by Olga LaPlante
Glad to be the first to get the wind of this news - although it's all over the web. And you thought Arne Duncan was just another pretty face...
Here is a brief account of the new conversation that the President and the Federal DOE is starting. I think that this thought is not particularly new. I also think that the biggest question is, how will all this play out if they follow through on the initiative?
Teacher salaries are relatively low - even though job security seems to be a huge advantage these days, and teacher jobs are generally less volatile than the private market, plus the benefits, of course. But the big attraction for teachers is the summer vacation. I wonder how that will be affected by the proposed change.
I also wonder how most parents will react. If they are like me, they might be simply elated - provided the programs offered aren't just more teaching to the test, and do include enrichment activities.
What about the largest affected population - the students? If you have a younger child, he or she will not know the difference, at that age they are the most excited and fun group in the whole K-12. Older kids may display more resistance - and if they hate it during the shorter day, they might hate it more or as much during the longer day, only they will feel more miserable. I am just trying to say that it's important that the additional time - if added, indeed, - needs to be meaningful, no doubt.
Finally, who will pay for this? If your child goes to an afterschool daycare, well, that lady will face lean times! If you don't have to pay for that daycare any more - well, aren't you going to be happy about it? I know I will be.
On a larger scale, it will be taxpayers anyhow. It's always the taxpayers, isn't it? So, given the budget deficit, what do the President and the Education Secretary get their way? How will that sit with the possible shutdown days as contemplated by the DOE of Maine? Tough times require extraordinary solutions.