Saturday, September 7, 2013

Education in the News #hashtag

Greetings Mr. Ross. Last time it rained really hard, it started raining inside the second floor hallway in the School of Education. I'm not sure if they fixed the roof or if next time it rains really hard, we're going to have a similar leak. I am just saying... in case you hadn't noticed.

In unrelated news, I like Arne Duncan. He's talking about how high schools should start later in the day because the science indicates that students learn better when they have been able to sleep a full night. What Arne is talking about matches up with what I read in Brain Rules. In Chapter 7, Medina writes "When sleep was restricted to six hours or less per night for just five nights, for example, cognitive performance matched that of a person suffering from 48 hours of continual sleep deprivation." So, that means that means that by the time Friday rolls around, students are hardly functioning.

It makes me wonder if giving a test on a Friday is a good idea. How accurate would the results be? If I give students a test on Monday, then I might see lower scores because students would forget things in between the previous class's review session and the exam. However, the lower scores might be a more accurate gauge of their long term retention. If I give a test to a sleep-deprived adolescent on Friday afternoon, then the lower score might be the results of the environmental stresses from a lack of sleep rather measuring diminished cognitive functioning.

Starting school an hour later seems like a great idea. The only problem is that it would mean that school ends an hour later. That means football practice runs an hour later. The practice for the musical runs later. Students work an hour less at their part-time job. In the end students might just end up sleeping in an hour later but staying up an hour later, too. There is a simple fix. Make the school day shorter. Now, a new problem has arises. How do you fit in the necessary number of instructional hours? Simple. Make the school year longer. Summer vacation suddenly becomes a month shorter. It sounds inconvenient for teachers, but it is important to remember the purpose of schooling. A school system should be focused on educating children, not making life easier for it's employees.

I wonder how much more expensive it would be to have a longer school year.

Moving on to the next topic, one Arkansas school district is arming teachers. This just seems like an awful idea. I can imagine why large schools might want to have an armed security guard. I can even fathom rural school districts, where police response time might be slow, arming certain administrators. I cannot begin to understand how a school with dozens of guns is going to create a safe environment for schools.

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