Fort Worth, Texas (WiredPRNews.com) — As millions of students head back to school, one way to improve every student’s performance is to reduce the average class size with staggered shifts and year round attendance. Fewer students per teacher equal fewer behavioral disruptions, more individualized attention and fewer distractions for the students.
“All of the research shows you do better with students in smaller settings,” said Timothy Mennuti, president of the Anne Arundel County Teachers Association, in a January 20, 2008 Washington Post.com article by Rick Docksai. However, this would require some radical changes such as having students attend school in shifts throughout the year. For instance, a high school with 2000 students could have four groups of 500 that go five weeks on and one week off. This would immediately reduce class sizes by 75%.
Why is it necessary for the students to have three months off in the summer? This came about in the 1870s, as public schools gained prominence, because of the need for labor on the family farm. Of course, very few students are picking cotton or harvesting wheat while on summer vacation. Yes, some students do work at summer jobs but this should be secondary to fulfilling their academic potential while they are still living with their parents.
A year-round, staggered shift approach to public education would keep students more involved in their own academic achievement. It eliminates the problem of students getting out of the habit of reading, studying and learning, which is a skill they will have to be adept at when in they are competing for 21st century jobs. Of course, some teachers, administrators and unions may not like it, but when you truly put the education of the student first, those opposed to a year-round schedule simply have no valid argument.
Parents can make this happen by getting involved in their child’s academic progress and demanding this kind of change. It will not happen overnight but it can happen, in time, when the rapid increase of home schooling shows just how effective parents can be when they take control of their child’s education.
Contributor: Jason Meeks – Staff Reporter