Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Editorial: Afterschool tutorials, Laredo Proud!

As the crickets started to chirp, the students knew it was almost time to go home.
I was talking to a teacher not long ago who was surprised by one of her "new" students. The 4th grader had just moved in from Dallas with her family. Reportedly, she was confused beyond belief when she first learned that there was such a thing as afterschool tutorials. These are the yearly cram sessions our kids are subjected to in preparation for the TAKS tests. As it turns out, the new student had never heard of such a thing and neither had her mother. Eventually, she was excused from having to stay afterschool because she had made good enough grades in previous tests.

I have a hard time understanding the logic that if you make the school day longer, the kids are going to learn more. This can happen if the proper steps are taken and the students are still alert and able to absorb the extended day's lessons. But from I've heard, the long hours do not equal improved performance. The right thing to do would be to stick to the regular schedule and fine-tune the teaching to make the most of the day. The fact that afterschool tutorials are now considered to be the norm allows for laxness during the regular school day. That is what I have heard on several occasions. Extend the school year like the Japanese do but dont force our kids to stay at school longer than the rest of the state does. It lowers expectations.

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