranked 11th in science and ninth in mathematics according to a Trends in International Mathematics and Science study.

“I don’t feel like a longer school year would be a bad thing because we would still have breaks. It wouldn’t feel any different,” senior Melody Karycki said. “I think it’s sad because we have so many opportunities, and I feel that we could really further our education.
Junior Lauren Brown disagrees.

“I have a friend in England who goes to school year-round and she doesn’t like it,” Brown said.

In England, the school year is 10 months long. Brown also said it is better to go to school and get it all done at once instead of going all year.
In Singapore, the 2009 world leader in science, students attend school 100 more days a year than their U.S. counterparts. In Taiwan, the world’s math leader, students attend school from 8 a.m. to 8 or 9 p.m.

Math teacher Sabrina Nobili says year-round school would be the best option because kids would be better rested and also be able to retain more information. But Nobili added that many don’t share that view.

“I feel that education is a top priority in other countries compared to the U.S. because in several other countries students go to school more hours and days of the week, and teaching is regarded as a highly respectable profession,” she said.

“Although many people in America think teaching is regarded as a highly respectable profession, the priorities of the majority of the American people are focused towards movies, music, sport games, video games, smart phones, etcetera. These distractions inhibit education from being a top priority. Of course entertainment is important, but homework and studying should come first.”

Debra S. Blenis, Director of Teacher Education at the Florida Institute of Technology, agreed that education is not a high enough priority.
“I think American students are capable of outperforming the entire world if given the right tools, but, in general, the American public does not value education enough to implement the reform needed to make a change,” Blenis said.
“Our American culture places emphasis on extrinsic rewards in education — scores, grades and rankings. Instead, we need to change our focus to the intrinsic values of education. In other words, we need to learn to love to learn.”