September 30, 2009 | Diane Johnson | 2 Comments President Obama is claiming that children in the U.S. spend too little time at school. He is proposing that the school day be lengthened or the summer break shortened. In comparison to other countries, American students are not reaching the mark and steps need to be taken to ensure that we remain competitive in education. The president acknowledges that the idea isn’t popular with his daughter’s Malia and Sasha or in his family, but "we must face the challenges of a new century demand for more time in the classroom.” The president wants schools to last longer in the day, stay open late, and be open on the weekends so that kids have a safe place to go when they don't have classes. Our school system is set upon an agrarian economy because that's what our country started out as. America is no longer an agrarian society so the seasons shouldn't predict the school year. Kids today are not out "working the fields" said Education Secretary Arne Duncan. Both the President and Education Secretary are enraptured by the idea of making schools longer. Apparently several schools in Maryland have lengthened the school day and added over 300 hours in the past three years. Students stay 3 hours longer each day. Initially, students didn't like the additional hours but now admit they've learned a lot. The results thus far seem to be positive. Summer school has helped many students in the past. He believes that children could learn more if summer vacations were lengthened, plus they would have an easier time remembering what they had learned in the past. Therefore, teachers and students could progress much quicker because they are able to focus on learning new material rather than reviewing past lessons. Adding to the school year is in complete opposition to what experts have been telling us about over scheduling children. The president wants to not only make school days longer but also have a shorter summer vacation. Children already have to focus on school, homework, sports, musical instruments, friends, family and may now have to face more time in school. I realize that we need to keep up with what other countries are doing in the world if we are to maintain our standard of living and competitiveness in the marketplace, but where does it stop? Kids already juggle so much and there is a lot of responsibility placed upon them. It seems like nowadays they don't really get to experience childhood, because they are to busy doing other things. All parents want their children to be geniuses. Just look at all the materials you can buy to make your baby smarter. Even as babies we are stressing the importance of learning and intelligence, so that they can be successful in life. That's good to a certain point, but I think sometimes parents have lost their focus on what's really important and letting kids be kids. They will be adults and have responsibilities soon enough. We need children that are intelligent, but also have social skills and they can't develop that if they always have their nose in a book. They need to be able to spend time with their friends and learn about life outside of the classroom. Sometimes what they learn outside of school is more important. So where is the balance between school and life when it comes to American kids? Is extending the school day and shortening summer really worth the cost? The major problem is that we have been scoring low on tests in comparison with other countries. What we need to do is find a way to be more efficient. Score higher on tests and improve our learning methods while still maintaining an appropriate school day length.