Jamesb101.com

commentary on Politics and a little bit of everything else

While U.S. Schools cut back to Four Days…Chinese School are Six days a week…..

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[ Students in China, where schools give 30% more hours of instruction than in the U.S., take a college entrance exam. ]

In a country that prides itself on its smarts and resislance…we seem to be going backwards on educating our children…..

While I’m really not for steady six days a week schools….there has to be something wrong where we…. in this country… are going to four-day weeks for schools ….while Asian schools regularly send their student’s to school more hours and have better grades than our students…..

Our country which prides itself on individualism….is racing to fall behind in education, healthcare and well being while spending money on frivolous unneeded things while important things beg for money….

And it doesn’t seem that things are going to get better anytime soon…..

“He who labors diligently need never despair, for all things are accomplished by diligence and labor.” —Menander

How many days a year did the future Alexander the Great study with Aristotle? Did Socrates teach Plato on Saturdays as well as weekdays? During summer’s heat and winter’s chill?

Though such details remain shrouded in mystery, historians have unearthed some information about education in ancient times. Spartans famously put their children through a rigorous public education system, although the focus was on military training rather than reading and writing. Students in Mesopotamia attended their schools from sunrise to sunset.

In the face of budget shortfalls, school districts in many parts of the United States today are moving toward four-day weeks. This is despite evidence that longer school weeks and years can improve academic performance. Schoolchildren in China attend school 41 days a year more than most young Americans—and receive 30% more hours of instruction. Schools in Singapore operate 40 weeks a year. Saturday classes are the norm in Korea and other Asian countries—and Japanese authorities are having second thoughts about their 1998 decision to cease Saturday-morning instruction. This additional time spent learning is one big reason that youngsters from many Asian nations routinely out-score their American counterparts on international tests of science and math.

Some U.S. schools have figured this out. Those that boast extraordinary success with poor and minority youngsters typically surround them, like Mesopotamians, with learning from dawn to dusk. The celebrated Knowledge Is Power Program (KIPP), a network of over 80 charter schools around the country, subjects its middle-schoolers to 60% more instructional time than the typical public school—including eight-to 10-hour days, Saturday morning classes and abbreviated summer breaks.

More…….

“Summer learning loss” is no joke. When they return to school in late August or early September, many children, especially the least advantaged among them, have shed a sizable portion of what they had learned by May—a full month’s worth, by most estimates, adding up to 1.3 school years by the end of high school.

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March 21, 2010 Posted by | Counterpoints, Education, Government, Home, Law, Media, Other Things, The Economy, Updates | , , , , | 4 Comments

The ACORN tapes…looking for something, not really there?

The group ACORN, hired an outside counsel to investigate the infamous tapes shot by James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles in October, in which the two entered ACORN offices asking for advice…the tapes where later used by the GOP to disgrace the organization and it’s services ……The lawyer,  a former Massachusetts Attorney general, by the name of Scott Harshbarger reported this………

“We did not find a pattern of intentional, illegal conduct by ACORN staff; in fact, there is no evidence that action, illegal or otherwise, was taken by any ACORN employee on behalf of the videographers.”

Harshbarger did say some of the advice given by the staffers was “clearly inappropriate and unprofessional.” He advises the group to return its focus to community organizing and to hire an independent ethics officer.

Congress, riled by the Republicans after the tapes came out , has since reexamined its reluctance to have the group receive any federal funding…and the organization is now countersuing to ‘recoup its loses’…..

Was this a political ‘hit job’…or what?

December 7, 2009 Posted by | Law, Media, Politics | , , , , | 2 Comments

Congress balks at an addition 700 miles of border fence between Mexico and the United States……

By voting down an amendment by Senator Jim DeMint (R.SC), whose state doesn’t even sit on the border….to construct an additional 700 miles of high fencing in place of 300 miles of low rise fencing, and barriers…Congress has come to it senses, and backed away from the fierce right wing rhetoric,  and threats of action, that flowed last year about illegal immigration……seven border state congressmen asked, and received their wish, to have the amendment (and additional fencing) dropped from consideration by Congress.

In addition to other issues……the governments move to take land from private citizen’s (over 200) to construct  fencing and barrier’s has been a huge headache for the border states………Congress has asked the Homeland Security Department to consider other means of patrolling and securing the border……

October 11, 2009 Posted by | Law, Politics | , , , , , | Leave a comment