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Opening Arguments

School times

Former Fort Wayne educator Eugene White is shaking things up in Indianapolis:

INDIANAPOLIS - From 180 days a year in school to 210? That is what IPS Superintendent Eugene White thinks middle school students need. As he expected, White's idea is meeting immediate controversy.

IPS middle schools were closed Wednesday so that teachers could get some extra training. Middle school students will get an extra six weeks of classroom instruction each year, if White's idea becomes a reality.

"We need additional instructional time," White said.

Basically, kids would have only July off. I'm not sure what I think about this yet. I know our school calendar was based on an agricultural society that no longer exists, but it's not clear that teaching students longer is a good substitute for teaching them better.

Posted in: Hoosier lore


tim zank
Thu, 02/22/2007 - 6:17am

If your kids (like mine) are involved in spring or fall sports, July is the only month they really have "off" now.

Bob G.
Thu, 02/22/2007 - 8:41am

We forget that there IS that part of the school population that simply will not allow themselves to BE taught.

"You have to attend class first to even consider passing the course" is a favorite saying of my wife (a HS teacher).

You can't teach any child "better" if they don't show up and if the parents are not held accountable.

Having kids attend a longer "year" simply won't fly for those kids....they don't even have the fortitude to make an effort in the current year.

(my $.02)


Jon Olinger
Thu, 02/22/2007 - 1:30pm

I think he is going the wrong way. Either we need to go back to the "Memorial Day to Labor Day" schedule it used to be or.. go all year around with a six week on, three week off schedule all year. We have gained nothing except a more expensive school system by going 180 days. The last two weeks of school is movie and play time in most public schools, Leo and BG are right, its quality of curriculum, quality of instructor, and quality of parent that leads to a quality student.

tim zank
Thu, 02/22/2007 - 2:29pm

No No No Jon, All we need to do is throw another 600 to 800 million into "education friendly" surroundings and they'll all turn into Rhodes Scholars...

Bobett Kelley
Thu, 02/22/2007 - 2:42pm

The system has made this about money.
Why is it more important to go 210 days vs
the 180 days? Does this really improve the quality in education. It depends on individual student needs. My son will graduate with Academic Honors 47 credits
instead of 40 the middle of his Senior year.
That means he does not need to do all this time for the sake of it. Everybody is different. Let's look at common sense and
individuals, instead of doing time.

Thu, 02/22/2007 - 3:08pm

I also like year around school with 6 weeks on anbd 6 off. I also would suggest school times of 07;00 to 16;00,then perhaps the students would not have such a heavy home work assignment and could enjoy their evenings with hopefully their families. One does not need a masters degree to realize the waste of buildings and the waste of money under the present system that is imposed upon us by the unions and the educational bureaucarcy.

Bobett Kelley
Thu, 02/22/2007 - 3:53pm

We in Indiana need to come to a meeting of the minds, if your student needs the extra time...fine...sign-up.

Please allow the rest(majority) of the parents to spend quality time exploring family education during the summer, camps,
and extra curriculiar activities as we deam and mot mandated by the educational system.

I for one think the End school date should be last weekend of May and come back the first week in September.

I'm open for the new generation of parents to have time with educating their children outside of the educational system 6 weeks on and 6 weeks off. But we live in a nanny state where the government has to take care of us all. It's in the best interest of the minority and at everyones beck and call. Pull up your boot straps the next decade is gonna get bumpy.

Steve Towsley
Thu, 02/22/2007 - 6:13pm

Read Ray Bradbury's DANDELION WINE and then tell me how kids don't need the summer off.

I also wonder whether a percentage of kids don't learn enough during the current year because of attention deficits.

To the degree that were so, a longer year would have the exact opposite of the desired impact -- a negative rather than positive effect on total learning, I guarantee it.

Be sure what the problem is before installing your solution, folks.

tim zank
Fri, 02/23/2007 - 5:40am

"Be sure what the problem is before installing your solution, folks."

Uh, that would require a modicum of common sense, free of monetary influences and board agendas.
What you are suggesting would actually be good for the students and education in general, good GOD man, what were you thinking!!!!!!

Fri, 02/23/2007 - 7:50am

I've known plenty of teachers who say valuable classroom time is lost to ISTEP and No Child Left Behind and all this sort of crap. The testing itself might take only a couple of days but the time devoted to teaching kids how to pass the tests -- which is of no value educationally -- has actually shortened the school year.

tim zank
Fri, 02/23/2007 - 9:38am

Alex...Sounds like a teachers union response to me.

Fri, 02/23/2007 - 7:41pm


Dave Sanders
Sat, 02/24/2007 - 9:47am

I like Bobett's comment. Lets extend the university system down to the 9th grade. Once you get to high school, you take the courses that you need to graduate. If you can do it in 2 years, all year round - congrats, you're free.

Along with this, increase the electives that kids can take so that they can be prepared for a job after high school. Personally, I think that everyone should go work (or better, work in public service) for a year or two after high school, THEN go to college. Might produce smarter, more focused college grads too.

Jon Olinger
Sat, 02/24/2007 - 11:29am

"The testing itself might take only a couple of days but the time devoted to teaching kids how to pass the tests -- which is of no value educationally -- has actually shortened the school year."

So time spent teaching kids what we want them to know has no education value... yep sounds like a union response to me too..

BTW Tim... Indianapolis already floated their 800 million dollar bond. That is obviously why their student achievement is so successful...oh.. Wait... their scores are lower than ours... never mind:)

Tue, 02/27/2007 - 6:36pm

Perhaps the test scores reflect more on the teachers ability, or lack of, than the student body. Could we get the union to ask for teachers pay be based upon the class scores? It seems to me that we need more incentive on teaching and less on palaces. The private and parochial schools should be looked at as great examples of HOW TO !