The Instigator
rlbodsfo
Con (against)
Losing
2 Points
The Contender
tjscales
Pro (for)
Winning
10 Points

Obama is pushing for longer school hours for children each year.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/15/2009 Category: Politics
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 4,744 times Debate No: 10137
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (7)
Votes (3)

 

rlbodsfo

Con

President Obama is trying to push for longer school days and shorter summer vacations, he believes that American students are at a disadvantage compared to other kids around the world due to less time spent in the classroom. I, however, think this to be a terrible idea.

(1) We all know that the U.S. is in a lot of debt right now, how can we afford to pay an extra $1,300 per student each year. This figure was pulled from a Massachusetts program that tried out this new schooling, it added up to a little over $17 million per year.

(2) They say students now are way over scheduled between school, homework, clubs, sports, and just having a little downtime to themselves. How can they go to school until dinner time and still have time for all of there extracurricular activities.

(3) According to the Huffington Post, U.S. students actually go to school more hours than most Asian countries do already, even though they typically score higher than us on math and science tests.

How could this possibly be a good idea for us, especially right now?

Source:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com...
tjscales

Pro

In response to your points about how Obama's plan to lengthen school is in appropriate at the current time. You made the point that right now is the wrong time to try this with the economy in the state it is, but I say what better time to reform the way we educate future generations of America. It will be these generations that will need to learn how to avoid economic failures in the future. It will be costly, but with government funding put towards education to fund the longer day, as well as pay incentives for better teachers the cost can be negated by the students that the new system will produced. Is a better more globally competitive individual not worth the extra cost? I would say it more than is.

Your second point was that students are already stressed and overscheduled. If you listen to President Obama's address bolstered after school activities are scheduled into the longer school day, even homework or extra help can be a part of the students' day if necessary. This according to experts and common sense will reduce the stress put on students while still increasing the time spent learning. It stands to reason that if time for clubs, sports and homework are scheduled then the students will not have to worry about when to get them done. Also with school ending nearer to when parents get out of work it will reduce stress of parents trying to find rides home from school for their children as they will be able to pick the kids up themselves.

As far as your point that many Asian countries go to school shorter and still score higher. Three majorly competitive countries Japan, South Korea, And Hong Kong (considered its own country within China) consistently score higher than The U.S. in both math and science all go to school longer. In the same order 570, 597, 572 compared to the U.S. math score of 508. In science the scores are 554, 553, and 530 to the U.S. at 520. The numbers of days spent in school have the same trend, Japan at 243, South Korea at 220, and Hong Kong at 195 compared to the United States 180. So you can see that there is a correlation between length of time spent in class and test scores.

References
http://www.cbsnews.com...

http://www.eduinreview.com...

http://www.washingtonpost.com...
Debate Round No. 1
rlbodsfo

Con

How can we justify spending even more money that we don't have? According to the U.S. National Debt Clock, we are in debt $12,005,995,545,151.22. So let's say to reform each school it would cost $15 million per year and that there are approximately 100,000 public schools in the United States. That would come to a grand total of $1,500,000,000,000 just for a single year. Even if we could justify spending that much more on education, would we want to put ourselves into that situation? What happens if we have another Hurricane Katrina catastrophe and need billions of dollars for that and we don't have it because we wasted it on longer school days?

Including bolstered after school activities would be a good idea except for what if the student doesn't play sports for the school? For example, I was a competitive gymnast through middle school and part of high school and it was in no way connected to the school. We had practice every evening from 4-8pm and were penalized for being late. How fair would it be for those students who wanted to participate in activities outside of school? Not only that, but it would be difficult for these kids to meet other friends in their community, not just one's that they had class with everyday.

You are right; students in Japan, South Korea, and Hong Kong go to school more days out of the year, but not necessarily for more hours. This quote is from my original source The Huffington Post:

"Kids in the U.S. spend more hours in school (1,146 instructional hours per year) than do kids in the Asian countries that persistently outscore the U.S. on math and science tests – Singapore (903), Taiwan (1,050), Japan (1,005) and Hong Kong (1,013). That is despite the fact that Taiwan, Japan and Hong Kong have longer school years (190 to 201 days) than does the U.S. (180 days)."

So you see that actually we are going to school longer than them, and still scoring low. Maybe the problem doesn't lie in creating longer school days, but instead in hiring better qualified teachers and trying to boost our children's work ethic.

Sources:
http://www.brillig.com...
http://www.huffingtonpost.com...
tjscales

Pro

Your argument for not paying more for education is unsettling. First you are telling me that a better education is not worth paying for. Second, where did this 15 million a year figure come from? Nowhere in your sources do I see that number. Also, you seem to be assuming that the government funding will just be added to the budget rather than moved from somewhere else. Next you mentioned "what happens if" another major disaster strikes the U.S. What if nothing happens? What ifs can be twisted and turned any way one would like. However, humoring your what if, the parts of the government that fund education and those that fund disaster response are completely separate so funding a natural disaster would not be a problem.

Now you bring up a point about activities outside of school, this is off point; we are not debating on reforming activities outside of school. Yes, they may have to adapt to the new school schedule, but what wont? Adaption will need to be made, but what I'm trying to get across is that it is worth the adapting to put American students at the top of the charts. Next you seem to think that kids will have no time to meet with friends from other schools, since time for homework and after school activities will be built into the day, any time after school would be time for friends from other school. As well as weekends just like normal. Now, going back to your original point where you said that students were already over scheduled, when did they have time to meet with friends then?

You talk about needing better teachers. Obama actually said that he was for offering teachers pay incentives for meeting higher standards of performance. So teacher reform is part of the plan for education reform.

References:

http://www.cbsnews.com...

http://www.eduinreview.com...
Debate Round No. 2
rlbodsfo

Con

I'm not saying that improvements can't be made to our education system; I just don't think that making kids go to school longer is the solution. The 15 million figure didn't just appear, in my first argument I discussed Massachusetts program and that it cost them 17 million dollars just for the year. However, I rounded down assuming that not all schools would be the same size or have the same needs. I realize that we can live life based on "what ifs", but I'm saying we should always be prepared for anything. Normally people have a savings account or back-up money for mishaps they aren't expecting, but we don't have any money. My point is that we're broke and cannot afford trillions of dollars worth of education reform, it's just not plausible.

I don't think it's off point at all; it's an effect of our main issue. When making decisions like these you have to consider the consequences of your actions.

Kids that are in the KIPP network go to school from 7:30am-5pm, this would be about the same hours as the program that Obama wants to enforce. Many parents get off at 5pm as well and don't live close enough to the school to be there right as school lets out. Therefore a lot of the kids who were riding the bus before will also be riding it at this time. Now a normal bus ride takes about an hour, give or take, to get through all of its stops. Not to mention that at 5pm it will be rush hour, slowing down the already treacherous traffic and also taking it longer to complete each stop. By the time most kids get home it will be 6pm or later. What time does that leave for dinner with the family, outside of school extra-curricular activities, hanging out with friends, and then being in bed by bedtime? These kids aren't working full time jobs; they are going to school and enjoying being a kid.

Also, there are already private schools that offer these schedules. If parents decide that's what they want for their child they can choose to send them there. If they can't afford then maybe instead of changing the entire public school system they could instead create scholarships and grants for those who can't necessarily afford the extensive costs.

Good Arguing! :)
tjscales

Pro

If education was not plausible like you want the audience to believe then the current administration would not even put the idea out there. The money is available if the budget is partitioned correctly. Rather than just putting more money into education, money will be pulled out of other resources else to cover the cost. Once again, bringing American students above those of other countries is worth the cost. To deny The Children of our country the best education they could possibly have is just criminal; regardless of cost or anything else. As far has not having any money for a rainy day, the government doesn't keep lump sums of cash like people do. If they were to keep large amounts of money like that around it would devalue the rest of our currency. If the government does come by that kind of money, it will usually burn it to make the currency in circulation go up in value.

After School activities while relevant are not on topic with education reform, therefore I do not see the point of arguing them any further.

As far as your information about kids in the KIPP network, that is a fallacy of composition. What is true of that one part is not going to be true of the whole. Also as far as parents not being close to their students; this could be solved by redistricting where the children go to school. As far as school not being a full time job, it is the student's full time job. Now of course younger children would have more "play time" through out the school day, but the older children, it is their job to learn and become more productive members of society.

Good job to you as well!
Debate Round No. 3
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by amw1005 7 years ago
amw1005
I do not think that we should have longer school years because then there would be no time to do after school activities and teachers can't even find enough stuff to put into one day. Also a lot of kids dont like having to go to school for as long as we do already!
Posted by Sylux 7 years ago
Sylux
Okay, that's more rational than my decision.
It would be wonderful if the severely misguided and uneducated lowers (speaking on a moral level, not economical status) who do not wish to become educated can leave the resources for those of us who do want to learn.
But still, I don't want longer school hours; my school is a hellish prison which serves as a secondary habitat to the bugs that wish to poison others with their idiocy.
Posted by RoyLatham 7 years ago
RoyLatham
sylux, The point is to teach students whether or not they prefer playing video games. The payback comes later, in the form of a better job and a more prosperous country. We need to compete with the Asian countries who are earnest. However, I think you make a good point with respect to some students who can be reasonably judged to be hopeless case after a certain time. Some ought to be allowed to drop out early to free up resources for the productive segment. Dropouts have the opportunity to pick up education again through adult ed if they finally get motivated.
Posted by Sylux 7 years ago
Sylux
If the vast majority of public school children don't appreciate the gift of learning, then why waste the other willing students' time with pointless extra hours poured into over-schooling that could be used for them to tend to their own personal interests? Or even to do outside-of school learning and extracurricular activities? Wouldn't the teachers be a little too worn out after an extended school day to watch the children after school as well as during? It makes no sense! It is madness! It is Spartaaaa!
Posted by RoyLatham 7 years ago
RoyLatham
Johnicle, If what you say is true, then all that should have happened in Asian economies that have de facto longer school hours. It hasn't happened.
Posted by Johnicle 7 years ago
Johnicle
(i didn't vote - just a general comment)

Longer school years = worse economy + fewer people willing to take lower end jobs = more immigration= worse economy + less playing time = sucky idea
Posted by RoyLatham 7 years ago
RoyLatham
I very good topic! After reading the debate, I am better informed, but still could be convinced one way or the other. At his point, I'm inclined to agree with Obama on this one -- which is a rarity.

The comparison with Asian schools is misleading. Public schools in Taiwan, and many of the leading Asian countries, let out early so that the students can go to another school. Private supplementary "cram" schools are extremely common, and considered essential for those on an academic track. In Japan, half-day classes on Saturday were eliminated a few years ago, but were recently brought back when test scores slipped.

So maybe the expense of longer school hours is justified by the results.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by Koopin 7 years ago
Koopin
rlbodsfotjscalesTied
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RoyLatham
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Vote Placed by tjscales 7 years ago
tjscales
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