Saturday, May 21, 2011

Work, School, Family

I care a great deal about children and how they are brought up. Yes, it's important to our future, but children can also be so very vulnerable, and a great deal of their future health and habits and outlooks on life can come from their upbringing. Children need people who care about them, love them, look after them.

It's bad enough that the state of California may need to cut some weeks out of its school year, although not surprising given the long record of financial mismanagement. What made me sad was that the first thought seemed to be not, "What about our childrens' education?", but "Who will watch our kids?" Why is this a bigger issue? I just don't understand it, perhaps because I know so many moms who do manage to stay home with their children, and so many families where when both parents work, they also blow a lot of money. Many of the dual-income parents at my daughter's dance school, for example, have two cars, take a lot of vacations, and pick up pizza or fast food for dinner on their way home from a late afternoon crammed with activities. If more moms stayed home, or worked from home, or worked part-time, etc., day-care slots would not be so "scarce." Of course, sometimes both parents do have to work, or sometimes there is only one parent. But the people who really needed help might find it easier if everybody else, who maybe didn't have to, wasn't going to work also.

For that matter, what do these parents do with children over the summer? This question is never answered. Of course a lot of day-care centers, churches, etc. offer "summer camp" which is basically a glorified day-care for older children. I'm sure they'd love the chance to make more money by extending this service. I also find it odd that the one mother quoted solved the problem of a week off in October by taking her children on vacation. She protests however, that she can't take the kids on vacation for five weeks. Strangely, she is not quoted as saying she can't afford it, or she doesn't have that much vacation time, but "How many times can I go to Happy Hollow?" Is this really her biggest concern, or is she poorly quoted? I have, sadly, seen parents who don't really like being around their children. Is this the case here, where they have to be kept busy on vacation or she gets unhappy being at home with them?

The other thing that stands out to me as making this article poorly written, is the quote at the end by a high school sophomore that points out that there is not much work done at the end of a school year anyway. I won't argue that point. My youngest daughter is taking several field trips, having fun days, and spending some extra time in school practicing for end-of-the-year concerts. But if you shorten the school year, you won't really get rid of "that end-of-the-year mentality." You'll just move it up a bit.

There are lots of things to discuss when deciding to shorten the time our children spend on education. I just think this article didn't emphasize the right ones very well, and made me sad about how we look on watching out for our children.

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