January 25th, 2013 at 7:42 AM ^

I wish we would implement mandatory art and music requirements in school first before this action. Also bring back a real PE class and then all kids could participate in physical activity.


January 25th, 2013 at 7:58 AM ^

How many hours a day do you want kids to spend in school?

I think we should let kids choose the electives they want.  Forcing them to take music, PE and whatnot against their will is not the answer.  That will just make life hell for the people who teach those subjects. 

High school should have recess, though. 


January 25th, 2013 at 8:08 AM ^

Nonsense.  They spend plenty of time in school - and far too much time doing homework outside of it.  School is supposed to be a time to learn and grow as an individual.  It's mutated into a soul-crushing experience that turns people off to learning.

What I'd do if I were in charge of things: have school year-round, but only four days a week (Wednesdays should be off).  That way you're always a day before or after a break.  Then I'd have block scheduling, with no more than four courses per day, and a full hour for lunch/recess.  Classes would be longer, but teachers would be advised not to assign daily homework.  Class would be intense, but then after school, students would be free to do other things and not stay up until 1:00 doing homework (and then coming in exhausted the next day to school and then falling asleep in class). 

The problem with our schools is not that they don't have enough time, but that they make terrible use of it, and overcompensate by piling on unreasonable demands (how are you supposed to complete six homework assignments in one evening, five days a week, without hating your life?).



January 25th, 2013 at 8:16 AM ^

I'd also add that classes need to be more rooted in reality.  Kids aren't taught how to pay bills, or perform other adult duties.  Academic subjects should be balanced by practical subjects, not that academics are not practical.  College can be tailored to the academic.  High school should be as prepatory for the real world as possible, allowing kids to excel at something they enjoy while introducing kids to a broad range of topics.  The world needs builders, mechanics, chefs, as well as teachers and doctors. 

Critical thinking should be emphasized more, as many kids get out of school and find that if they don't know how to do something, they simply don't do it.  Schools should teach a way of thinking instead of just fact memorization.

Doc Brown

January 25th, 2013 at 9:04 AM ^

You would love the changes coming down the road with states adopting a common core of standards. I can only speak about the next generation of math and science standards (my certifications). There is a strong emphasis for content to be pratical and focusing less on the content but more on developing higher cognitive skills. Gone are the days of learning cell theory and glycolysis in a vacuum without an emphasis how this content is useful in real life. I like to bring up nutrition in my biology and have students analyze the effectiveness of different diets based upon one's physical lifestyle. My students learn about metabolism while also learning how to plan a healthy diet and exercise regiment. By the way, the Lance Armstrong situation has been godsend for biology teachers. Perfect case study for the effect of PED's and doping on cellular respiration. 

Doc Brown

January 25th, 2013 at 8:56 AM ^

If you have that much homework, then your teacher(s) are doing it wrong. The most homework I have given my students is 20 minutes and it was five problems.My philosophy is that homework should serve as extra practice or as an extention activity if a student wants to delve into the content and skills more deeply. Students have way too much on their plate as it is. 

I am the same way when I coach cross country. I have a mandatory training run for my runners after school. If that want to develop advance distance running skills, I provide them with an optional training plan for morning runs before they come to school.  

Doc Brown

January 25th, 2013 at 8:51 AM ^

As a teacher depending on your future profession  However, the critical thinking, creativity, group work, and social skills you learn in secondary education should be the end goal. I don't expect my students to remember or even use Newton's third law at any point in the future. However, I expect my students to use the problem solving, procedural, and analytical skills in their chosen profession. They should understand when they a presented with a problem to solve, what tools they will need, how they will use the tools, and development an effective procedure. Even the guy working at Jiffy Lube needs to use critical thinking and analytical skills everyday. 

Doc Brown

January 25th, 2013 at 8:41 AM ^

PE classes for students that already participating in after school sports is freaking pointless. I still remember my friend and I lapping everyone in our gym class several times during the mile run because we were also on the cross country team. Why should athletes who already  are active need additional physical activity in a PE class, which actually may hurt their performance during practice or upcoming meet/game. My school ended up passing a waiver rule for athletes to skip out of the PE class requirement if you participated in fall and spring sports. I do agree non-athletes need a physical activity outlet, especially with obesity related conditions on the rise. 

I teach physics and I believe that there should be mandatory arts requirement, whether it is visual or performance based. The development of student creativity and use of higher order knowledge and proceses (according to Bloom's Taxonomy) is a major emphasis for current educational reform in the common core. Music and the visual arts the perfect subjects for development of these higher order skills. There have been studies after studies showing the postive impact of creative studies for student performance in traditional subjects of math, language arts, social studies, and science. 


January 25th, 2013 at 7:54 AM ^

50 of the population at federally funded universities. This is not that. This is high schools making room for kids who want to be like other kids. There may be a few modified rules here or there, like visual signals for the start of a race for deaf kids to participate in, but this is not a big deal. I think you are getting a bit carried away.

"the letter is directed to elementary and secondary schools and the department hasn't provided comparable guidance to colleges"


January 25th, 2013 at 8:03 AM ^

First, the idea the the US is "neutering" itself by ensuring that kids with disabilities are given fair opportunity to play sports completely misses the point. The point is that what kids learn in competitive sports is valuable, and there is no reason to exclude a class of students from being able to try out for teams--thereby learning some of those competitive lessons--just because it's a little harder to accommodate them.

Second, your claim that this will keep more gifted players from being able to play is wrong. You could try reading the article you link to:

Education Department officials emphasized they did not intend to change sports' traditions dramatically or guarantee students with disabilities a spot on competitive teams. Instead, they insisted schools cannot exclude students based on their disabilities if they can keep up with their classmates.

"It's not about changing the nature of the game or the athletic activity," said Seth Galanter, the acting assistant secretary for civil rights at the Education Department.


January 25th, 2013 at 8:09 AM ^

First, the neutering thing was a broad concept that applies to many facets of how this country now works.

Second, how do you enforce something that is inherently subjective?  What if Timmy is handicapped and has an inflated view of his athletic prowess.  He convinces his parents to take action after he gets cut from the football team.  Nobody thinks they don't deserve playing time.  I was a good athlete in high school, but at the time I had myself halfway convinced that I could be a professional athlete, though I wasn't even close to that level.


January 25th, 2013 at 8:35 AM ^

I think we'll just have to disagree on whether we as a society are suffering from a lack of competition or toughness or balls or whatever "neutering" is supposed to apply to.

Your other point is a legitimate concern, and unless ED provides more guidance on implementation standards, there will probably have to be a few court cases that test this out before we get clearer on what exactly is required, what the school's liability is, etc. My guess is that we'll wind up with something that just requires the school to be able to demonstrate that the student in question had a reasonable opportunity to try out for a team. This doesn't seem to burdensome to me.


January 25th, 2013 at 8:28 AM ^

I haven't done much research on the history of Title IX but I'd be surprised if that wasn't an expected outcome. It's simple math + the assumption of limited resources. Let's say that before Title IX your school has men's basketball and men's lacrosse. After Title IX they can't afford to add women's basketball and women's lacrosse, so they drop men's lacrosse and add women's basketball. This isn't unfair to men, it's balancing out the opportunities between genders to have competitive sports.

I know people argue that this sort of situation reduces opportuinities for men, but those opportunities only existed because of prior unfair policies, so so be it.


January 25th, 2013 at 8:21 AM ^

The only kids that I can think of who would benefit from this would be deaf children. No physical impairments save for their hearing. With just about every other disability, ones physical mobility (an essential aspect of basically every sport) is severely hindered and therefore prevents one from "keeping up with classmates." 


January 25th, 2013 at 8:33 AM ^

I'd rather not have to explain the law behind this, and/or point out the ways in which your take on it is INCREDIBLY heartless, insensitive to disabled children, and just plain douchey.

Wolverine Devotee

January 25th, 2013 at 8:44 AM ^

I guess I'm heartless too because I agree with everything the OP said.

It should be like anything else. If the disabled athlete can play and isn't just dead weight, that's fine. But if he's holding down the team and is of no value, well that sucks. 



January 25th, 2013 at 8:56 AM ^

Making sports more accesbie to disabled children is a noble cause which no one would disagree with- Where the disagreement lies seems to be in whether or not it is really the governments place to sanction such a thing. Yet another example of how outrageously intrusive the gov't has become.


January 25th, 2013 at 9:06 AM ^

I was attempting to help weather this storm of "you hate disabled children if you disagree with this rule...." type nonsense because that is not where the disagreement really lies. My apologies for contributing an alternate perspective.


January 25th, 2013 at 8:57 AM ^

When people say that some cultural shift is "neutering" America, is when I stop paying attention. That way I don't have to sit through the yee-hawing and I'm-so-oppressed bullshit.


Also, no politics.

swan flu

January 25th, 2013 at 8:58 AM ^

How dare disabled students disabled students desire to compete with their peers as if they were normal. Disabled students should just sit in a corner and be content that they are alive...

Obvious /s