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Thread: Do Schools Begin Too Early?

  1. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by DHBernstein View Post
    We're discussing start time, not class size, but out of curiosity how does doubling class size cut PPE by a factor of 4?
    It doesn't. Careless error on my part. I must not have gotten enough sleep. [grin]

    Quote Originally Posted by DHBernstein View Post
    You don't know how much educational benefit you'd be sacrificing, and you've given up on attaining the maximal benefit before getting started -- a classic self-fulfilling prophecy.
    As have you. In Post 19 and http://www.waylandenews.com/forum/sh...5#post4275Post 26[/URL] of the "Schools/Prisons" thread, you wrote (emphasis added):

    Quote Originally Posted by DHBernstein
    We should start with what we know to be optimal for educating our nation's children - in all dimensions, not just "start time" - and strive to get as close to that as possible given the limits of physics and current technology.
    It appears that we may have different definitions of "optimal." Yours is limited to (or nearly so) educational benefit, whereas mine more broadly looks at how that benefit fits within broader societal considerations such as cost.

    Quote Originally Posted by DHBernstein View Post
    Your analysis is limited to the traditional funding model, and neglects the massive financial benefit that would be generated by educating all students to their full potentials.
    Again, guilty as charged ... of being practical. During the decade-plus when I was involved in education, I sought to implement improvements, not just dream them. Don't get me wrong, the dreaming of them is critical, but if we can't get them in the "classroom," well, I guess they just look pretty sitting on the bookshelf.

    I'd love to hear your thoughts on an alternative funding model and how our leaders will get us there. While I'm waiting, I'll just sit and watch Congress fail to do something as simple as let wrong-headed tax cuts for the wealthy expire.
    Last edited by Jeff Dieffenbach; 08-18-2011 at 06:19 AM. Reason: Fixed link

  2. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Dieffenbach View Post
    It doesn't. Careless error on my part. I must not have gotten enough sleep.
    Then your conclusions in that post were invalid.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Dieffenbach View Post
    As have you.
    No. Acknowledging the realities of physics (e.g. the time required to move from place A to place B) and technology (e.g. one can't assume some badly-needed capability will magically pop into existence) is very different than your predilection for maintaining constraints that we impose upon ourselves (e.g. early start times).

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Dieffenbach View Post
    It appears that we may have different definitions of "optimal." Yours is limited to (or nearly so) educational benefit, whereas mine more broadly looks at how that benefit fits within broader societal considerations such as cost.
    No, we have different approaches to problem solving. At the outset, I consider it critical to ignore all constraints other than those imposed by physics; only after an optimal solution is found should one consider the previously ignored constraints and determine how best to work around them or if necessary compromise. In contrast, you seem to spend more time on the constraints that on seeking an optimal solution -- an approach that in my (non-academic) experience is almost guaranteed to fail.

    "I mean like so many positive waves maybe we can't lose!" - Oddball, in the film "Kelly's Heroes"

    "I think I can, I think I can..." - the Little Engine that Could

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Dieffenbach View Post
    Again, guilty as charged ... of being practical. During the decade-plus when I was involved in education, I sought to implement improvements, not just dream them. Don't get me wrong, the dreaming of them is critical, but if we can't get them in the "classroom," well, I guess they just look pretty sitting on the bookshelf.
    By what measure has our educational system improved over the last decade?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Dieffenbach View Post
    I'd love to hear your thoughts on an alternative funding model and how our leaders will get us there. While I'm waiting, I'll just sit and watch Congress fail to do something as simple as let wrong-headed tax cuts for the wealthy expire.
    As I've already suggested, the required transformation will be viral, not imposed. I'll further suggest that there may be only one force capable of driving such a transformation: capitalism. The most valuable resource on this planet is a happy, productive, well-educated human mind.

  3. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by DHBernstein View Post
    Then your conclusions in that post were invalid.
    As it turns out, the "corrected" 84 EPs for Option 2 still beats that of the 60 EPs in Option 1. But since the case is purely hypothetical, it doesn't really matter.

    Quote Originally Posted by DHBernstein View Post
    No. Acknowledging the realities of physics (e.g. the time required to move from place A to place B) and technology (e.g. one can't assume some badly-needed capability will magically pop into existence) is very different than your predilection for maintaining constraints that we impose upon ourselves (e.g. early start times).
    Ah, so in Post 26 of the "Schools/Prisons" thread, I was wrong to believe you wrote that you were using "limits of physics" not in its literal sense but to mean "limits of practicality." I won't make that mistake again; hopefully other readers here will learn from my error. [grin]
    Last edited by Jeff Dieffenbach; 08-18-2011 at 06:19 AM. Reason: Added "[grin]"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Dieffenbach View Post
    Ah, so in Post 26 of the "Schools/Prisons" thread, I was wrong to believe you wrote that you were using "limits of physics" not in its literal sense but to mean "limits of practicality." I won't make that mistake again; hopefully other readers here will learn from my error. [grin]
    The "limits of physics" refers to things we cannot alter or control. Start times are entirely under our control, and thus do not fall under any reasonable interpretation of "limits of physics".

    Some practitioners who have long worked in a field come to subconsciously regard its assumptions as facts and its practices as rules; they create a virtual box outside of which they cannot think.

  5. #20
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    Default Do Schools Begin Too Early?

    A study substantiating the hypothesis that later start times would improve student performance:

    http://educationnext.org/do-schools-begin-too-early/

    Unfortunately, this study only measures the improvement from delaying the start time from 7:30 am to 8:30 am. Observations cited in earlier threads here indicate that the melatonin cycle in teens delays natural wakefulness to 10 or 11 am.

    As Clayton Christensen pointed out in Disrupting Class, our schools' daycare mission significantly impedes their education mission.
    Last edited by DHBernstein; 05-03-2012 at 02:34 AM.

  6. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by DHBernstein View Post
    Do Schools Begin Too Early?
    Yes.




    ......
    John Flaherty

    Any views expressed are NOT mine alone.
    Wayland Transparency - Facts Without Spin
    http://www.waylandtransparency.com/

  7. #22
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    I agree that they start too early. I am surprised, though, by the magnitude of the performance improvement, which is less than I would have expected. It may be that additional delay is needed, although at some point, additional delay would simply become impractical.

    I would like to see this issue addressed somehow on a state-wide level. It is difficult for a district to "go it alone" on this issue as sports schedules and the like would become problematic, and it may be that these activities are at least as important (even to academic performance) as the performance improvement from later schedules.

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    Any objection to me merging this thread with this earlier thread?
    Last edited by Kim Reichelt; 05-03-2012 at 05:42 PM. Reason: They are now merged

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    The Education Next site appears to be down, so I can't check out the article you just posted, Dave. I searched around a bit on the web, but didn't find anything about start times in other countries. Does anyone have any information on this?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Dieffenbach View Post
    The Education Next site appears to be down, so I can't check out the article you just posted, Dave. I searched around a bit on the web, but didn't find anything about start times in other countries. Does anyone have any information on this?
    Here are linked to cached versions of the content:


    These links may not stay good, but hopefully the website will be back up shortly.

  11. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by DHBernstein View Post
    As Clayton Christensen pointed out in Disrupting Class, our schools' daycare mission significantly impedes their education mission.
    As with just about any organization, the challenge is how to manage resource limitations to arrive at the best outcomes. If money were no concern, we could eliminate many of the problems that education faces. For instance, if working parents with an 8a or 9a start time had someone to look after their children, schools could start at 11a, take an afternoon break for co-curricular activities, and then reconvene in the evening. Or perhaps the co-curricular activities might work better in the evening following the "full" day of school.

    In the same vein, we could also optimize class sizes, use pay to help get the best teachers in the classroom, adequately fund professional development, and so on. What's not clear, however, is how to make improvements such as these and others we don't yet imagine within the financial constraints of public education.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Dieffenbach View Post
    What's not clear, however, is how to make improvements such as these and others we don't yet imagine within the financial constraints of public education.
    As with all proposed investments, I recommend starting with ROI calculations:

    1. On average, what do we now spend to educate a person from pre-K through college?
    2. On average, what is the net financial impact of each person we now educate? (factoring in the costs of prisons, law enforcement, unemployment, food stamps, medical care, etc. and the benefits to productivity, market capitalizations, GDP etc.)
    3. What would it cost per average person to competently apply everything we've learned so far about optimizing pre-K-college education?
    4. On average, what would be the net financial impact of each person educated in this fully-optimized manner? (considering same factors as #2)


    What we'd like to know is how big #4 must be (compared to #2) to justify the increase from #1 to #3.

  13. #28
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    We're going well beyond the scope of start times and heading into different waters that the Discussion Forum has already navigated elsewhere at least in part. That said, I'll continue here (and address Dave's points slightly out of order).

    1. Data already exists on what we spend today on grades PreK through 12 (the figure varies dramatically within states and from state to state). I don't know if it's broken down by grade level, but that degree of granularity may not be necessary for the purposes of this analysis.

    3. I'm really just guessing here, but don't think that the hypothetical "perfect" education would cost more than 10x what we currently spend. Even 10x is probably too high. 3-5x?

    2. The analysis moves into high gear here (and well beyond what I myself imagine being able to tackle). Presumably, there's a need to compare the financial impact of someone educated through grade 12* with someone who gets no formal education at all. I've seen calculations of lifetime salary differences depending on highest educational level achieved, but those calculations don't factor in societal costs such as the ones that Dave lists above.

    4. If 2 is a difficult analysis, 4 is even more so.

    Complicating all of this is the spread out nature of who pays and who benefits. I'll conclude my thoughts for the moment by sticking to the pay side. Nationally, local spending accounts for about 45% of PreK-12 spending, state spending accounts for about 45%, and federal spending accounts for about 10%. If we look at where the public funds originate, it's of course a mix of people with children and people without. And it's a mix of people taxed on income (federal and state) and taxed on real estate (local).

    The actual breakdown varies dramatically. Wayland, for instance, gets almost no federal funding and relatively little state funding (back at the end of the 1990s, Wayland received from the state $0.10 for every dollar that its residents paid in state income tax). The 45%/45%/10% breakdown does not consider what families spend: with fees for supplies, co-curricular activities, and transportation coupled with spending provided by entities such as the Wayland Public Schools Foundation, it wouldn't surprise me that the private contribution to public education is somewhere between 5% and 10% of the total spend.

    It's a huge enough challenge to figure out who pays and who benefits. But that challenge may pale in comparison to figuring out how to have those who would benefit from improved education pay for any cost increase required to yield those improvements.

    *Other than practicality, there's no reason not to extend this analysis through the end of all schooling, not just grade 12.

  14. #29
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    As more studies, analysis and money is devoted to this, there is a glaring truth that persists:
    "Over time, sleep deprivation leads to serious consequences for academic achievement, social behavior, and the health and safety of our nation's youth,"
    http://www.sleepfoundation.org/artic...time-and-sleep

    So, the question is, are we going to analyze it to the nth degree, or are we going to DO something about it?
    John Flaherty

    Any views expressed are NOT mine alone.
    Wayland Transparency - Facts Without Spin
    http://www.waylandtransparency.com/

  15. #30
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    Default Some practical suggestions

    Some practical suggestions from Scientific American:

    • adopt a reverse school bus schedule: elementary schools first (around 7:50am), middle schools next (around 8:20am) and high schools last (around 8:50am)
    • start the school day with physical education, preferably outdoors
    • then serve breakfast
    • follow up with interesting electives
    • do not permit any caffeine to be sold in school


    "By the time they hit math, science and English classes around 11 am or so, their bodies are finally fully awake and they can understand what the teacher is saying"

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