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Arne Duncan - Secretary of Education

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan wants longer school hours so American students can compete with the rest of the world.
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Arne Duncan
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Ok, how did my comment end up on the other video? I must have gotten up too early this morning.

As much as I think our Education needs focus and reform (my father is a University Prof. and says the kids are coming in entitled and lazy the last four years, and it's getting worse) I need to call Bullsheep on the 'Schools are based on the Agrarian Calendar' comment.

Here is a good blog about this:

http://www.eduskeptic.com/2009/01/agraian-calendar-no-its-not-hasnt-been-either/

and a quote or two to illustrate the point:

"Most crops are planted in early spring or late autumn. Harvesting is mostly from late August to early November. ... Calving and lambing happen in spring."

"The current schedule most school districts follow came about after the rural farming population headed for the cities ... ...The school buildings that were built to house this huge influx of children were like the factories–multi-storied buildings. The key thing that was missing in these buildings was air conditioning. Summer time heat and humidity was, and is, a deadly combination. In order to save children from attempting to learn in these stifling, unhealthy conditions, school calendars shut down during July and August, the hottest, most humid months of the year."

And rules designed for discipline even when they discourage learning.

This blog seems to argue in favor of the lengthened school year. There are places that have year-round school, with 2 week breaks for vacations. I know there's a district (or perhaps just a private school) that already does this in North Carolina, only because I taught at a camp that spanned 2 weeks, and we caught some kids from this locale that were able to attend a session during one of their breaks.

The other part of our current calendar is the teacher certification and summer school. We'd have to reconfigure, and real change is a hard sell.

Or Duncan and the Obama administration could jump on the Euro model (of socialism of course!) and make August the only vacation month.

Duncan is completely missing the point. The problem with education is that it relies on banking education. Freire made it all too clear that the best way to teach students is to have discussion based classes where students are engaged actively by the teacher and more importantly by each other, not lectured to day in day out. I'm currently a senior in high school and there is nothing that frustrates me more than being made to memorize arbitrary or decontexualized information instead of being introduced to new concepts. We have a focus on repetition not on understanding. There needs to be a system where kids have a stake in their education and are learning what they want to learn, not running our schools like a prison system and alienating our most brilliant students.

That brings me to the other major problem which is that there are few educational outlets for the gifted and talented. If you really think about it, it is the top 2.5% of the IQ spectrum that truly has an impact on the world. Yet out of our 84 billion dollar federal budget for education none of it goes to programs for these kids. Our system serves the average, not the exceptional, when it is the exceptional that really matter for our society.

Freire made it all too clear that the best way to teach students is to have discussion based classes where students are engaged actively by the teacher and more importantly by each other, not lectured to day in day out. I'm currently a senior in high school and there is nothing that frustrates me more than being made to memorize arbitrary or decontexualized information instead of being introduced to new concepts. We have a focus on repetition not on understanding. There needs to be a system where kids have a stake in their education and are learning what they want to learn, not running our schools like a prison system and alienating our most brilliant students.

Good to hear this articulated from someone in school! The issues you raise have grown since the 80s - since the greater reliance on testing. As an aside, when the SAT was 1st developed, the aim was to find a "diamond in the rough" student: one who may have attended the best public or private school, but who had a working brain and could understand analogies and solve problems.

From the receiving end of the current education standard, I have to say that it takes some work to convert students who have for years been learning by way of memorizing the right answer rather than connecting the dots. Even those who desire a more engaged education often resist a change to active learning. Thus, the changes in our education system must be implemented at every level.

Changes plus a revolution in college attendance: mandatory year off before progressing to college. Acceptance no longer based on tests but the application. This must consist of at least one essay - one that describes briefly what life was int he interim between high school and college and then expounds upon the individual's goals, how s/he plans to achieve them, and how higher education will factor in to this process.

Well I think everyone could stand to be educated in the same way that the exceptional students need to be.

I agree with the sister. Good to hear a HS that sees the real problems with the system. I have always a good contextual learner and a terrible at memorizing.

To this day, things like spelling plague me terribly because I was seldom introduced to a logical system that governed language, just asked to memorize words. i always thought I was a terrible language student because I just couldn't learn that way. It's part of what has always driven me to science and advanced math even though the social sciences are more in tune with my personality.

The only solutions we are offered are union busting, profit motive, and religion.

None of which seem like they will have any real impact on education except religion that has a negative impact.

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