Monday's Food for Thought

Monday’s Food for Thought: America’s Education Calendar

Is America’s Education calendar outdated?

I ran across this article a couple of months ago about adopting longer school years in the States, and personally, part of me thinks it’s a great idea, especially after living abroad for the last 5 years seeing another model work.

The other part of me that thinks it’s a bad idea remembers my idyllic childhood summers of ice cream, camp, sleep overs, baseball, and trips to the pool with my cousins, and I’d love to be able to give that to my son, as well.

“The fact that our calendar has been based on the agrarian economy when almost none of our kids work in the field anymore,” said Arne Duncan, secretary of education, “doesn’t make any sense whatsoever.”

If you’re a teacher in the USA, what do you think? Do you think we should adopt a longer school year? Would you be willing to try it if they implemented a different pay structure? If you are a working parent, do you struggle with summer childcare under the current system? How do you manage?

~Mandy

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Monday's Food for Thought

Monday’s Food for Thought: The Busy Trap

After reading this op-ed from the New York Times,  it was hard not to share it immediately with my incredibly hard working, never take a break grad student husband.  The article gave me a bit to think about since I am easily the one to fill up our social calendars and then later get overwhelmed by feeling ‘too busy’ with so many commitments.  The last bit on idleness really struck a nerve as well. It seems almost impossible to practice something like this while living in the time constraints of a graduate student lifestyle.

“Idleness is not just a vacation, an indulgence or a vice; it is as indispensable to the brain as vitamin D is to the body, and deprived of it we suffer a mental affliction as disfiguring as rickets. The space and quiet that idleness provides is a necessary condition for standing back from life and seeing it whole, for making unexpected connections and waiting for the wild summer lightning strikes of inspiration — it is, paradoxically, necessary to getting any work done. “Idle dreaming is often of the essence of what we do,” wrote Thomas Pynchon in his essay on sloth.”

This summer, are you relaxing or are you crazy busy?

-M.C.