Summertime then and now ...

Discussion in 'The Golden Era' started by tonyb, Aug 12, 2019.

  1. tonyb

    tonyb Vendor

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    A voice coming over the car radio this morning informed me that many of the school districts in the region commence classes tomorrow, August 12.

    August 12? Really? The forecast is for clear skies and temperatures in the 90s every day this week. Do we really expect the kids to sit still for the schoolmarm when Old Ma Nature offers a much more compelling vision?

    We’re not the same society we were in, say, 1940. The U.S. population is roughly 250 percent of what it was then. We weren’t mostly farmers 80 years ago, but a much larger percentage of us were, and most of us weren’t more than a generation or two removed from the farm.

    So yeah, I get it — school calendars suiting an agrarian society maybe don’t work so well for an urbanized one. And maybe it doesn’t suit rural people so much anymore, either, seeing how agriculture is much more mechanized than it was. So large numbers of strapping young people likely wouldn’t find work on the farm even if they wanted it.

    I lived for summer when I was a kid. I worked from any early age, and I was involved in activities such as drum and bugle corps, so it wasn’t that I sat around the house all summer long, watching TV and forgetting all I’d learned the previous school year.

    A waaaay disproportionate share of my fondest memories are of events that occurred in the month of August. When I hear that kids will be consigned to classrooms before the month is half through I’m tempted to search the Bible or the U.S. Constitution for some injunction against the practice.

    It just ain’t right. It just ain’t.
     
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  2. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    I would have jumped off a bridge if school started in mid-August. It was hard enough trying to concentrate on school during the last summery days of mid-September.
    I seriously doubt going back to school in August makes one single kid smarter, more motivated, or more excited about learning, but I'm willing to bet cash money that it makes them more truculent, more demotivated, and more resentful.

    Last year one of the local districts did away with the fun of snow days by requiring kids to log into a class website and do lessons on their computers. The resentment from kids was palpabale: "First you tell us to limit our screen time, then you assign us more screen time! What's it gonna be??"

    I'm convinced it's not actual educators who are behind this -- it's fanatical local school board members with an axe to grind, parents looking for free babysitting, and The Boys From Marketing looking for an excuse to start Back To School sales in June.
     
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  3. tonyb

    tonyb Vendor

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    Stay-at-home parents are a rarity these days (just try supporting a family on a typical working-class income in this day and age!), so yeah, the desire for free day care is a big part of it.

    I don’t think the education researchers are lying (necessarily) when they report that kids really do forget perhaps too much of what they’ve learned when they go three solid months without it being actively reinforced.

    But kids gotta learn things better learned outside of a formal educational setting. And they gotta be kids, too. So I suspect that what motivates in large part this push to year-round schooling is turf protection on the part of the pedagogues.
     
  4. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    Learning is more than memorizing facts, or acheiving scores on a test. Sometimes it's just sitting in the sun in the middle of a vacant lot watching ants.
     
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  5. tonyb

    tonyb Vendor

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    Don’t forget the magnifying glass!
     
  6. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    Nahhh, I was too busy observing their class structure. Worker Ants of the World, UNITE.
     
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  7. tonyb

    tonyb Vendor

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    It is not to advocate sunburns and broken bones and fistfights with the Cunningham kids to observe that certain hazards in this life are better learned in ways less abstract than an educational film.

    Lumps and bumps can be valuable learning tools. It’s akin to the greater susceptibility to certain infections among those who grow up in super-sanitary environments. It’s hard to build resistance to that which a person has never been exposed.
     
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  8. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    "Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood." -- Fred Rogers.

    A child who is driven from infancy to "excel" in academic subjects without the release that unstructured play provides is going to grow up a joyless and empty being. They might get into the prestigious school, get the top-dollar job and make all the money, but they're also going to carry a gaping empty hole where their soul should be. We have far too many such people in the world today already without making a deliberate effort to create more.
     
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  9. tonyb

    tonyb Vendor

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    Some day I’ll collect my thoughts well enough to bang out a two or three thousand word essay on “leadership.”

    It seems I can’t read a mission statement from any organization allegedly serving young people that doesn’t make some mention of the “leadership skills” their program will impart on the little buzzards. The side of a school bus reads “Learn Today, Lead Tomorrow.” Another school bus displays an arrow pointing to a side window and the words “Future Leader.”

    This crap is just mindless. How ’bout instead we emblazon the side of the bus with “Forty-six Obsequious Followers Aboard”?
     
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  10. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    It's hard to look at the world today and not think that some of that "leadership" training should have been devoted to an understanding of the real meaning of community.
     
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  11. tonyb

    tonyb Vendor

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    “Leadership” is promoted as a worthy end in and of itself.

    It just feeds that hierarchical, hyper-competitive, “winners and losers” model.

    The joke of it often is that the people who think themselves leaders don’t realize how even their own personal interests are being ill-served by it.

    Fine, Joe Bigfish in Littlepond, you got the title. You got the larger paycheck. But don’t get to thinking you’re any less disposable than the people working “under” you. If you croak tonight, the world will little note it.
     
  12. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    And the inevitable sociopathy of a hyper-competitive social order? We're soaking in it. When you lock rats in a small cage together, you end up with one live rat and a lot of dead rats -- but what good is one live rat in a cage full of dead rats?
     
  13. tonyb

    tonyb Vendor

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    It was 96 degrees Fahrenheit this afternoon.
     
  14. tonyb

    tonyb Vendor

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    And now it’s 8:30 p.m. and the racket the bugs are making is a lesson in the birds and the bees you just can’t get in Ms. Squareheels’s Health II class.

    Passion, is what it is.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2019
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  15. Haversack

    Haversack Practically Family

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    Bill Watterson wrote it best:

    [​IMG]

    Or as Ozies say, "Nothing to do and all day to do it."
     
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  16. Edward

    Edward Bartender

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    Over here in the UK, things vary depending on your nation (except perhaps Wales, which for most purposes has been subsumed into England for centuries). The English and the Irish start school at the begining of September. In Northern Ireland our School year always started on exactly the 1st (save where 1st was a Saturday or Sunday, then it was 3rd or 2nd). I remember a few times going in for the first school day of the year on a Friday. The Scots always went back mid-August, having started their holidays at the end of June, whereas the English kids go on until late July then they're off until September. In Ireland, we always had the whole of July and August off as Summer break, a full nine weeks, but on the flipside we had significantly shorter (and fewer) holiday through the rest of the year. I recall one year the board of governors were keen on the idea of giving us a third week off at Christmas in exchange for a week less in the Summer (all schools in the UK are given the same number of closure days in the year, it's up to them how they distribute them), the idea being it would save a week's heating bills, which were considerable. The suggestion was, however, voted down by the staff, who wanted to keep their nine weeks' off in Summer. (Teachers in the UK are, fwiw, not paid for July and August, but generally schools divide up their annual salary into twelve monthly payments for all around convenience).
     
  17. scottyrocks

    scottyrocks I'll Lock Up

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    It is amazing how many people cannot grasp this concept.
     
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  18. tonyb

    tonyb Vendor

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    A8461EFE-F06C-4749-9549-9D7FD50F3DF5.jpeg [GALLERY=][/GALLERY]

    Yesterday afternoon, while stuck in traffic alongside a local school.
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2019
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