The School: Part 2 The Rules

October 26, 2007 at 3:09 am Leave a comment

Rules for Students A school, as we discussed, is a brick and mortar structure composed of a bunch of cells (oops! I mean classrooms.) in which children are herded where the shepherd exposes the lovely lambs to opportunities of learning. This the traditional school most of us have in mind and probably what the overwhelming most of the us have experienced. Traditional schools have names PS 45, The William Penn Elementary, Central High School or Academy of Our Lady of Good Counsel High School. There are rigid schedules: 8:40 AM to 3:10 PM. There are bells. Don’t be tardy! There were lavatories (rest rooms or bath rooms). And schools had smells! The smells changed as the day progressed.

Schools are governed by rules. There are rules for the school. There are rules for the teachers. There are rules for the pupils. There are even rules for the parents. It would take many blogs to cover all the rules. In this blog, we will briefly cover an extremely complex issue. Public schools are governed by school boards. Who are must follow the mandates of the State Board of Education. Who interprets and executes the mandates of the School Code. Which are the statues passed by the state legislature. These are the politicians we elect every so often.

There are rules that govern the number of days that schools must have on their calendar. This calendar must be approved by the school board. In Illinois there must 180 days minimum in the calendar. Four of those days can be used for Teacher Institute days (Training or development programs). Some school districts have more days on their calendar. The City of Chicago has 185 days.

There are rules to cover the amount of time spent in school. There are so many minutes required for subject area in the elementary schools (Grades 1-8). High schools have minimum credits for subject areas. Each year schools must file forms to show their time distribution. The quality of a school involves the time distribution on the elementary grade and the number of credits achieved on the secondary level.

It is the number of days and time on task that politicians propagandize as solutions to school problems. “Keep those kids in school longer.” I can hear the political candidate bellowing. “More time in the school day and on task.” This has been the “quick answer” solution to apparent problems in education. This is the madness that has stripped away recess in many schools and the 15- or 20-lunch period. Remember when there was recess, hat or cold. There was milk and cookie time. Lunch was an hour. There were some pretty bright and good people that graduated from those schools. They could  add and subtract, read and write, laugh and cry, think and solve a problem; they were for the most part somewhat well adjusted individuals.

So what happened to the rules that used to run our schools. Tests and more tests and even more tests.

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Entry filed under: school.

The School: Part 1 The Building The School: Part 3 Testing

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