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Year-round classes could solve school issues

Posted: November 23, 2011 - 9:53am

Issues faced by poor and homeless children are a major concern all over the U.S.  In spending a few winters near Phoenix, Ariz., they had a school for over 400 homeless children where they did not have to be subjected to the ridicule of children of means.

In having a conversation with an old Iowan who, like myself, grew up on a farm, myself starting in the 1930's and him a little later, we both had the same situation of being extremely poor during and after the Depression and earning our first job at the age of about 7 -- that was a cow to milk before and after school along with other chores. I attended three different of those "little white school houses on the prairie." They were all identical and had the same subjects. Every child walked to school. They were mostly taken care of by a selected farmer near the school. He had the duty to select a teacher and do maintenance and provide the necessary provisions to take care of the school. My mother and I got to help clean and get the school ready for fall opening. My teacher received $100 plus room and board and she lived across the road from the school so she would get up early and start the fire going.

The best way to utilize the schools we have would be to go to 12 months a year classes. This would eliminate one out of every four schools and need less teachers and make them available to more students. I think that the only workers in the U.S. to have had the privilege of summers off were teachers. It was important in farming states as the boys were needed to work during the summer. I believe this has been going on since some where in the 1860's. We had grandchildren attending a 12-month school and there was no problem. Since it costs millions of dollars to build new school, I make a motion to go to around-the-year schools and therefore cut down on the costs of operating more of them. What I do not understand is the fact it seems like the schools can't come up with a budget, but every year have to go back to the assemblies to ask for a few more million dollars to start the school year. Our budgets do not work that way.

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