About Time

The best way to improve American education would be to move to metric time. If we divide the day into 100 ‘hours’ of 14.4 minutes, we can claim that our children attend school nearly 5000 hours a year – more than China, Japan and Korea combined.

Okay, nobody will buy that.

The current discussion about this country’s dismal education system, however, is all about time. How much time — days, hours — should our children be spending in school? More is always better, right?

Students in Japan attend school 240 days a year; in South Korea, it’s 220. In the US, it’s only 180. Since those countries regularly best us academically, the solution seems obvious: keep kids in school for more days, or make the days longer.

Some states have eliminated snow days in order to force districts to make up these ‘free’ days. My district gets only 3 snow days this year, where last year we had 5. In most years, we use up those days, and in a few years, we’ve had to make up a day or two because we’ve used up our allowance. Rural districts have ten or more snow days a year; unless they use up spring break and a few Saturdays, they’ll be in school until nearly the end of June. In other words, don’t plan your vacation yet.

I’m not so sure that keeping kids in school five more days in June would replace the time we would have spent in the classroom in January or February. More


Assuming that we are all short on time and have a backlog of unread stuff on Google Reader, I will here summarize all the ideas I had this week that are not worth writing 500 words about:

Bloglet 1: I never really enjoy snow days as much as I should because all day I’m thinking to myself, “I should be enjoying this.”

Bloglet 2: Why I hate talking on the phone. Texting is much better. This is because I am an asocial, laconic person and the only people who call me are recorded messages.

Bloglet 3: About those people who come to the door carrying clipboards and asking me to sign things. Then they show me pictures in a plastic sleeve and tell me why I should be outraged that this is going on. Then they ask for money. Then I close the door. Because I’m asocial.

Bloglet 4: I forget to use enough emoticons when I’m being satirical and ironic. :-/ This is because everything I write is satire or irony.☺ People think I’m serious and become outraged. ☹

Bloglet 5: How I learned to eat breakfast without a newspaper. Why do they still publish those things, anyway?

Bloglet 6: Why celebrities give their little girls last names for first names: Madison, Taylor, Harlow. (Answer: because of Daryl Hannah.) I’m going to have a daughter and name her Wachtelhausen.

Bloglet 7: Why writers blog about writing. (Answer: we’re avoiding our unfinished novels.)

There you have it – a week’s worth of posts, 252 words. Look how much time I’ve saved you.

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