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Momto6inIN

10 hour school day?

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https://www.wthr.com/article/sen-kamala-harris-proposes-bill-extending-school-day-6-pm

Can we discuss this without getting political?

It makes me so sad that the public schools are looking to longer days and more instructional time instead of figuring out innovative ways to give kids more time to pursue interests and develop relationships and be outside.

The article seems to suggest that this pilot program would try to address those concerns, but my experience with having kids in the school system for 8 years prior to hs'ing makes me skeptical. I see it turning into a giant babysitting service where underpaid paraprofessionals put kids in front of screens to control their behavior instead of enrichment.

I realize that kids in more impoverished areas or in bad home situations or with stressed out working parents might think this is the answer to some of their problems, but I just can't see that spending MORE time in an institutional setting is going to help them overcome those challenges.

Is that just my hs bias showing? I am in full support of robust well funded public education because we need that for a functional society ... but I just can't get behind the notion that more of the same thing is anything better. It's just ... more.

I'm especially interested in hearing what the Hive thinks about how this shift might impact hs'ers either now or in the future. 

I won't be able to check the thread regularly today, but I will be in and out and look forward to seeing what a wide variety of opinion the Hive has and hearing angles to this I haven't thought of yet 🙂

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I think a free extended care program with enrichment activities for those families that need it isn't a bad idea in theory.  Extending the school day for every student is stupid and would be harmful for many families. However, I don't think any changes in free extended care programs should even be considered if a school/district is incapable of giving a god education during regular school hours.  The funds simply aren't there for a program like this and shouldn't be found until more schools are taking care of the students when they are already supposed to be.

Dh's martial arts school has an after school program and the last thing most of those kids need is to be in school for longer. Yes, they are shuffled from school to a different place that isn't home to continue to be cared for by people who aren't their parents. But they do get a change of scenery, many different people to interact with that aren't associated with their school, and tons of physical activity. 

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Right now, a lot of kids have a 10 hour school day, plus bussing.  They get to school at 7am for breakfast.  They do school, and then do an after-care program until 5pm, usually set up so there's a homework hour, snack, and controlled play hour.  It's pretty standard.

HOWEVER, this proposal doesn't get to the root of the issue that needs to be fixed: a livable wage for individuals.  With a livable wage, more parents would be able to work less or have one parent home in the afternoons and give kids what they need.  This is a bandaid on a bigger problem.

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23 minutes ago, Momto6inIN said:

https://www.wthr.com/article/sen-kamala-harris-proposes-bill-extending-school-day-6-pm

Can we discuss this without getting political?

It makes me so sad that the public schools are looking to longer days and more instructional time instead of figuring out innovative ways to give kids more time to pursue interests and develop relationships and be outside.

The article seems to suggest that this pilot program would try to address those concerns, but my experience with having kids in the school system for 8 years prior to hs'ing makes me skeptical. I see it turning into a giant babysitting service where underpaid paraprofessionals put kids in front of screens to control their behavior instead of enrichment.

I realize that kids in more impoverished areas or in bad home situations or with stressed out working parents might think this is the answer to some of their problems, but I just can't see that spending MORE time in an institutional setting is going to help them overcome those challenges.

Is that just my hs bias showing? I am in full support of robust well funded public education because we need that for a functional society ... but I just can't get behind the notion that more of the same thing is anything better. It's just ... more.

I'm especially interested in hearing what the Hive thinks about how this shift might impact hs'ers either now or in the future. 

I won't be able to check the thread regularly today, but I will be in and out and look forward to seeing what a wide variety of opinion the Hive has and hearing angles to this I haven't thought of yet 🙂

I want to address the bolded particularly.  Extending the school day for this reason smacks of the school system becoming an orphanage in all but name.  I'm not sure that helping kids in bad home situations by putting them in school for longer days is the way to fix that problem.  I'm not saying you thought it was an okay reason either, I'm speaking to society as a whole.  

 

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I think the elephant in the room with education is that education can't fix what is broken in broken families.  

Children's educational success is HUGELY dependent on their home life.   No amount of well-intentioned educators can change that on a statistically significant scale.  Not more hours in the class, not a greater screen-to-child ratio for laptops in the class, not common core, not raising standards, nothing.  

IMO, fixing education needs to happen in homes, not schools.  This is where we can focus our tax dollars.  

Please not that this is not me criticizing "broken" families.  I come from a family that would qualify as broken.  Some families are broken from poor decisions, most from bad luck, generational poverty, and lots of other things out of their control.  So this is not a "Everyone should just suck it up and pull themselves up by the bootstraps" comment.  

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Ha.  Can we say ‘nanny state’?  Outcomes do not improve with a longer time in school or school based programs, nor do they generally show improvements with younger start ages (most of their gains of head start programs are gone by second grade, it all balances out).

This sort of proposal has always reeked to me of a) getting children away from their parents and more under control of uniform state education and b) taking away the joys and freedoms of childhood and open ended play in favor of regimented structure (which, let’s face it, even a loose school schedule is nowhere near the same as a child having time to sit and daydream with their toys, nature, or a book).

Better enrichment programs are like Boys and Girls club and bussing to those, where it is separate and has its own funding/tuition and facilities better tailored for recreation and crafts

 

Hard. Pass. on the school based nonsense.

Edited by Arctic Mama
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I think extended school days could be a decent option when parents aren't available IF teacher to student ratios were such that the teachers could provide individual attention--say, a one to twelve ratio, and if lots of physical activity, arts, and a decent amount of self directed time were included.

I attended schools in France that went until 5:00 PM (normal there) and it was a very, very long day. Not ideal by any means.

Edited by maize
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I'm not clear what the proposal is.  If it is just offering [optional] a supervised place for kids to be while their parents are still at work, then fine. 

My kids have always had this available since they were in preschool (they are now in 8th grade).  And I have used it a lot.  Through KG, it was part of the flat cost of the program.  In their current school, it is 1.50 per hour, and it's free if the kids are there waiting for a school-sponsored activity (e.g. sports practice) to begin.  It is very common for schools in my area (public and private) to offer this.  It might even be universal in my area - at least through middle school.  The cost is very reasonable IMO.

Now if she's proposing a mandatory program for 10 hours per day for all kids, that is not so great.  Kids differ in their need to cut loose from school.  And some schools are frankly not nice places to be.  Why should kids be required to be there even longer hours?  Parents should have the choice to manage their afternoons in whatever way works best for their families.

Since 3rd grade (when busing became available to us), my kids have ridden the bus home from school unless they had some reason to stick around after school.  This is one way for my kids to ease into a bit of independence and take a mental break between classes and homework.  It also opens up opportunities such as horse riding in the afternoons.  For me and many parents, the bus service at 3pm is much more family friendly than having to pick the kids up at a later hour.

One might think the solution is a bus service at the 6pm hour ... but that too could be problematic, making it too easy to park one's kids away from us for nearly all waking hours.  Tired working parents (I am one) may have a harder time justifying spending the time with kids or finding them something better to do than sit at school and then on a bus well into the evening.  (Believe it or not, my boss thinks family time is a low-priority luxury.  Others probably do too.)

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Since the primary purpose of school is daycare, I think it is a good idea.

That said, I wish that the primary purpose of school were education, and I think that imposing a regular work schedule on children is unfortunate and misguided.  

I would hope that what is done during the extra time would be real enrichment activities, including allowing children to form friendships with children from other classrooms and lots of opportunity for free play.  

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Speaking as a parent of a kid working in an afterschool program funded by grants that come and go, being paid peanuts to help kids with homework and actually teach several kids to read, I don't think anyone is ready to pay the people who teach the kids who need extended care a living wage.

No one wants to pay what quality child care or education is worth. That is just one of the many problems. I have yet to meet a well-off parent who doesn't grumble about the cost of childcare.

 

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5 minutes ago, SKL said:

I'm not clear what the proposal is.  If it is just offering [optional] a supervised place for kids to be while their parents are still at work, then fine. 

Now if she's proposing a mandatory program for 10 hours per day for all kids, that is not so great.  Kids differ in their need to cut loose from school.  And some schools are frankly not nice places to be.  Why should kids be required to be there even longer hours?  Parents should have the choice to manage their afternoons in whatever way works best for their families.

 

I agree -- if it's voluntary that would be great. I know that at my kids' elementary school in CA they had to pay for after school care, which was a burden on working parents.  It would greatly help those families if it was offered for free.  If it was mandatory - well, I don't think it would pass.

I can't imagine them finding the money for it anyway, they had so little funding as it was. 

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13 minutes ago, EKS said:

Since the primary purpose of school is daycare, I think it is a good idea.

That said, I wish that the primary purpose of school were education, and I think that imposing a regular work schedule on children is unfortunate and misguided.  

I would hope that what is done during the extra time would be real enrichment activities, including allowing children to form friendships with children from other classrooms and lots of opportunity for free play.  

 

In our school system, we educate. I long-term sub. I get this week off, hence being on here during the day. The kids get there at 8:45am. I'm actively teaching by 9:05. They have breaks from me for resource (art, music, etc) and lunch. They also get 30 minutes for recess. Other than that, they are in the classroom learning. We stop to pack up at 3:25pm. That makes for It's insulting to hear that the primary purpose of the school is daycare. I realize that some schools have issues that make it harder for teachers to teach as much as needed. I do not believe, though, that most school don't teach. 

Edited by QueenCat
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14 minutes ago, QueenCat said:

In our school system, we educate.

Nowhere in my post did I say that schools don't educate.  I simply said that the primary purpose of school (and one that is rarely acknowledged head on) is daycare.

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Of it was done well, I think it could be great. Unfortunately, I doubt it will be done well. I think the motivation behind this is basically for free childcare. I don't think it's worse than going to daycare after school. But- imagine if it was done well! Recesses/lunch could be extended. Thhy could offer intramural sports, have an open art room where kids could create, the library to hang out in to read, get tutoring, have quiet time. they could have science clubs, history clubs, exercise clubs! They could have a school garden. There could be more field trips. Honestly, serving an optional dinner just before they leave would help some kids get more food than they woukd  otherwise have. But it would have to be done well. 

I used to design schools for fun in my mind. I was such a nerd. Now I don't even have time to do that for my own kids and I only have 3 of them!

Edited by TABmom
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1 hour ago, EKS said:

Nowhere in my post did I say that schools don't educate.  I simply said that the primary purpose of school (and one that is rarely acknowledged head on) is daycare.

Unfortunately, there is truth in what you say. I don't think that anyone is even pretending that the push for a 10 hour school day is because children need more time for instruction. This push is obviously because parents need more daycare.

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2 hours ago, HomeAgain said:

Right now, a lot of kids have a 10 hour school day, plus bussing.  They get to school at 7am for breakfast.  They do school, and then do an after-care program until 5pm, usually set up so there's a homework hour, snack, and controlled play hour.  It's pretty standard.

In many cases more than that.  Many schools have both before and after school care.  The program when DD23 was in elementary school was run by the Y, and it started at 6am, till the school opened the doors for students, and then after school it ran till 6pm.  So there were some kids who would be dropped off at 6am, and picked up at 6pm...that's a 12 hour day.

 

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5 minutes ago, Skippy said:

Unfortunately, there is truth in what you say. I don't think that anyone is even pretending that the push for a 10 hour school day is because children need more time for instruction. This push is obviously because parents need more daycare.

I don't think it's necessarily unfortunate.  Schools can have more than one purpose.  It's just that if the primary purpose were education, I believe that they would be structured quite differently.

Edited by EKS
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Years ago when DH was hired to teach in an inner-city elementary school, he was given an extra stipend because the school had an extended day. A year or two in, they took away the stipend but kept the extra hour of school. DH was essentially teaching for free the last hour. And he didn't think an extra hour was all that productive. 

I agree that parents do see school as daycare to some degree. Around here there are almost no half-day kindergarten options because there isn't enough demand and parents want/need the childcare. Which is unfortunate because I think very few kids are actually ready for a full day of school at age 5 or 6. 

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5 minutes ago, Skippy said:

Unfortunately, there is truth in what you say. I don't think that anyone is even pretending that the push for a 10 hour school day is because children need more time for instruction. This push is obviously because parents need more daycare.

That's exactly what this is.  And if you read through it, it's not just state funded daycare after school, but it also says schools wouldn't be allowed to close except for weekends, federal holidays and emergencies.  So, no professional development days, but also, no fall break, so spring break, etc.  But also.....the teachers aren't allowed to be required to work more hours.  Which I suppose means that the school is supposed to now employ a full second set of staff?  

I don't know that this is a good idea for kids.  It might be good for parents who need more daycare and struggle to pay for it, but I don't think it would work out well for kids.  

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5 minutes ago, happysmileylady said:

That's exactly what this is.  And if you read through it, it's not just state funded daycare after school, but it also says schools wouldn't be allowed to close except for weekends, federal holidays and emergencies.  So, no professional development days, but also, no fall break, so spring break, etc.  But also.....the teachers aren't allowed to be required to work more hours.  Which I suppose means that the school is supposed to now employ a full second set of staff?  

 

I didn’t read her proposal. Being in her state, pretty much became tone deaf to all those stuff.

From the article though, it sounds like the extended hours are just free daycare and not classroom instruction hours. So schools have to hire daycare staff using the proposed grants.

“The bill would also limit the amount of days schools can close without offering free, full-day enrichment activities for students — again, to better align with the limited number of days that parents can take off from work. On average, schools shut down for 29 days during the school year and close for the entire summer. Meanwhile, 39 percent of all workers, and 80 percent of low-wage workers, don't get any paid vacation time at all. 

The grants would primarily serve low-income elementary schools, where there is likely a high percentage of working parents.”

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The push for going to full day K instead of half day was supposed to provide time for enrichment too. But it ended up being used for pushing more and more developmentally inappropriate academics younger and younger.

Same with offering free PreK - it was supposed to help gets kids in poverty up to speed but has instead become the de facto normal to send ALL 3 and 4 year olds (regardless of their at risk status) to school all day long all week long.

Right now they're saying it's optional and designed to "help" working families. But ... the slippery slope to this becoming the new normal is disturbing to me.

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Well and I think it is telling that the district I am in, one of the top performing in the state (and well ranked nationwide too) has ONLY half day preschool offered through the district, and half of those enrolled are special needs students, with the other half having seats on a waitlisted basis and with sliding scale tuition.  It’s a wonderful preschool, I’ve been extremely impressed, but the purpose is NOT daycare.  It isn’t particularly friendly to working families with inflexible schedules, but that’s not a significant local demographic.

The reason the principal says she doesn’t do full day preschool and kinder is precisely because the kids can’t handle it. Even with a play based and therapy based educational program it’s still too much to run it the entire day. 

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It all just makes me so sad to think of those little kids being away from home for so many hours.  I guess that is the reality of families in poverty. I tell ya though I would take in kids to babysit before I would send my 3 year old off all day.  

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2 hours ago, MysteryJen said:

Speaking as a parent of a kid working in an afterschool program funded by grants that come and go, being paid peanuts to help kids with homework and actually teach several kids to read, I don't think anyone is ready to pay the people who teach the kids who need extended care a living wage.

No one wants to pay what quality child care or education is worth. That is just one of the many problems. I have yet to meet a well-off parent who doesn't grumble about the cost of childcare.

 

This is unfortunately all too true.

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37 minutes ago, Arcadia said:

 

I didn’t read her proposal. Being in her state, pretty much became tone deaf to all those stuff.

From the article though, it sounds like the extended hours are just free daycare and not classroom instruction hours. So schools have to hire daycare staff using the proposed grants.

“The bill would also limit the amount of days schools can close without offering free, full-day enrichment activities for students — again, to better align with the limited number of days that parents can take off from work. On average, schools shut down for 29 days during the school year and close for the entire summer. Meanwhile, 39 percent of all workers, and 80 percent of low-wage workers, don't get any paid vacation time at all. 

The grants would primarily serve low-income elementary schools, where there is likely a high percentage of working parents.”

There is a high percentage of working parents at at all schools.  Everyone I know with school-aged kids works - except for some long-term welfare recipients.

There are affordable non-school programs in place for kids who need care on non-school days.  And some schools offer them as well, even over the summer.

I don't think they should be "free" ie 100% state funded.  It would reduce flexibility and standards (in practice if not on paper).

I would not be opposed to having subs or similar sit in on teacher in-service days etc.  But I would rather those days be optional for the families.

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It isn't ideal, but better than kids left home alone in unsafe apartment buildings, etc. 

Some places have done it well, bringing in all sorts of after school programs, having laundry facilities for older kids to get laundry done that they can't afford to take to the laundromat, dentists and barbers and eye doctors that rotate coming in every so often, etc etc. 

SHOULD all that stuff need to happen at the school? No, obviously not. But..if the reality is the they otherwise don't get that stuff, or are in an unsafe situation without a supervising adult for hours on end after school, etc etc it's at least something. 

Having been a working single parent, the stress of trying to find somewhere, anywhere, that you could afford to take your kid on random school holidays was terrible. It really was SO freaking stressful and there were summers where I wasn't sure I could manage at all - thankfully we managed a week with grandparents, a week with other grandparents, etc to cut the costs a bit and my city offered a comparatively low cost option, but they had limited spots and plenty were left in the lurch. 

So yeah, something has to be done and logistical it makes sense to use the school buildings to do it. But not ideal, no.

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3 minutes ago, Scarlett said:

It all just makes me so sad to think of those little kids being away from home for so many hours.  I guess that is the reality of families in poverty. I tell ya though I would take in kids to babysit before I would send my 3 year old off all day.  

It becomes normalized to the point that even middle class families with a SAHP send their preschoolers off for hours a day to a preschool. Full day kindergarten isn't just for kids who "need" additional instruction time. Last I heard, none of our regular elementary schools in our city even offered half-day because there isn't enough demand. If schools are open for additional child care hours for the at risk kids, more and more parents will choose it just because it's there and because child care (even for your own kids) is hard. As a society we need to put more value on in-home care and the benefits of a stable, loving 2-parent home where children can learn valuable life skills. When 5 year olds spending 10 hours a day in a government institution becomes "good enough" we're all screwed.

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8 minutes ago, DesertBlossom said:

It becomes normalized to the point that even middle class families with a SAHP send their preschoolers off for hours a day to a preschool. Full day kindergarten isn't just for kids who "need" additional instruction time. Last I heard, none of our regular elementary schools in our city even offered half-day because there isn't enough demand. If schools are open for additional child care hours for the at risk kids, more and more parents will choose it just because it's there and because child care (even for your own kids) is hard. As a society we need to put more value on in-home care and the benefits of a stable, loving 2-parent home where children can learn valuable life skills. When 5 year olds spending 10 hours a day in a government institution becomes "good enough" we're all screwed.

I agree.  I remember sitting at a ball practice for my XH's work....they were practicing for a picnic game....The CFO's young wife was there and I asked her where her new baby was....Baby was maybe 6 months old...baby was at day care....I knew she didn't work...and my face was probably all kinda shock....and she said she takes both kids there 3 days a week to give herself a break.  I just can't even.....

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I live in a low income area, and I have a ton of questions.

1. I understand that the plan does NOT call for teachers to extend their day. If they did that, they'd have to be paid more, they'd have no time to prep lessons or grade, their health would suffer, and then there'd be another at-risk demographic: the families of teachers! That doesn't seem to be what they have in mind.

2. Our school buildings are old. I can't imagine the cost to fit them out with extended services, even if the personnel could be hired.

3. The #1 way for low income mothers to work, and stay home with their own infants/toddlers and preschoolers, is to run in-home daycares. They have learned the game and done the work of getting licensed.. In a way, it's been good for the community, because people really do work together. Seriously, we are talking about a LOT of women's businesses. If they are not needed because all the children go to school, they will lose their income, and their ability to stay home with their babies. (They stay home because they can't afford infant childcare costs, themselves, with their low education and low paying job options.) So...

a. what happens to these businesses and to these women's earning potential, and

b. what happens to the babies? If the very same single and low income mothers have the very same problems with childcare for their little ones, will there be an 8-6 infant daycare and preschool at the public school?

 

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4 hours ago, PrincessMommy said:

I want to address the bolded particularly.  Extending the school day for this reason smacks of the school system becoming an orphanage in all but name.  I'm not sure that helping kids in bad home situations by putting them in school for longer days is the way to fix that problem.  I'm not saying you thought it was an okay reason either, I'm speaking to society as a whole.  

 

Kids don't have to be in bad home situations to need extended care. When DH was deployed and I was alone with DD and DS, my work hours were 8a to 4:30p. It took me 30 minutes to get to work and 30 minutes to get home, not counting drop off time. Daycare centers opened early enough for me to drop her off and pick her up. In-home daycares did not due to max. working hour requirements. If it weren't for my mom handling pick up (she'd take them to the park every afternoon), I'd never have made it. I also loved that job and my kids loved the school. Time with Grandma afterward was a bonus. Few families are able to provide/have that kind of wraparound care. 

Edited by Sneezyone
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6 minutes ago, Scarlett said:

I agree.  I remember sitting at a ball practice for my XH's work....they were practicing for a picnic game....The CFO's young wife was there and I asked her where her new baby was....Baby was maybe 6 months old...baby was at day care....I knew she didn't work...and my face was probably all kinda shock....and she said she takes both kids there 3 days a week to give herself a break.  I just can't even.....

It is hard. I get it for. For years my sisters and SILs did a babysitting co-op where we took turns once a week watching all the kids ages 1-preschooler for several hours so the rest could run errands without kids in tow. (One year we had 10 kids between us!) I only survived life with littles because of those co-op days. I lived for Friday. Lol. I know not everyone has the luxury of having a supportive family nearby, but I do think the standard should be to rely on family and friends before government-run institutions. The government needs to support families and encourage marriage.

When you have couples who choose not to get married because they will lose government benefits, the system is broken. I don't know how we help those at-risk kids without making government intervention the new standard. But something needs to change. 

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58 minutes ago, Momto6inIN said:

The push for going to full day K instead of half day was supposed to provide time for enrichment too. But it ended up being used for pushing more and more developmentally inappropriate academics younger and younger.

Same with offering free PreK - it was supposed to help gets kids in poverty up to speed but has instead become the de facto normal to send ALL 3 and 4 year olds (regardless of their at risk status) to school all day long all week long.

Right now they're saying it's optional and designed to "help" working families. But ... the slippery slope to this becoming the new normal is disturbing to me.

Right, this is exactly what I worry about.  In our previous location, half day kindy wasn't even available.  It was all day and basically, it was what first grade used to be.  It's not just developmentally inappropriate academics (like spelling tests in Kindy) but developmentally inappropriate expectations overall, like expecting 5yr olds to sit in desks for several hours a day.  

 

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47 minutes ago, Scarlett said:

It all just makes me so sad to think of those little kids being away from home for so many hours.  I guess that is the reality of families in poverty. I tell ya though I would take in kids to babysit before I would send my 3 year old off all day.  

It is a reality of families that aren't in poverty as well.  My sister just had her second baby.  After the first of the year, both the 2.5 yr old and the baby, who will only be 3 months old, will be going off to daycare.  They will be dropped off between 6:30 and 7am, and then picked up some time between 3 and 5pm, depending on the day.  Both my sister and her DH work well paying jobs.  If only one of them worked, they would still be well above the poverty line.  They do it because they want to.  Many many many kids in daycare and attending before and afterschool care programs are NOT there because of poverty, but because both parents want to work.  And even among families where both parents work because they have to, that doesn't mean the family is in poverty, or that they would be if one parent came home.  And then of course there are all the kids who are in single parent families, which happen for a large variety of reasons.  Being a single parent is hard, but it's not automatically a poverty ridden life either.  

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39 minutes ago, DesertBlossom said:

It becomes normalized to the point that even middle class families with a SAHP send their preschoolers off for hours a day to a preschool. Full day kindergarten isn't just for kids who "need" additional instruction time. Last I heard, none of our regular elementary schools in our city even offered half-day because there isn't enough demand. If schools are open for additional child care hours for the at risk kids, more and more parents will choose it just because it's there and because child care (even for your own kids) is hard. As a society we need to put more value on in-home care and the benefits of a stable, loving 2-parent home where children can learn valuable life skills. When 5 year olds spending 10 hours a day in a government institution becomes "good enough" we're all screwed.

This post made one of the scenes from Wall-E pop in my head.  It's that scene where a classroom full of babies, sucking on pacifiers are sitting in a classroom, all wearing their red onsies, with a robot teaching them ABCs.  

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I think it's a form of free daycare.  (just as "holidays' keep getting added into the school year, so it's only a day here and there, instead of a much bigger block over the summer when working parents need to find care.) - now, parents have to pay for extended/after-school care.

I think it would be really hard on kids.

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I think the kids who most need a better option for afternoons are the ones least likely to be happy spending them in a school.

When I was a kid, the dismissal bell was the most beautiful music.  I didn't want to spend one more second in that building or even on the grounds.  And I was a latch-key kid.  I needed the release that getting away from school meant.  Away from the school bullies, the stuck-up girls, the smells and sounds of the school day.  Also, like many schools now, there was nothing fun to do there.  We didn't have a playground, park, pool, etc. ... just the same gym and cafeteria from which we had unpleasant school memories.  Drink this [curdled] milk and eat your [burnt] vegetables!  Choose teams for battleball!  No thanks.

My kids do like their school, but they don't love hanging there for hours every evening.  Enough is enough.  It's good to have the option, but it's not for everyone.

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The before/after school options in our school district run from 6:30 am to 6 pm.  No families I know use ALL those hours, but plenty use some of them.  There are clubs and activities after school on site at most schools kids can roll into and they spend a lot of time doing free play, outside, in the gym, etc.  

That said, I don't think 10 hour school days should be mandatory.  But I would be just fine if these programs were subsidized and more affordable for families.  It's just fact that plenty of families need two incomes.  

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56 minutes ago, DesertBlossom said:

It is hard. I get it for. For years my sisters and SILs did a babysitting co-op where we took turns once a week watching all the kids ages 1-preschooler for several hours so the rest could run errands without kids in tow. (One year we had 10 kids between us!) I only survived life with littles because of those co-op days. I lived for Friday. Lol. I know not everyone has the luxury of having a supportive family nearby, but I do think the standard should be to rely on family and friends before government-run institutions. The government needs to support families and encourage marriage.

When you have couples who choose not to get married because they will lose government benefits, the system is broken. I don't know how we help those at-risk kids without making government intervention the new standard. But something needs to change. 


Yeah, this is some serious stereotyping. Needing two incomes doesn’t mean a family is ‘at risk’. Lots of families are squeezed and need two incomes and marriage isn’t typically delayed because of benefit loss. That idea is 80s old. Marriage doesn’t guarantee parental involvement and government benefits (TANF) are time limited regardless of marriage or family size. In fact, many states require parents (single and otherwise) to work or volunteer to continue receiving benefits. They can’t do that and pick up kids at 12 or 3 o’clock too.

Edited by Sneezyone
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1 hour ago, DesertBlossom said:

It is hard. I get it for. For years my sisters and SILs did a babysitting co-op where we took turns once a week watching all the kids ages 1-preschooler for several hours so the rest could run errands without kids in tow. (One year we had 10 kids between us!) I only survived life with littles because of those co-op days. I lived for Friday. Lol. I know not everyone has the luxury of having a supportive family nearby, but I do think the standard should be to rely on family and friends before government-run institutions. The government needs to support families and encourage marriage.

When you have couples who choose not to get married because they will lose government benefits, the system is broken. I don't know how we help those at-risk kids without making government intervention the new standard. But something needs to change. 

Right.  I get it....I am not against mothers getting a break.  This CFO wife just seemed different.  But who knows maybe she was suffering with some illness and really needed that care for her kids.  

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We have a de facto/pay to play program already going at our kids' local elementary schools. For $250ish/month (which is heavily subsidized) kids stay after school until 5:30.  They are given a snack, have a mandatory homework/reading time, and do some physical sports.  Our school runs a math intervention group at this time period because many of the after school kids need math intervention.  I believe there's also an English immersion program running also. The program currently buses all of the kids home after the program ends.  There's some debate as to whether they can continue the funding for busing. With budget cuts, it appears that the evening bus may be ending.

On the flip side, I also get flyers where I can put my kid into "science labs" or "sports intensives". They run the same hours, but average $25/session hour.  So, if I put my kids into those programs, I pay $250/week.   They fill quickly.

The reality is that there is such a daycare shortage in our area that people pay to nanny share or they pay for one of the above programs. Nearly every family has two parents working because it's a HCOL area. I'm an aberration as a SAHM with four kids. 

---------------

Frankly, I'd be supportive of a longer state funded day only if the program was optional and if:

1. We fed our kids proper food for lunch and snack. If the schools all had gardens and children learned to grow veg and contribute them to soups, bake bread, etc. all Montessori style, I'd be thrilled. The older age levels could sell at the farmer's markets for half-credits and cash they could put into personal college funds. 

2. Some proper exercise and mindfulness continued to be part of the program. I'd love to see lifelong wellness skills being taught.

3. Science labs and art were actually taught.  There is almost 0 hands on science happening at our local schools. It's actually awful how few books and materials are used in any of the schools.

4. Outdoor schools became not only standard 6th grade education but field work days were a regular part of aftercare. 

You can get all of the above if you pay $30k/year in private school tuition. The wait lists are several years long for the programs.

---------------------

Because I cannot get all of the above, I volunteer in the classroom and after school heavily.  I am probably going to be bringing the girls home again next year to homeschool fully now that my health has stabilized.  

 

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1 hour ago, happysmileylady said:

It is a reality of families that aren't in poverty as well.  My sister just had her second baby.  After the first of the year, both the 2.5 yr old and the baby, who will only be 3 months old, will be going off to daycare.  They will be dropped off between 6:30 and 7am, and then picked up some time between 3 and 5pm, depending on the day.  Both my sister and her DH work well paying jobs.  If only one of them worked, they would still be well above the poverty line.  They do it because they want to.  Many many many kids in daycare and attending before and afterschool care programs are NOT there because of poverty, but because both parents want to work.  And even among families where both parents work because they have to, that doesn't mean the family is in poverty, or that they would be if one parent came home.  And then of course there are all the kids who are in single parent families, which happen for a large variety of reasons.  Being a single parent is hard, but it's not automatically a poverty ridden life either.  

There's more to life than being above the poverty line.

Paying for college and health care and saving for retirement are good things.

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6 hours ago, hjffkj said:

I think a free extended care program with enrichment activities for those families that need it isn't a bad idea in theory.  Extending the school day for every student is stupid and would be harmful for many families. However, I don't think any changes in free extended care programs should even be considered if a school/district is incapable of giving a god education during regular school hours.  The funds simply aren't there for a program like this and shouldn't be found until more schools are taking care of the students when they are already supposed to be.

Dh's martial arts school has an after school program and the last thing most of those kids need is to be in school for longer. Yes, they are shuffled from school to a different place that isn't home to continue to be cared for by people who aren't their parents. But they do get a change of scenery, many different people to interact with that aren't associated with their school, and tons of physical activity. 

I agree with this. I’ve read about inner city charter schools that do this with great success. The extended day allows for extra academic help and more regular enrichment activities such as music and art. But parents are choosing these schools, so they know what they are signing up for.

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6 hours ago, HomeAgain said:

Right now, a lot of kids have a 10 hour school day, plus bussing.  They get to school at 7am for breakfast.  They do school, and then do an after-care program until 5pm, usually set up so there's a homework hour, snack, and controlled play hour.  It's pretty standard.

HOWEVER, this proposal doesn't get to the root of the issue that needs to be fixed: a livable wage for individuals.  With a livable wage, more parents would be able to work less or have one parent home in the afternoons and give kids what they need.  This is a bandaid on a bigger problem.

While I’m all for better wages, you have to take into account that a significant percentage of children are living in single parent homes. Even with better wages, many jobs are not flexible enough to allow a parent to be home when a child finishes the school day.

Edited to add that while I was very fortunate to never have to do it, many children younger than school aged, including some from relatively well off families, already spend 10 or more hours per day in child care. So I’m guessing at least some parents would like this to be available and paid for by everyone. While I never would have wanted that for my son, it’s the reality for some parents and a choice for others.

Edited by Frances

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6 hours ago, PrincessMommy said:

I want to address the bolded particularly.  Extending the school day for this reason smacks of the school system becoming an orphanage in all but name.  I'm not sure that helping kids in bad home situations by putting them in school for longer days is the way to fix that problem.  I'm not saying you thought it was an okay reason either, I'm speaking to society as a whole.  

 

There are charter public boarding schools in some parts of the country precisely because parents want to be able to get their children out of a poor school/neighborhood environment and offer them more opportunities and better outcomes than those available at their local failing public schools. I’m fine with these types of programs and the one described in the OP, as long as they are by choice. I would not be ok with local neighborhood schools requiring extended days, especially when so many can’t even do a half way decent job with the time they already have.

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Extending before and after school care to be free and optional to every student sounds like a great idea to me.

In one of the elementary schools I went to after my parents divorced they sort of had a program like this.  It was free or very cheap.  The gym teacher had open gym hours for anyone who wanted to play.  In the winter term the gym was full of gymnastics equipment.  My mom could never have afforded gymnastics lessons but I was very interested so I took part and loved it.  It would be awesome if every school could have opportunities like that. 

I am not interested in extending the school day so kids can do more seat work.  They have too much of that as is.

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3 hours ago, happysmileylady said:

That's exactly what this is.  And if you read through it, it's not just state funded daycare after school, but it also says schools wouldn't be allowed to close except for weekends, federal holidays and emergencies.  So, no professional development days, but also, no fall break, so spring break, etc.  But also.....the teachers aren't allowed to be required to work more hours.  Which I suppose means that the school is supposed to now employ a full second set of staff?  

I don't know that this is a good idea for kids.  It might be good for parents who need more daycare and struggle to pay for it, but I don't think it would work out well for kids.  

When I was growing up in a small, rural Midwest community where almost all the moms were at home, we did not have any days off during the school year except a short winter break and the Friday before and Monday after Easter. On Veteran’s Day, we did veteran themed stuff and had veterans come and talk at school. Ditto for President’s Day (but of course no presidents visiting, 😛) and all of those other Monday holidays. Parent teacher conferences were held after school in the afternoon and evening. Professional development days were held right before the school year started or right after it ended. I actually think the continuity and regular schedule was good for everyone involved. We also had three recesses per day in elementary school, PE a few times per week, music and art every week, and hot, homemade lunches every day. And formal academics were not pushed down to early grades like they are now. So the schedule was very regular with almost no days off, but the school days and weeks were much more balanced.

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13 hours ago, Arctic Mama said:

Well and I think it is telling that the district I am in, one of the top performing in the state (and well ranked nationwide too) has ONLY half day preschool offered through the district, and half of those enrolled are special needs students, with the other half having seats on a waitlisted basis and with sliding scale tuition.  It’s a wonderful preschool, I’ve been extremely impressed, but the purpose is NOT daycare.  It isn’t particularly friendly to working families with inflexible schedules, but that’s not a significant local demographic.

The reason the principal says she doesn’t do full day preschool and kinder is precisely because the kids can’t handle it. Even with a play based and therapy based educational program it’s still too much to run it the entire day. 

It’s similar to what is being seen at many highly ranked public and private schools and among parents in Silicon Valley. They are moving to no or very limited screens, while at the same time many of their companies are profiting off getting as many screens as possible into public schools.

It makes me very sad and angry to think about young kids in academic public preschools. If a parent wants to pay for a private one, that’s completely fine. But I don’t want my tax dollars going to developmentally inappropriate academic preschools.

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2016/01/the-new-preschool-is-crushing-kids/419139/

Edited by Frances
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3 hours ago, Scarlett said:

It all just makes me so sad to think of those little kids being away from home for so many hours.  I guess that is the reality of families in poverty. I tell ya though I would take in kids to babysit before I would send my 3 year old off all day.  

It’s not just families in poverty. I work with and live near many upper middle class families who choose this.

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1 minute ago, Frances said:

It’s not just families in poverty. I work with and live near many upper middle class families who choose this.

Makes me sad for them too.

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I understand that having this as an option would help some kids and families in the short term. But what are the long term ramifications of having more and more kids spending less and less time with their families and more and more time with paid caretakers? Because that's where this is all going. Even if it remains optional, if it's free, more and more people are going to utilize it.

My husband and the board of directors he is on for an outreach program that serves people in 3rd world countries grapple with this issue too. By trying to help people with their short term needs, are we inadvertently setting them up to fail and actually hurting them in the long term?

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