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Antiquated school sytem doesn't fit American culture

Updated on June 8, 2011

Education system series part 1

My family can only function with both parents working. Like most families here in the U.S.A., inflation and spending has pushed us into two income households. Not to mention the backlash of feminism now trapping women in the workforce instead of encouraging moms to be able to raise their own children if they choose. My problem is with the school system, and the problems associated with having to "work" around school schedules. I have no idea when the last time our school systems had an overhaul in the way they are scheduled, but it must have been in the nineteen thirties before moms went to work. If you work a typical nine to five job, like most people do, here is the typical scenario we must deal with.

Wake the kid up at an ungodly hour (6:30am) drop kid off at school about 7:50am. Busy yourself somehow doing nothing in particular till 9:00am. Start work, have lunch at noon, kid gets out of school at 1:30pm. Uh oh, problem. Kid is out of school three and a half hours before you get off work. What now? Hmmm.

Option 1. Kid is 12 or older and can walk/get bussed home and is responsible enough to stay home alone without burning down the house. If your child is younger than this, option 1. wont work for you.

Option 2. Use an after-school program. Kid stays at school and is given more educational activities, and playtime. A safe alternative, and usually has a sliding scale to make it affordable for parents. Drawbacks: May not always have space available and not available for older kids in jr. high.

Option 3. Pay for a daycare person to pick up kid and keep safe in a home environment till you get off work.This is the most expensive option.

Option 4. Try to work different schedules from your spouse so that someone is available to pick up kids. This may result is a lower income from this spouse, or less sleep from working swing or night shift. This may also be frustrating trying to get family time when everyone is home at the same time. This seems to be the most common situation.

Option 5. You are lucky enough to have family or close friends take care of your children after school. If you're new to the area, or have no family, this is not an option.

Personally, I feel that just by tweaking the time frames in the current system there could be a great deal less stress for working families. What if kid started school at 9:00am just like you. You can always drop your kid off early to the school campus because they have attendants there usually at least thirty minutes before school starts to help with serving breakfast and monitor the playgrounds. At noon kid can have lunch just like you, then a long play break. Then maybe for the younger kids they can have a nap! I know lots of kids who need naps and function better after having one. With a new longer day in store, maybe for the next hour or so the kids can have art, or music, or crafts, or field trips, or whatever! Just keep them at school! The homeroom teachers can do their lesson planning and all that other teacher prep stuff while the art/music teachers have the kids somewhere else.Then finally kid's school day ends at 4:30pm. Attendants watch kids till 5:30 on playground till parents can pick them up.

I think extending the school day is an obvious solution to a big problem here in the U.S. The problem of kids having expensive or inadequate supervision before their parents get home and the problem of what to do for the kids in between a working parents schedule and the current school schedule. Personally, I tend to see school as the state's free daycare anyway. I think its rude to not keep them all day, but force us to figure out a way to care for the kids smack in the middle of a good honest work day. If regular daycare shut down in the middle of the day and you were forced to find other care because of it, you would have a hissy fit. But the state is allowed to do that to families, and no one does anything about it.

Now I understand that there are some advantages to having the kids out of school early in the day. For instance, going out of town early on long weekends, doctor appointments, and um, um (I'm thinking really hard) um, spending extra time with the kids?! But they way it's set up now you can take your kid out early for these things anyway. So its not like you'd be really put out if they were to change to an actual all day schedule. I hate it when the school calls 2:30pm all day schedule, maybe on the planet of part time jobs, but not for the real world. If you live just fine with a part time job and want to get your kid early maybe there could be a choice built into the system. Full time working parents could choose a real full day schedule like in my example above, and part time workers, or stay at home moms could choose the part day schedule.

In conclusion I'm really just saying that if education is really ever going to be good for families, it needs to be updated to today's needs, and be flexible. Besides, if our kids are really ever going to be as smart as the kids in China and Japan that they are so worried we keep up with, it sure wouldn't hurt to use the whole day to educate them, instead of this silly half day stuff. Then maybe for once American kids would come out ahead of the class!


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    • BkCreative profile image

      BkCreative 8 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      There is soooo much that has to be changed in our school system. I've taught for what seems like a thousand years and now sub sometimes - and the bottom line is always $$$$$!

      We are not a world class educational system - we still cannot truly teach the metric system which the world uses. And we are low in literacy rankings in the world. Singapore is always ranked number one. Even S. Korea is way ahead of us with a literacy rate of about 97 percent - and they are number 2 in the world in technology while we are 16th.

      I've taught in S. Korea over a 4 year period and I appreciated many of the ideas I saw - like providing real food for lunch - not junk like our schools - which should be a priority (teachers told me that Korean mothers work very hard and they need to know that their children are getting a full, fresh, nutritious meal - don't we deserve that?) I appreciate the rotation of teachers every 5 years - to spread the wealth of experience. There is so much more.

      But the most marked difference is that S. Korea spends the money because they are in the business of educating all their children while we are in the business of saving money.

      Antiquated is right.