Everyone complains about the money being spent on education yet we still keep producing poor students and the number of drop outs. The irony is it always seems to be someone else’s school and everyone else’s kids. There is no doubt we are making poor use of our schools and failing to maintain them\. School buildings do not wear out, they are neglected. The following proposal should go a long way in addressing these issues and for the same cost.
There are 365 days in a year and approximately 261 week days of eight hours in an 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM workday allowing 1 hour for lunch. The national average school day is only 7 hours and in Maine, teachers are required to spend 180 days in school, not necessarily all of them in the classroom. According to a 2009 schedule I obtained from the School Department our teachers spend only about 4 of those hours actually teaching. The students are supposedly learning for 7 hours. That means the learning time in one year is 1,260 hours. If you allow 20 days for holidays during the year that leaves 241 days in which to accumulate 1,260 hours of learning. That means a little over 5 hours per day.
If you get an opportunity to quiz the average youth, they know little about anything outside their own sphere. They know little of American history, geography, and less about economics. Very few will employ mathematics beyond the basics and even there they have electronic gadgets.
At age 5 in kindergarten most children have a rudimentary knowledge of the language so teaching English grammar is a total waste because they will learn words and context on the streets from their friends, from television, radio, the movies, the internet and more recently their hand-held devices. Elderly Americans who are isolated from our youth are prone to believe that they are speaking a different language because they are. In short, if we stop teaching children what many already know and will never use that the actual learning day can easily be reduced to four hours.
Half the students being taught in the morning and the other half in the afternoon would double the capacity of the existing schools and make more efficient use of the school buses that sit idle most of the day. The only test for this or the existing system is one built around measuring a child’s ability to communicate and knowledge of the rules of a civilized society. A composition, graded on the Flesch -Kincaid scale would determine a student’s ability to become a member of society and either go on to college, a trade, or occupation at which one learns on the job.