Editor: Chris Croll’s column, “Parents May be Ready for Year-Round School,” brings out many good points in support of changes to the structure of the present school year.
Originally created to accommodate agricultural life, it no longer serves the needs of today’s society. A year-round school structure would make better use of the expensive-to-maintain palaces that are in vogue.
The changes should be carefully considered, including the many systemic problems that have developed over the past 150 years. For instance, what is being taught and who decides? Has true education been lost? The need to create an opt-out option because of content suggests fundamentally improper decision making. How much money is being spent and who decides? Schools have been heavily consolidated since the 1970s and school boards, originally intended to guide in the place of parents, have increasingly become overlords serving against the wishes of parents. Witness the Loudoun recall petitions.
A second article now declares, “Needed: Parents to supervise school boards. Should ‘investigate what their tax dollars are funding’” Another recent article has parents reading embarrassing passages to Loudoun school board members from books they approved … and somehow defend.
Since 1980, we have spent more money on our school systems than was spent in all of our previous history. But to what end? Salaries and pensions appear have been the primary beneficiaries, while actual learning has been the obvious casualty. Why? Whatever happened to Dunbar High School from the 1940s in Washington, DC?
And now, Loudoun County is attempting to place a different voice on the school board, a teacher’s union representative. But to what end? Salaries and pensions? This cannot be a voice intended to serve the balance. The teacher’s union is, in fact, one of the systemic problems that has magnified over time and needs to be considered for change. It would truly be “For the children,” in my view.
Without the willingness to revise the entire structure of the school system, a year-round option is little more than tinkering with appearances, that is, redecorating the cafeteria to improve the food. The absence of a total reform leads parents to one alternative … home schooling. Private schools are also an option, but for many, only if the student’s funding accompanies the decision. This would be the true (and needed) reform. It may be the solution, as well.
Stephen Miller, Purcellville