Wednesday, September 29, 2010

School Year?

Well, now I've seen proof that we atheists & agnostics know far more about religion than followers. I thought perhaps the poll/survey was a tad on the exaggerated sign, but maybe it's more accurate than I thought. I took the quiz as well, scored a 13 out of 15 (& had I properly read the question on my tiny iphone screen, I would've realized I hit the wrong response to one of them... & I completely guessed on the other.) I get that they're Catholic & have no real reason to know Jewish holy days, etc, but really? They couldn't tell the difference between Yom Kippur & Hanukkah, let alone when they occur.

But oddly enough, that wasn't the original topic that was brought up. Oh no, I shut them up really fast about that & completely changed the topic. So my coworker starts, "President Obama (imagine a slightly nasty tone) wants to make the school year longer!" This is the closest we've ever come to a real political conversation at work-- I wasn't about to pass it up, so I immediately chimed in with "A longer school year has proven to be effective in other countries. It does depend on other factors as well, but they could just extend the school day or week rather than the entire year." And then they start talking about "oh but it's too hot! They'll have to install Central Air conditioning everywhere!" & "Now why can't they just get rid of all of those holidays. They have all of those Jewish holidays off. Why don't we just get Christmas for us, and, what's it, what's that holiday they have around our Christmas, Yom Kipy? No wait, what's it called? It's like 8 days or something."
Me - "Yom Kippur is the Day of Atonement. You're thinking of Hanukk-"
Coworker - "It's Yom Kippur, isn't it?"
Me- "Hanukkah!"
Coworker - "Oh! Yea, that one. Why don't they just get that, & we get Christmas for us, & that's it?"
Conversation goes on like this for several minutes, until I go-- "Many other countries already have a longer school year. Japan & France often have school 6 days a week - M-F & half a day Saturday. And their test scores tend to be much higher than ours."
Coworker - "Yea, & all of Asia! They all do so well on math scores..."
Me - [I'm not going to touch that...] "We actually score fairly low on math and reading compared to other industrialized nations. Their school systems have proven to be far more efficient." [this is me trying to tone it down, even though it seems that they now agree with me & have completely forgotten they were about to trash talk Obama :-D Dude, you owe me one.]

But simply lengthening a school year doesn't solve much without reforming the school system in general, including standardized testing & teacher performance. Like I said, our goal should really be making our school system more efficient... It would be pretty pointless to have the kids sitting around for a few more hours of doing the same old useless shit that's not getting them anywhere.

So other than that, my day has been relatively... eventful. Painfully so. But that's a story for another time-- I'm off to read the newspapers & see what's going on in the world. Post to (eventually) follow.

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