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Should schooling days be shorter for younger children?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/28/2015 Category: Society
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 867 times Debate No: 69078
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (1)
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If we were to look at the amount of time spent by the young minds in America, I have no doubt that many would see a need for change where no one feels the need to contest the current schooling situation. Out of the year, students in America spend 180 days in school. In a day, That is 7-8 hours taken to educate these student. These numbers show that virtually half of your life as a child is spent in school- Half of a year, for every year (ending in 13 years); half of a day, for every day. Now this might not seem bad because as we compete with other countries in maintaining an intelligent atmosphere among our children, there is a government and nationalistic desire to keep our children "competent".
The problem lies within the effects of these seemingly endless terms of schooling. Not only does the majority of children hate school, parents are beginning to see the cons of having such long school hours in addition. Now, these opinions do not involve the percentage of parents who appreciate these long hours for their children because some parents want a free day care for their kids while they are at work- and what better way to take care of that then have them in school?
No problem. They can go to school for 7 hours every day and they will come home tired and glad to be done. "This will teach them patience..." "This will teach them to be hard workers..." But, when they get home, they will not be done. They will do homework, and they will do chores, and they will go with their parents when they leave to go grocery shopping, they will then come home possibly irate, fussy and will disobey their parents under the right circumstances. When you have 3 or 4 hours of your day left to yourself, you tend to be annoyed at how much of your day has been taken.
Now to the children, it is not taken, it is stolen. Children do not have the patience that grown adults have, so this in turn makes everything more dramatic in value to them. Bad things hit children harder than it does to adults because they don't have the experience to deal with things the way an adult does. So when we see that there are unexplained school shootings by a 10 year old kid in some obscure school, we might take into consideration that maybe there was a bully. Maybe there was a teacher that did or said something horrible. Maybe there was a incident involving the child to be put in a bad light among his peers. All this may be the cause of the destruction of lives, but no one seems to understand that children typically have a short span of patience.

There are no practical ways of perfectly removing bullying or gossip from schools, but when you are forced to be in that environment for 7 hours, you will be shown your own capacity to deal with difficulties in life. I am not saying that long school hours result in school shootings. I am saying that long hours add up and patience is spent. And when that patience is spent, what does a child do in school the next day? He/she doesn't have to bring a gun to school and cause destruction. They just might passively decide to not do their work. They just might end up with a lower GPA than what they could have if they only dealt with a 5 or 6 hour day. My main point is that schooling can be reduced in terms of hours for the benefit of the children.


I accept the challenge of this debate. I will await a clearly laid out argument structured by my opponent as well as (hopefully) a layout of which rounds will be dedicated to what. I will respond to my opponent in the next round and I will also provide main ideas of my own.
Debate Round No. 1


My argument is reinforced by my first point: Growth is a part of life. Living things start out small, and grow into larger things. In a different light, growth may be associated in this topic. My reasoning is that a man is a higher-caliber life form than a child, and thus men are given larger portions of work, while children are given smaller portions of work. With this in mind, can we expect a child to be able to compete with the abilities of an adult? Even though high school seniors might not be considered full adults yet, why are 6-year-olds spending the same amount of time in school as a 17 or 18-year-old? There is a very large gap in between the mind of a 6 year old, and the mind of a 17 year old. Would it not be reasonable to let the children start their first year of school to help them get the sense of what is expected of them in a learning environment with reduced hours compared to the average 7 hour day? I know that a good counter point to this thought would be that "schooling is easier at kindergarten than it is in senior year of high school." That is a valid point indeed, but is it really easier when looking from the standpoint of parallel capabilities? In other words, if Little Johnny can do a max of 6 push-ups, and he does six, is he not doing his best? Now, if Mr. Big can do no more than 60 push-ups, and he does, in fact, do 60, can we not say that he has done HIS best? With these images in mind, compare the two persons, and indicate which put forth more effort. No one can expect Little Johnny to do 60, so they say that 6 is reasonable for his age, or size. One may say that Mr. Big did, in fact, do much more than Little Johnny, and that is very true. But they BOTH did their very best and that means that their efforts are parallel. Naturally, as Little Johnny grows, he will no doubt be capable of preforming more difficult tasks, but the point is that HE IMPROVES. Kindergartners can handle learning about the alphabet. High school students can handle complex algebra. Are either one of these instances equal in value? To an employer, obviously the more experienced, competent person would be hired because algebraic work is of more value. But the truth is, a child who does his best, and a man who does his best, do the SAME amount of work, relative to their being. I think of it in terms of a fraction. 60/60 = 6/6.
(The contender may present any reasoning as to prove why reducing school for younger children is not a good idea. Any thought may be plainly stated and there will exist no animosity between the two views. Each round will be a response to the previous statement(s). Happy Debating!)


I will begin to counter my opponents argument with one major idea:

1. School holds varying purposes depending on level.

My opponent focuses merely on the actual time-frame that students spend in school as opposed to what they do in the school. I can assure you that the work given to kindergarteners is very stress-free (I have a sister in kindergarten- she loves going to school and doesn't feel stressed out by the work). That is also to say that kindergarteners do not spend all day in the classroom. Most of the time in kindergarten is dedicated to developing the skills that each child needs in order to succeed in school. Kids come from different backgrounds. Some went to preschool- others were taken care of by a stay at home mom- others went to day care since they were little- others sat in front of the tv all day, etc. Now what does kindergarten really teach?

- Academic Skills
- Communication Skills
-Social Behaviors
- Develop Oral Language
-Pronounce words clearly
- Understand/Follow direction
-Learn listening skills
-Be exposed to the power of reading and writing

These are all very valuable things!! now let's imagine if school for kindergarteners was only 2 hours long. Not only will parents have to make special complicated accommodations in order to leave work to pick up their kid to drop them off somewhere else anyways- but the kids will no longer develop social skills like they should. Kindergarten paves the way to the rest of a child's academic career. The hours throughout the day are utilized. Kids may come home tired from school yes we all know how long 7-2 days can feel. However what do they do during that time? They get to socialize with friends. Ever notice how little kids always have group assignments and activities? Yeah there's a purpose to that. Kids have recess for an outrageous amount of time so that they can interact with kids. They have art class so that they can express creativity- gym which is basically another recess but more structured- lunch so that they still have the energy to get through the day- nap time in case they get too tired- coloring time because who doesn't like coloring right?

Is the time spent in kindergarten really that stressful? We all left learning our ABC's and numbers and our basic critical thinking skills that we use to this day. And kindergarten does so in a fun manner. Kids brains are developing at a rapid rate when they are younger. Take out hours of learning and development that occurs in kindergarten and you end up with kids that aren't socially developed, perform poorly in school, and lack the necessary skills in order to succeed in life.

Also, I ask of pro to come up with a better solution. By better solution I mean a plan that will work better than the one that is currently in place. If a plan that is better than one that is currently in place is not thought up of- then it is clear that the current system should remain. The new system should account for:

- Missed Knowledge
-Missed opportunities to socialize
-Different times for them to come home from school or be picked up
- The actual functionality of the kindergarteners. How much would teachers get paid if lets say the school day was cut in half?

Debate Round No. 2


My opponent has brought out absolutely valid points. No doubt kindergarten is very important to the children's minds to get them started on the most fundamental principles in life. I did mention that school is a "free day care" so that parents may work without worrying about keeping their kid(s) with them. It makes sense to keep things the way they are if everyone is happy. But is everyone happy? It may very well be that kindergartners, in general, don't have a stressful day planned out for them, but that in itself, is a broad statement that cannot be considered entirely true. It's good to hear that your little sister enjoys her time in school. She is one of the few children found in the small percentage of students who like school. Personally speaking, my kinder year was great. I remember as a child that i came home every day, eager to talk about the day's events. But did everyone share my experience? Peter Gray, Ph.D., words rather bluntly that school is a prison for the young minds. It removes their freedom, their dignity, and keeps them in an abated state of mind. I agree with what he is saying only in the light that SOME schools are very much like a prison.
Children are born learners. In fact, they are better learners than adults because of their rapid, precognitive abilities. Without school entirely, they would have to learn for themselves how the physical and social world around them works, which would be absolutely no problem for them, given that they have reasonable living conditions and a loving atmosphere at home. Contrarily, school DOES exist and they are taken from delving into knowledge at their own pace and are forced to learn at the pace prescribed to them.
There are other elements in play here that have a role in deciding whether or not, it could be a "stressful" year. For example, all teachers are different. Not every school provides "good enough" lunches. Social atmospheres change from school to school. While my aim to assess the situation accurately may be influenced by my own opinions, I do not recommend considering schools to cut their class time down to a 2 -hour day. That is quite extreme, not only because it leaves the parents to figure out what to do, it also contradicts years of 7-hour days becoming the "norm". In my position, I see change in a good light. With homework taking up additional time at home, I see little reason for 7 hours to be taken out of the day, so my idea is that school be cut back to 5 or 6-hour days. Even though this may seem like a challenge to keep the children's education sound, why does it have to interfere with how MUCH they learn? Does it really take 3 hours to explain the importance of manners? They will learn this outside of school in a multitude of different ways as it is, without the involuntarily taken aid from school. Does it really take another 3 hours to explain fundamental math concepts? They can learn much faster than people think, because as it stands currently, kindergarten children are under low expectations. If they truly want to learn(which most don't because it is forced on them) people would be blown away to see how fast they can catch on to anything.
So, in response to my opponent's question on making up "missed knowledge" the situation answers itself in quality. The cutback in hours would let the children feel less like their day is taken from them, and they can, for a fact learn more in a shorter amount of time with the provision of giving them the sense of self-driven ambition towards knowledge. Children are always asking questions when they are genuinely curious about something. There should be no missed knowledge.
Giving attention to their social needs, children would not be lacking anything in association with others. This is true because children are naturally drawn to be with others. Have you ever heard of a child who can stay by himself, sheltered in his home for unreasonable amounts of time without wanting to be in the company of others? I have not. In addition to the association they would be getting from school, (even in reduced hours) this situation would not prevent them from socializing with others outside of school.
Giving attention to the schedule, this is the hardest part to explain, but my word limit is almost up, so to be short, this is the weakness to my proposition. I have thought of no possible way for parents to be able to work with this. This is probably the only valid reason this plan cannot tangibly take place.
In view of teachers' pay, they would not need to be paid less. Teachers in general are paid an annual salary divided into 12 months. As long as the education is not declining, the pay should not be declining. This will end my piece. Over to you, Chevybow.


"Without school entirely, they would have to learn for themselves how the physical and social world around them works, which would be absolutely no problem for them, given that they have reasonable living conditions and a loving atmosphere at home."

I think this is one of the main flaws in your argument. Here is another quote so that I can dissect them at the same time

"Not every school provides "good enough" lunches"

and a third quote

"This is true because children are naturally drawn to be with others. Have you ever heard of a child who can stay by himself, sheltered in his home for unreasonable amounts of time without wanting to be in the company of others?"

Now I grew up in a rough neighborhood. Its not detriot-dangerous but it was bad. I grew up in hartford, CT which is often on this list of most dangerous cities in America. Its in the top 50 on this list. [1] To go to the first quote- the sad reality is that most homes in America aren't the ideal three person family. Where I grew up most people were raised by single moms who were never around because they were often working multiple jobs to support the family. I met people who have had family members in jail. I have met people who lived in houses used to sell drugs. I have met people who had parents that did not care in the slightest about them. You know how you have parent-teacher conferences? Yeah their parents never showed up. School fixes this problem. For many school is a sanctuary compared to their home life. Most families are not ideal and to make an assertion that schooling days should be shorter because kids in loving families will develop at the same rate but not be forced to go to school for long hours is absurd. What about the kids in awful living conditions? Im lucky I had a loving family and we just ended up in a bad area.

For lunch: I don't know if you've ever heard of this before- but for some students their lunch was their only meal of the day. I remember my kindergarten and elementary school would give out turkeys around thanksgiving because they knew that the families in the area most likely would not be able to afford a thanksgiving meal. Teachers would often go house to house distributing bags of food including gravy, boxed mashed potatoes, etc. I actually visited a friends house in kindergarten because our families were close and he didn't even have a fridge- when I wanted something to drink he got me a cup of water taken from the sink. Sure many of us may think the lunches in schools are pretty gross- but for some students its a necessity. My school made all lunch and breakfast free for students. I never got breakfast because I ate in the morning at home- but the cafeteria was always full. My school in kindergarten and elementary also ran an afterschool program where kids would be given a small snack (still food) and it would help them if the situation at home was rough (if the students prefer staying at school because of violent households or if mom is at work for 2nd job).

For socializing: The only socializing I ever got when I was little was at school. I was the most awkward kid (and still kind of am)- because when I was little I had to play by myself and play videogames and all of that. My parents were often busy and I was an only child- I honestly can say I learned to socialize at school.

Your argument for shortening the hours of a schoolday rely on the idea that each household functions ideally. That is not the case for many, many situations. To sum things up- the school system does more benefit than harm. It may harm those who perhaps don't need all those hours of schooling- but if that's the case then perhaps homeschooling can be a personal option. There are kids who rely on the current system of schooling- especially at the kindergarten/elementary school age. I know my opponent mentioned other arguments but I decided to focus on these because I feel they are the most important. I will await my opponents response for the final round.

Debate Round No. 3


A wrestler will often use gravity to his advantage and overpower his foe. In the same way, human nature has a tendency to get in a competition about who has had a 'harder' life. I'm not about to engage in that discussion, maybe I can give my two cents on that in a different debate.
I understand the gist of what my opponent is saying. Basically, his thought is, 'School is important, but it is a god-given haven for kids who are less fortunate and it provides many with what may be very much needed outside of education. Why would you want to cap that kind of positive "flow" going into their needy lives?' I have a few responses to this.
First point; I find it easy to make anything look good if one decides to take his audience to a sad place filled with the needy lives in America who are not given the basic needs that most would consider a standard of living. If I want to talk about how the rich people have too much money, I can easily make them look that much more worse by saying that they are holding all the money needed to fund a rescue mission to save all the starving children in a third world country. In essence, I notice that my opponent is mimicking this tactic, as honest of an element to his argument it may be, to add an emotional influence to his position.
As I've said, personal history that may have been difficult can be met with others' personal history. In addition, my statement in Round 3 reads, "Social atmospheres change from school to school." One of the meanings behind this is that my suggested change is not for all schools. I add that discretion would be essential in seeing if the school SHOULD make a change. (Capitalization refers to italics) I know just as much as a person from a "detroit-dangerous" school about how hard it can be in certain places. That being said, I do not recommend reducing school hours for those children. On the contrary, I present my second point.
I didn't know that the ideal living condition was to have a "three person family" as con has mentioned. I'll be sure to tell my family of 5 that we are not living "ideally". (No offense taken here, by the way) It is interesting that my opponent has said this because I found through a government census that most homes AREN'T in the poverty level. Now, I hope that I am not incorrect in saying that my opponent meant to gesture towards the number of families being part of the "low-income" are the minority compared to those who are, being the majority. If this is the case, my support from is misapplied. It says here that the majority of children are NOT in poverty, being that only 16% of children are in the poverty category for 2014. Contrary to my opponent's claim that 'most homes aren't ideal', a government census shows that the middle class is the majority.
In addition, I motion that information regarding dangerous cities is irrelevant, or in the least, unhelpful to my opponent, because if a city was enduring a heavy crime rate, this does not indicate that schools are havens in any sense. A more dangerous city's school may provide needed food, but at the cost of harsh conditions in the social atmosphere in this example school such as intense territorial walls between children, bullying, violence, crime... The list goes on, and in a direction that supports my idea in a different way because I would want my child to spend as little time in that kind of environment as possible.
I understand that homeschooling is a personal option, but it inhibits social growth if not supplemented with a generous amount of socialization, which is why I did not mention this. I think we can agree on that.
"It may harm those who perhaps don't need all those hours of schooling..." I disagree with this because I have never seen or heard of a child being harmed by excessive schooling. Maybe the child might experience this inconvenience, but 'harm' is rather extreme.
"...the school system does more benefit than harm." I agree that some schools have more pros than cons, but this cannot be an accurate generalization for ALL schools. I do know that school systems differ from state to state and some are highly inconvenient for parents, staff, and students. Other's are very well thought out firms that are a pleasure to be a part of. Again, discernment.
I mentioned food in my previous argument to associate low-nutrition food with lower rates of success in it's many forms. I don't imply that food makes a school better or worse.

This will end my turn. On to the contender! (P.s. Pokemon Red and Blue are my favorite!)


To conclude this debate I will try to sum up all of the arguments presented thus far- especially the ones in my opponent's last response.

While it is true that I used a drastic example that both includes personal experience and observations from failing school districts in my state, I did not do it merely to try and create emotion in the hearts of those reading this debate. Rather- I wanted to show that realistically- life is not as perfect as painted in the picture my opponent drew. I said 3 person family implying that if there is one child- both parents are present. I am aware that many families have more than 3 people, and I probably could've phrased my point better I apologize- but I meant that in some families crucial family members are missing.

My opponent is quick to point out the fact that we should see if the school "SHOULD" make a change. But how do we determine these types of schools? Simply schools set in urban areas with high crime rates? Or do we focus on school districts with historically bad standardized test scores? What criteria would be used? How many schools would be affected? Would it be practical to shorten the hours slightly of some schools while keeping some hours the same? Is there even a bigger purpose to going with my opponent's plan?

My opponent mentions bullying amongst other issues but lets be honest here- do younger children such as kindergarteners bully each other? They are all being extremely social with kids their own age for possibly the first time- they aren't mean spirited but rather accepting. Sure there are some bad apples in every group- but only around10% of kindergartens are bullies. Is it really that much of an issue in areas where the kids come home to drug houses and the such?

My opponent in this debate did not provide any true reasons to why the current system needs to be changed. The alternative that my opponent proposes is to cut schooling in younger children by an hour or so. However what are the real positives that we get from this? Currently kindergarteners gain the following from a full day of school:

-More Play Time
-Breakfast and Lunch
-Greater progress in social skills for low-income children
-Less crammed in schedule (if we go with the opponent's plan there will be less play time and more serious learning time which will actually put more stress and fatigue on the child
-Nap Time
-Opportunities for low-income students.

The only benefit to shorter schooldays for younger children is that it would work better with their short attention spans. However as the day is laid out currently- they get nap time, lots of play time, and lots of relaxation time. Kindergarten is designed to be stress free but you take that away when you shorten the day and make teachers have to teach them the same amount of material in less time.

Since there are more negatives than positives for adopting the plan of my opponent- I will urge everyone to cote con in this debate. Thanks for reading and thanks to my opponent for debating an interesting topic with me.
Debate Round No. 4
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by Garbanza 2 years ago
Interesting topic!
No votes have been placed for this debate.