Challenging believers in Jesus to think and act based on Bible truth.

Think and Act 6.4.14 – Schools and the End of the Year: Some Questions


I love education and I support educators in the incredibly difficult task they have. So, as you read, please don’t lump me in as a constant critic of education or types of education. What follows is based on my reactions over the past couple years of having school aged kids.

Tonight I am going to think out loud. That’s really my goal. I doubt this blog will influence education policy. However, for those who read, maybe this will affect how you think about education, life, and work. Here are a few thoughts I’ve been having about the end of the school year.

1. Is it just me or is a decent amount of time being wasted?

When kids come home and tell you about extra recess, watching movies, etc., my natural reaction is this: is there not anything left to do? Are there no more math problems to teach? Is there not something they could be challenged with they’ll get into in the next grade? Is there not one more good story to engage them, or one more good writing project to require?

Wasted time is a principle that I just don’t have time for. I figured out that I probably lost about 4 hours this school year between waiting at the bus stop for kids who weren’t on time and being stuck at a stop light on the way to school. If this principle was applied to school, it would be interesting to see the amount of wasted time.

I applaud teachers who make the kids work into the last week of the school year. I know you’re out there and I think it’s great.

2. Backing off down the stretch doesn’t prepare kids for future levels of education.

In high school and college we had these things called finals. They required students in every class to work hard through the end of the year. Sure you knew what finals you had to do well on and what ones you could take a little easy in order to get the grade you wanted, but you still had to study as the weather warmed up if you wanted your academic performance to meet good standards. Is there no way to somehow begin to instill this value in elementary school?

Over the past couple weeks I have casually asked our kids how much work they are doing is counting for anything. The answers? Very little, if any. This is NOT to say learning hasn’t been taking place. I do believe the teachers have been working hard, but I’d love to see a way to try to keep the kids focused to the end.

3. Backing off is a bad value in general.

If it’s okay to back off a bit toward the end of things, then let me ask this: What one of us wants to buy a car that was built at the end of the shift? Who wants to eat breakfast at a restaurant that was closed the night before by people who just didn’t quite make it through the finish line on their cleaning? Hmm…

4. I think school districts should have had to make up the days they missed this year.

Blizzard bags? Sorry, not a fan. Our son did his blizzard bags, which were extra assignments supposed to make up for days missed, AT SCHOOL! So, let’s see, we’re going to take away from regular learning time to do things we’re supposed to do to make up learning time?

Let’s do some math. Akron missed four more days than the five normally allowed (basic math says that’s 171 school days instead of 180). That’s a chunk. Five percent to be exact. I don’t see the harm in extending the school year. It happened a few years ago here in Akron and I think it should have happened again this year. The blizzard bags seemed like the easy way out and I had at least one teacher tell me they were against them and would have been in favor of extending the year. That’s what I like to hear!

Think. Well, it’s a bit late for me, but how can we push our kids well through the end of the school year when we think a biblical value is working hard and seeing commitments through?

Act. Strike up a conversation with someone you know. I’m sure educators would have some good insight, and I’d welcome it in areas where I am misguided in my thinking. Talking through things is a rational way to stir thoughts and bring improvement.

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