Andrew is one of my many “adopted” children. All of my adopted children have two requirements to fit the category: they have to have a decent human soul and I have to really like them. Andrew has always been special in these two ways. It helps that he also keeps up with what is going on around him. He decided to write about something he’s been following and graciously allowed me to post his thoughts. Here are those unedited thoughts from one of the sweetest guys you could ever meet. DebV
They Call It Education
Before I get on a soapbox here about school and legislative agendas let me tell you a little about myself. I am a 24 year old Alabama guy who graduated in 2007 from one of the best public schools in the state - not that it means much anymore. I was always one of the ones who hated school and got a lot of my feelings about it from Momma Deb. In 2006 the Legislature passed SB210 to amend the Code of Alabama 1975 - in regards to the number of instructional days for the school year - to get state funds which every school system needs to be able to operate, therefore making the longer year mandatory starting with the 2006-2007 school year, link here.
Like I said I graduated in 2007 so my senior year was the first year of the longer school year. For the first 12 years of my school career I was going 175 days. Back then I saw no sense in going the 5 extra days cause what more can you learn in 5 days, especially when I had teachers that didn't care. I had 3 good teachers my entire high school life: Mr. Dexter Greenhaw, my band instructor, Mr. Jerome Ward, my assistant band director and English 12 teacher, and Mr. Keith Wright my government and economics teacher. In fact I disagreed with a lot of them, but kept my mouth shut so I would not get in trouble.
Five years removed from the public indoctrination system I still do not see any reason why we have kids go to school 180 days. A lot of people like to say we should go as long as kids do in Japan where they achieve higher testing results. What they fail to point out is that the education system and culture in Japan is so much different than it is here in the United States. They are taught so much about respect that they bring shame on their families if they are not respectful to their elders or teachers. Another thing is that once they complete the 8th grade, formal education is optional and they have to apply and pay tuition just like we have to for college. This means the young adults in high school over there actually want to be there unlike here where it is pretty much mandatory to have a piece of paper from a college saying you payed them money.
If you have been following the Alabama Legislature this session you will have noticed a certain bill, House Bill 360, introduced, passed, vetoed, and finally overridden that sets a start date no earlier then 2 weeks before Labor Day and must end the Friday before Memorial Day. Superintendents in the state are bitching that the condensed calendar will force them to cut out all breaks except the federal mandated ones. (link) What they fail to bring up is that the required 1,080 instructional hours when divided by the standard 8A.M. to 3P.M. 7 hour day means you only have to be in school for 155 days. If you take out 30 minutes for lunch and 5 minutes to change classes, based on a 7 class schedule you can just add an extra hour to the day and you still get out at 4. Another way is to add 30 minutes and you only have to go 167 days, which will allow you to still have the breaks in the calendar.
Another thing that people gripe about is that our education is so far behind. That is because we have gotten to the point where we rely so much on standardized testing that the kids can't learn their own way or at their own pace. I mean we have DIABLES, ACT, SAT, AHSGE, etc. All kids learn differently and what works for one may not work for the other. Take me and my brother, Brett; We can have a discussion and he will use things against me I had no idea existed but I don't doubt his claims because I know that he has researched it from multiple sources. He is one of the brightest people I know but he didn't spend a lot of time in the public school system.
What I am trying to say to people complaining about the lack of public indoctrination is this: Instead of teaching to a test and depending on others , how about you get off your lazy rear and start being a part of a more enlightened future instead of sitting on your rear and just letting people do whatever they want. Please feel free to email me at Jakermish@yahoo.com with any questions, comments, or anything else you want to know.
Until next time,