Say Nay to a Longer School Day

April 7, 2010
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Summer vacation is one of the most American traditions in our nation, being up there with baseball, hot dogs, and even apple pie. Whether it be summer camp, swimming in a pool or at the beach, or plain old family bonding time, summer traditions epitomize our great nation. Now imagine this original American lifestyle being taken away. Removing summer vacation from the school schedule would be like killing a person’s livelihood.

This expulsion of summer vacation from children’s lives is one of President Obama’s goals to accomplish for education reform in his administration. This decision, coupled with longer school days throughout the nation, would be detrimental to our children’s health and livelihood. According to the White House, the reason behind these education reforms is to compete with other countries in the future job markets, because teenagers in countries such as China or Japan perform much better on standardized tests than American students. Obama believes that these two reforms will boost the academic achievements of American students.

Summer vacation is a time for relaxation; a time when kids are relieved from the stress of school and have a long period of free time to pursue their interests, without a highly regulated schedule that is common during the current school year. This allows kids to grow as people and be independent. Also, students use the summer months to hone their abilities in activities that they could not participate in during the school year due to weather, or lack of available time. Swimming, sailing, and other outdoor sports that kids cannot take part in during the school months are played during the summer, and if we don’t allow our kids to get better at the things they love, what will they be? Collective drones whose only activities in life will be going to school and doing schoolwork? Even intellectual things are discovered by children on their own during the summer. By only learning required subjects during the school year does not stimulate kids’ minds.
If school days were longer, kids would be extremely tired at the end of the day, more so than they are now, making the school day not conducive to learning. By making the day longer, children would have less of a will to learn and will be even more stressed and frustrated with work. The lengthened school day would backfire, leading to a decrease in student scores and attentiveness in school because of this lack of sleep, stress, and frustration. Adding to this the importance of extracurricular activities in the life of the American teenager, there is no way children could be more successful in their school lives with longer days. Extracurricular activities are what help propel many teens to their choice of colleges, thereby becoming a standard part of the school lives of most upper- and middle-class teenagers. It is a proven medical fact that regular exercise, which many students achieve through extracurricular sports, keeps people happier, healthier, more awake, and more focused. With a school day lengthened to end an hour after it does now, that leaves less time for kids to do their extracurricular activities, and more time doing unnecessary homework which just causes frustration and a decrease in focus. How are we to have a well-rounded society if children are stuck doing needless work all week?
Another point I would like to add is that everyone has ways to relieve stress, whether it be exercise, music, or just rest. Obama’s proposed school day leaves little time for children to do such activities, and adds even more stress because more learning during the day leads to more work at night. Though it pains me to say this, I think suicide rates among teenagers might increase as a result of implementing this plan. With that amount of stress, there’s only so much a kid can take. Take South Korea for an example, a country which places high pressure on teens to perform well in school and compete with one another. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, South Korea has the highest suicide rate of any member country, members being some of the largest economic powers in the world.





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This article has 12 comments. Post your own now!

jcash said...
May 18, 2012 at 11:15 am
from what i heard obama might increase school year by 50 days
 
RockGirl182 said...
Jan. 28, 2011 at 6:13 am
* much longer
 
RockGirl182 said...
Jan. 28, 2011 at 6:12 am
I really like this article because I go to school in France and the school days are much. I have school most days until 5:00 pm and about 2 hours of homework in the evening and even more on weekends. But the good thing is that every 6 weeks we get 10 days off.  I would never want to NOT have summer vacation, to sit in a class-room in the heat, and to have to work... no way ! 
 
MarissaLaGrange said...
Jan. 11, 2011 at 7:50 am

As a student who attends High-School I love your article, but I'd give my Summer vacation up if that meant I only had to go to school twice a week.

But as of right now I think we should keep Summer vacation, because your right it's very stressful for kids, and to be honest I think we go to much, and are expected too much of.

~*Rissa*~

 
Israel70717 said...
Jan. 6, 2011 at 3:55 pm
I would have to say that that plan is wack! most kids dont even pay attention in the last hour of school as it is! To add another hour or couple hours would make students and teachers really frustrated. We all need our summer vacation! Without this summer vacation I'm sure that students will no longer go to school!
 
TerryBerry15 said...
Dec. 15, 2010 at 11:45 am
Yes.,I feel you o n this no more longer scool days.!
 
Chris1001 said...
Nov. 23, 2010 at 7:33 pm
I really disagree on this education refom plan, if summer vacation was taken away and longer school days it would be terrible it would be total chaos we would have less family time first i thought he would be a great president but now I hope he doesn't get a second term, hey I hope they impeach him. i vote: Heck, no! anyone agree with me?
 
702mcb said...
Oct. 28, 2010 at 3:15 pm
More school, I would vote no for this act. Ever since school was thought of, there has been summer. In this article, you describe summer as being fun. For most teens it is not relaxation, but it is work. The majority of teens have summer jobs. I would rather be working than to be at school. Korea has the highest suicide rate because the citizens there have no time to have fun or work. these people are spending their time lock in class rooms. 
 
earlybird_8 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Aug. 27, 2010 at 12:27 pm
Of course, what the Obama administration may be neglecting to mention is that countries like South Korea have many parents who pay extra money to have their students study at "western" style schools. While many asian countries train their students to do well on standardized tests, they teach little else beyond rote memorization. Kids in the western world are learning useful stuff, just not the kind that help in the limited world of standardized tests. Perhaps government should take t... (more »)
 
college@15 said...
Jul. 29, 2010 at 12:19 am
I agree.  This goal is an absurd goal to achieve.  The reason Obama, who will hopefully not be reelected, says he wants to do this is to compete with countries that do better on Standardized tests.  These tests do not truly test a person's intelligence, they test their ability to regurgitate information that has been pounded into their heads, and then forget what they were told.  The fact that society requires these tests to get anything done and relies so heavily upon them i... (more »)
 
Erin@ESAcademy replied...
Nov. 24, 2010 at 7:00 am
I like the year round school plan that doesn't add days but just shifts our breaks around to 9-weeks of school then 3-weeks off. I want some of my 'summer vacation' in the winter so I can ski.
 
mejia replied...
Nov. 27, 2010 at 9:29 pm
I think going to school all year is a great idea. Often times during the summer break children get in trouble and forget a great deal of what they learned before the break. This will also save famiies money who have young children in that they are not hiring a full time nanny or paying for day care expenses.
 
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