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Starting School Early

By lilg2204 Mar 09, 2011 765 Words
The article I read is about the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). The topic of the article deals with having students get an earlier start in the school year, and ending early. This would affect all levels of students; like elementary, middle, and high school aged. The main purpose of changing the entrance and exit of a school year is, because schools want better test scores.

Schools would start fifteen days before the regular school year, which would be in August instead of September. By starting the school system earlier, students would be able to take first-semester exams before their winter vacation. The school board believes this would be an advantage to student who are in high school, because they would be able to take the High School Exit Exam and Advanced Placement exams after teachers got a chance to teach more of the material. They also believe that they would be more prepared to take test which would then lead them to score higher. They also mentioned in the article that starting school earlier has nothing to do with wanting to improve in reading and math.

According to Howard Blume, another benefit for students in high school is that they would get an earlier start in searching for summer jobs (2010). The school district wants to change all three levels of schooling because they do not want parents that have more than one child to juggle different schedules. The new calendar would create a better school year (Blume 2010). Some parents do not agree with changing the calendar, because it will give them three weeks less of vacation time.

I see that there can be advantages and disadvantages in changing the school year. I feel that the ones who will benefit more from this are students that are in high-school, not so much students in elementary and middle-schools. It benefits students in high-school, because I think their test scores matter more than other students. By taking the exit-exam later on in the school year it will help students, because they would be more prepared and more knowledgeable of the subjects and questions being asked. By allowing more time to prepare for that test I think more students would pass it in the first shot, and by doing that, then who ever pays for the test whether it be the state or district it would save money on re-test. It would also benefit those who take advance placement classes, because they would also get to study longer for them, and maybe by doing that they would have a higher chance of getting into better universities.

The disadvantages I see have to deal with all three levels of school. By taking first-semester exams sooner, I feel that those scores would not turn out high. Students would be to anxious to get out for winter break that they would not focus on test. Another disadvantage that deals with those tests is that they will not get as much time to prepare for them like the tests in the second-semester. It will also be hotter in class rooms during the first-semester, so this will allow most students to not be able to concentrate; this would be more of the case in elementary schools. The biggest disadvantage I see is with reading and math. Most students struggle with these two subjects, and by giving them less time to practice they will not be able to succeed in it the way they should. Without these two skills being better than average, how does the school district expect that test scores will be better. Schools should focus more on reading and math, especially in elementary schools, because these are the foundations they need in order to move out of high-school, and on to further education.

I relate this article to class, because in a way it reminded me of the student movement. Even though these students are not fighting for their right to be in class, I feel that they will struggle with the calendar change, because they are so use to it. I think that if they do not score well on the first-semester tests then maybe they will be more discouraged to go back to class and take other tests. I also feel that the change in calendar will only benefit high-school students, because they need more time to look for a summer job, and they can get great benefits for studying longer.

Reference
Blume, H. (2010). LAUSD considers earlier start to school year. Latimes.com

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