I just finished reading an article by S. Paul Reville in Education Week titled “Stop the Narrowing of the Curriculum by ‘Right-Sizing’ School Time”. This article speaks to one of the issues that I have thought long about in an interesting way: the time that school is in session. From as near as I can figure school sessions are determined by a hold-over from when we were an agrarian society and the travel/vacation industry. School days are determined by bus schedules and teacher contracts. The one thing that seems to be left out of the equation is what is best for a child’s education.
Paul’s article speaks to yet more issues affecting the scheduling of schools, No Child Left Behind Act, and standards-based reform. These two issues also seek to control school time by forcing teachers and administrators choose between time for achieving proficiency in the core subjects and other untested subjects like art, music, social studies and foreign languages.
With the advent of web 2.0 classes are no longer bound by the walls of the school or the time of the bell. Students will be able to attend classes on their schedule and when they are ready to learn. Collaboration can happen between students in the same class but other schools. Teachers from other areas could tutor long distance.
I think that we need to rethink the way that school time is scheduled. Schools should be look at round the year calendars. Evening and weekend classes should be offered through out the grade levels, students should not think of learning only happening between 8:00 and 2:15.