Browsing twitter the other day and I noticed a Think Progress article on Outdated School Schedules. Are school schedules outdated? YES! Casey Quinlan makes a glaring mistake at the start of her opinion piece.
“The vast majority of parents — 70 percent — work full-time from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., but the median closing time for a school is 2:30 p.m. On top of that, schools are closed 80 percent longer than the typical worker receives in paid holidays and vacation time, which works out to 13 more days off than parents have, according to an analysis from the Center for American Progress.”
Schools do have schedules that do not mirror our workers, should they? Absolutely not, a work day is longer than a school day should be, it is not age appropriate to have students at school in a rigorous academic program for 9 hours. By starting her opinion with this fact Quinlan is continuing the American assumption that schools should be the child care provider. Schools have become the dumping grounds for every social ill in the United States. Bullying is a problem? Schools need to address. Drugs? Address in schools. Social Media skills? Lets educate students in schools. Now the issue is child care costs and the needs of our working class. Instead of paying employees enough to pay for childcare or having work provided childcare options, it becomes a school issue.
Our society isn’t worried about doctors and dentists offices that only have appointment hours during the school day! Or the fact that many families choose to pull students out for family vacations or to help out with daycare. So the question arises how can we make a flexible school that assists families with their busy lives, honors the educational process and is respectful to teachers.
Why not build a school with no defined hours? Have it open from 7 am till 7 pm. Teachers can build their schedules with in those hours. Parents then can design their students schedules (and at the upper levels students can). This model would make all school look more like college. The school could utilize a blended instructional model. Students find quiet spots to work, when needed teachers find them to hone their skills. Student experiences would be scheduled but optional to all. ALL students could take the classes they desired as long as they kept up. (Instead of now having pre-selected elective classes where class choice eliminates other classes.)
Schools need to build more flexible learning models for students and teachers alike. Let’s work at building a model that values student learning not parents child care needs!