Sunday, January 30, 2011

How About A Longer School Year?

Taking a step back from the budget, I want to return to the topic of how to improve the education of our children: have the various BOEs ever considered lengthening the school year?  I don't know if it's the panacea for all that ails our educational system, but we might want to consider it.  As you are no doubt aware, the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) found that for 2009 the US once again ranks in the lower middle of the pack when it comes to reading and below average in math and science (for complete PISA results, see 2009 PISA Results).  And this is despite the US continuing to spend more per pupil than nearly any country on earth (secondary school per pupil spending) and despite the fact that US teachers are the highest paid on earth (for teacher average salaries by country see: Teacher Salaries By Country).

Given that many of the countries who outscore us on PISA appear to have longer school years, perhaps that is something that should be looked into?  Extending it to something like 200 days (as in Australia) or 220 days (as in Germany) should be possible without much additional cost to the township (in my simple view, teacher and most administrative positions are already paid for, so the main additional costs would be running the buses and keeping the building open).

Of course, in my mind, accountability and performance based pay should stand first and foremost in improving our children's education.  I find it pretty strange that a society which preaches capitalism and the power of the free market, should shield the members of the educational institution from its power.  In a free market, only the best teachers would educate our children - and at the lowest possible cost.

1 comment:

t3knoid said...

I am for it for selfish reasons...for being cheap that is...this would save me in summer camp cost.