The United States school calendar is based on an agrarian economy, meaning that it is based on the farming calendar. Obama stated that this calendar does not affect us any longer and "We can no longer afford an academic calendar designed when America was a nation of farmers who needed their children at home plowing the land at the end of each day". In many countries all around the world, children are spending on average more than 25% additional time in the classroom every day (Libby Quaid). The President feels that American children need to spend more time in school to keep up with the children of the other countries. Another problem reported is that after summer vacation much time is spent reviewing topics students forget over the summer.
The President's proposal over this issue has caused people all over the United States to have mixed reactions. Parents who do not agree with the proposal feel that it would take away from family time at home (Libby Quaid). Longer school days would also cut into the extracurricular activities that are so prevalent in many American children's lives such as sports, music lessons, club activities, and even jobs. People have also said this will just increase the stress on American students, many who are already leading high stress academic and personal lives. Plus having more school would increase the cost with more money needed for teachers, support staff, and building maintenance just to name a few (Anita Gutierrez-Folch).
Americans who do agree with the proposal say that cutting summer vacation will make it so teachers won't have to spend so much time at the beginning of each school year reviewing what students learned the year before because they forgot it (Libby Quaid). Many also feel year round school and/or longer school days will benefit the majority of American families and children who now come from homes where both parents are working and so therefore there is no one at home to support and supervise the children at the end of the school day. Many younger children especially are already staying longer hours in school participating in various after school care programs. Above all, those in favor of the proposal feel that for the youth of America to be able to compete and work successfully in the global market today the USA must change its school system to equal that of other powerhouse nations.
Whether President Obama is able to make any of his proposed changes take place during his years in office remain to be seen. He is not the person to suggest these changes or to start dialog about this topic. As a high student myself I can only hope these changes do not happen before I graduate.
Anita Gutierrez-Folch. "Obama Pushes for More School, Less Vacation." FindingDulcinea | Online Guides | Internet Library | Web Resources. Web. Nov. 2009.
QUAID, LIBBY. "Kids beware: Obama would cut summer break |." KOMO News. Web. Nov. 2009.