Shorter school week

Came across a group on Facebook for a so-called official petition to get the school week changed from 5-days-a-week to 4-days-a-week. Unfortunately, they think that, once they have whatever arbitrary number of North American members they deem adequate, they can go on strike to get their way. After all teachers can strike, why can’t they? Um, because they’re teachers? You strike, you either get suspended/expelled or have to make up the time later. They’re not going to cave on something because you strike. Be realistic. If you really want a 4-day school week, work with the teachers’ unions as they’re the ones who might just have the wherewithal to get it implemented — and, if they’re not with you, no amount of striking and kicking up a fuss will get you your way. I don’t personally see it ever happening. One of the reasons for a 5-day week is that it matches what most parents work. I know how much the people I know who have children scramble now, with everyone on a roughly similar 5-day week pattern and with the odd PD day to deal with. Having to suddenly accommodate the children being off when the parents aren’t every week would throw a huge monkey wrench into things and, as a society, that’s something that has to be taken into consideration.

What’s absolutely hilarious is someone else has started up another group petitioning for shorter days, the concept being that they’re learning a lot of stuff they won’t need in the future so why sit around learning that (spelling being one of the things you don’t need when you’re working on a computer because apparently no one cares — who knew?) The starter of the petition is horrified that they have to spend 7 whole hours at school each day and thinks it should be half that (just wait until you’re in the Real World, sunshine) with the same holidays. Frankly, if we really wanted to prepare kids for the Real World, they’d go to school 50 weeks a year, 5 days a week, 8 hours a day with only recess in the morning and a 1/2 hour lunch break. Having summers off each year doesn’t prepare you at all for the jobs you’ll ultimately have that only offer 2 or 3 weeks of vacation a year.

Let’s face it, however much you don’t like school or don’t see the purpose of it, surely it’s a lot better than the alternative. And, no, the alternative isn’t hanging out with your friends all day. In the days before schooling was required or even common, as a child you could expect to be put to work as soon as you were big enough — in the family business, on the family farm, apprenticed out to a trade — and that work was many times harder than going to school. Ultimately, childhood (especially later childhood) is supposed to be preparing you to take your place as a productive member of society. If you’re not going to go to school, you’d better be learning a trade. I know a number of teenagers and young adults (including family members) who seem to have grown up with this idea that life should be easy, they should be able to get an easy job that pays big bucks and offers lots of time off without basic education or training, let alone specialized training.

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