A short time ago, the Czar overheard a guy at the archery range bemoaning the state of American education (and well he should). However, one comment caught the Czar’s ear: we could solve all the problems in American education, and there are many, with one simple act: eliminate Summer Vacation. His reasons:
- Kids’ brains turn to oatmeal with any real time off.
- They would have significantly more time to learn basic facts.
- Teachers don’t need three months off with pay.
The Czar disagrees. Let us take those three arguments.
First, kids’ brains turn to oatmeal within minutes. Time has nothing to do with this process; rather, it’s the lack of stimulation during the off-times and the lack of practical application that does this. Frankly, the Czar can re-word his argument as such: It’s the teacher’s job to keep my kids engaged. No, pal: if you want your kids to stay smart, you need to keep them engaged and making connections all year long, not just during the summer hours. If your kids get dopey around June 30th, the fault, dear Horatio, lies not in the time off but in yourself.
Second, this is partially true. Kids could spend their time more effectively in class learning stuff. Know where most of their wasted time goes? It goes to preparing for, rehearsing, taking, and reviewing standardized tests. It goes to mandatory assemblies on bullying, cultural sensitivity, and pride enabling. These are, incidentally, things that parents like you have asked for. Don’t believe it? Listen to what parents bitch to teachers about. That’s right: it’s the teacher’s job to deal with your kids’ bullies. In case you missed out on the last 20 years of education, a bully is not the kid who hangs out in the bathroom and punches Tyler for his lunch money: it’s the kid who rolls his eyes and says What a dope when Tyler spaces out in his oral presentation because he didn’t do it.
We could go on and on. But if you want to reduce the wasted time in classrooms, you need to get involved with your kids’ education. Oh sure, you counter, you look over his homework and sometimes send off a snippy email to a teacher because your kid misspelled you’re just like you do. This is not being involved, any more than you play professional football by laying on the couch and tweeting angrily about an interception. Want to get involved? Show up at a school board meetingwhere the standardized tests are enforced, where the assemblies are planned, and where people make decisions that affect your kids when you don’t show up to meetings. Otherwise, you’re just bitching that you couldn’t be bothered.
Finally, the Czar’s wifeindeed, almost all of Gormogons can say thisis an educator and involved in school administration. The Czar would very much like to know where teachers get three months off. By the Czar’s math, not quite. The kids are dismissed for the Summer in mid-June, and the Czar’s wife continues with filing paperwork, doing coaching, participating in reviews, and taking part in post-mortem panels for what worked or did not work during the year until July. And most kids go back to school in mid-August now; the Czar’ wife, as well as her many colleagues, are back in school in early August setting up a classroom or two, unpacking supplies, writing detailed lesson plans, issuing supply lists based on those, doing planning meetings, orientations for the newest state or federal teaching standards witchery, and reviewing schedules and lists. These are fully-day activities.
Okay, so that leaves basically July as their only time off, which is spent doing seminars, conferences, andyessummer school for your little Tyler who needs remedial fraction teaching because he’s too stupid to survive to seventh grade without it.
Noticeably absent from this guy’s brilliant scheme to improve American education? Dismantling of the teachers’ unions and their eventual removal from the schools. Didn’t hear a word about that from this guy.
Божію Поспѣшествующею Милостію Мы, Дима Грозный Императоръ и Самодержецъ Всероссiйскiй, цѣсарь Московскiй. The Czar was born in the steppes of Russia in 1267, and was cheated out of total control of all Russia upon the death of Boris Mikhailovich, who replaced Alexander Yaroslav Nevsky in 1263. However, in 1283, our Czar was passed over due to a clerical error and the rule of all Russia went to his second cousin Daniil (Даниил Александрович), whom Czar still resents. As a half-hearted apology, the Czar was awarded control over Muscovy, inconveniently located 5,000 miles away just outside Chicago. He now spends his time seething about this and writing about other stuff that bothers him.