Sunday, February 12, 2006

The Funding Dilemna

Here at my school, we follow a six period schedule. Classes last 55 minutes. Plenty of teachers feel that 55 minutes isn't enough. But at my alma mater in Connecticut, they are dealing with a problematic eight period day.
More than 60 percent of the school's seniors, and nearly a fifth of all students, have three study halls
a day. The vast majority of students have at least two. As a result, students spend a large chunk of many
school days chatting or doing homework in the cafeteria, library or classrooms.
The surplus of study halls is a symptom of a common problem in many districts: Budget constraints mean
schools can offer fewer electives.
I enjoy keeping up with my childhood town's news. I greatly respect the education that I received. It allowed me to fulfill my academic goals in college. I felt far more prepared than many of my counterparts. One of the reasons I respect Ellington High School is their dedication to developing the whole student. It seems to me that, with all of the pressure from NCLB, the sole focus of schools has become academics--math, science, english. But certainly, the electives have value. My two years in Theater Arts has come in handy as a teacher. As teachers, we perform on a daily basis.
But as the face of Ellington changes, they must wrestle with the questions that every school district must face: are we willing to spend the money? If the town wants to maintain the image it has had, the people must be willing to pay for it. If the town is unwilling to pay, the people must realize their role in the demise of Ellington High's reputation.
Then, it will be time for Ellington High to turn to a six period day, limiting the opportunities for the well rounded student. That possibility saddens this blogger, and former EHS student.
The current situation saddens me already. What an absurd waste of time. I do not have all of the EHS requirements to review, but certainly these students should have more challenging course work available to occupy their time. I can tell you from experience that when I attended EHS, I was thoroughly challenged, thanks to many great educators and rigorous coursework.


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