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Should kids spend more time in school?

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Recently, President Barack Obama said American students need to spend more time in school to stay competitive. According to the president, students in other countries spend 25 or 30 percent more time in school than American students.

District 203 and 204 don't have any plans to lengthen the school day or school term, and District 203 is bound to its current school year by its terms with the teachers union. Also, factors like bus scheduling have to be taken into account.

Despite the objections, do you think Naperville students should spend more time in school, either with additional days in the school year or more time per day spent in the classroom?

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no just plain simpel no


ABC World News Today

100,000 gang members trolling the streets of Chicago. 9,000 prisioners in Cook County jail awaiting trial, 90% or more gang members.

This sounds like the Taliban. We need General Patrais in Chicago to shut down this madness.

And the gangs kill honor students.

How would Illinois Stack up if Chicogo was taken out of the equation? For that matter South and West Cook County?

We do not need longer school days, just order.


You are right. But we would no longer be supporting these people. We would not need Obamacare or community organizing groups.

Remember the Japanese Prime Minister or prince. He predicted the demise of the United States because of too many deadbeats. Record deficits, low test scores, lost jobs (really, how can a person hold a job with a 5th grade education level--not even at McDonalds or WalMart), rampant crime (kill the teenager who studies). Looks like he was right!!

Yo Peat...they would probably fight WITH the Taliban!

Bigger Government

You focus the discussion well. We should be following the German model. However, we have way too many POOR PERFORMERS. They come from broken homes, they do not study, they drop out of high school, they end up either dead or in jail in many instances. It is a waste to spend ANY money on inevitable failures.

So what do we do with these people? Forced consription, send them to fight in Afghanistan. We need another 50,000 troops. Take these thugs that want to play war in the inner cities and let them fight with the Taliban.

You also missed another aspect about European schooling--choice (depending on where you test). Saw a television show that showed how in Belgium, schools that do not produce positive outcomes, close. Never hear about teachers demanding more money and meeting time off.

Bigger Govt...

I'm curious of the thinking that suggest you have to use all ideas of a country. An all or nothing idea? Why would you think you have to do everything the other schools are doing? You can pick the great ideas they have.

I agree longer days is not the ONLY solution but it is one idea. I prefer not longer hours in the day but longer in the year. Pay raises will not be some percentage for regular year but just being paid for summer months no different than when I teach summer classes. That is a separate contract, although I will say some colleges are trying to go to 12 mo contracts but then yes you get paid for those months.

Just because you start with one idea it does not mean it will be the only idea you will implement.

You say kids are falling asleep in school due to lack of sleep & nutrition but then you knock the teachers for quality. Be very careful...there are slackers in every occupation, lawyers, doctors, officers, utility workers etc but the majority of are excellent teachers who are working hard despite all the other problems with get in the way, students, parents, govt redtape etc.

I'm not sure a teen who drops out will go to trade school. Many African American males in some locations of our country know their life expectancy is more like 20 yrs. Why go to school or trade school when you can go out sell drugs and life "the high life" for the few short years you have. And your parents may even be doing that. There are MANY factors depending upon what area you are wanting to talk about. Naperville is just one city of many & the president (any president) has to look at the country as a whole. Yes, that may mean a cafeteria style idea of picking and choosing what is needed in a particular community & what will best help them. It is quite clear that doing nothing is not the solution.

Do we really want to be like other countries, if you answer yes, then are you ready for same type of Government rule over your school choices? What do I mean;
- In Germany (and some other countries) school is paid for by the government for all grades, even college. But you take a test in grade school to determine what kind of high school you can attend. Then in high school, another test will place you in a University, a Trade School or no school at all. Since the government is paying, they don't give opportunities to those they deem too dumb.
- In India and some Asian countries, they have separate high school and colleges for the very smart, vs the average students. In grade school if you kid shows a strength towards math and science, then they will be sent to a special school and trained for careers in math and science.
- In countries with long school years, the kids don't experience summer sports or jobs. My own kids used summer work to pay for their nights out with friends at movies, getting ice cream, etc... rather than me paying for it. They were learning to be responsible.
- In England, private boarding schools are still very popular, can any of us afford it?

Do you think that Obama is talking about school standards in districts like 203 and 204, heck no. He will make sweeping changes in order to bring up the grades of those in inner city schools. The problems in those schools won't go away with longer school days however. In some city schools the dropout rate is 50%, making kids go longer to school won't help solve that problem. Some of the problems are caused by kids falling asleep in class because of no sleep or poor nutrition. Some of the kids see no future. And in some cases, the teachers are poor instructors.

If we change the schools in a positive way, by making teachers more accountable, the ACLU will step in. If we require longer hours or longer semester's the Union will have a fit without substantial pay raises.

No, we have to demand more quality from the teachers in failing schools and reach out to help the parents in those schools, whose kids do go to school. Let them choose a safe school if the one by them is failing. Open up trade schools at young grade levels to help those who would dropout, stay just a few more years, learning to do something useful for themselves.

I don't have all the answers, but I know that our country, our economy, and our culture is in conflict with the idea of year round school. We need to be better with the time we have now.

"The amount of time actually spent in school isn't the problem, it's primarily the lessons and focus that parents provide to their kids at home to establish study patterns and a desire to learn. (Pretty simplistic I know). "

I ask my students pre & post questions on their exams. Now they are college students with work & family for some, but I get "Did not study at all" 5 weeks!!! Or 30min-1 hr. If the adults do not have the values to make time for studying, then what are they teaching their children. You lead by example. Some may say it is because they are working & taking care of family...you still demonstrate by example of making the right priorities and values. You can study together even. You can have them help you & learn some of your own material! They can spell your words. You all know you will make time for things if you really want to. Same thing for making time for your spouse and children you love. Well, lets hope! I wonder when I am a senior citizen will we have the "stories" I heard my grandparents tell me of how they worked so hard & still came home & did so much? And how they struggled so much to achieve in life. Some still are today certainly, but man there are some who really live the good life. And yes, that is why we work hard to hopefully get to that point, but what do we lose after we reach it? Hmmm? Now with the economy tanking some are having difficulty. Why? Because they have never experienced struggling before and working hard. They do not have those skills and attitude our parents or grandparents had. Unfortunately, it may be due to the fact that as children they did not learn to work hard to achieve. Again, what does that mean for today's children?

Someone mentioned 10 min in class to do homework. You know why? Because they don't do it at home. Some don't let them take textbooks home. Why? Because they don't come back. I don't like the idea of them having to do it in school, but this is why & we have to change this. Yes, there are some wonderful parents out there that do help their children but others do not. My sister has children come to school not even bathed!

Let me give you a very personal example. This past weekend my 12 yr old niece was with me. She was studying capitals of countries and maps. She was studying a worksheet her teacher gave her where you draw a line from the country to the capital. I was helping her study it & realized she had 3 wrong. I'm like why didn't the teacher or her parents check this. You study the wrong information you get it wrong on the exam & she gets frustrated and does not know why. After we corrected them, I realized these crisscrossed lines were confusing her. Heck, they were me, so I said, ok you did the asgn but there is a better way to study this. We got onto Word & in big font and different colors for each, we wrote the country & then across the capital. It was printed & then emailed to her & her mom to study the next day. Next was the map. Countries so tiny you can't get the name in it, so again you are writing lines to the word. Ok, that is the asgn but lets get a map that you can enlarge from the web, bring up on your computer at home & study everyday. Then I'm driving home & realized she likes doing crossword puzzles on the restaurant placemats. Great, I get home get on puzzlemaker.com & type in all the capitals & countries and copy it into Word & email it to her to do when she gets home from school the next day. Now did either of her parents do this? I don't mind AT ALL helping out but what if she was not with me? This is what my mom & even dad would do for me. Mom bought those grade books in the summer, she had us spell words we saw on billboards or just any word. We talked about something, she asked a word from it to spell. Learning was just a part of life and fun. It wasn't all these other things come first. My niece told her friends in 1 hr to come play. She wasn't done. And she wasn't happy with me that I said no. Hmmm who doesn't say no? Another hour, she wasn't done, another 30 min then she got to. School work came first & should have probably earlier in the weekend.

Richard is a prime example of selfish parents. They want everything catered to them because they work. Clue Phone ringing Richard you better answer it....when you became a parent part of the deal is sacrifice. Most of us sacrifice the extra income so we can take care of our kids not the schools. For those who have to work, I'm sorry for your situation, however, they are never the ones complaining, it's always those driving in their cars, big houses and jet setters that complain. It's a lifestyle those chose and somehow tried to fit kids into it.

How about quality vs. quantity? It's not so much an issue of how much time is spent at school vs. what is done while at school. When my son tells me that many teachers allot 10 minutes of classtime to work on homework instead of delivering instruction and guided practice; that really does add up over the course of a school calendar year.

Richard –

You’re kidding, right? The school schedule should be catered to your work schedule?

Oh, and that day off Monday…do you mean Columbus Day?


Richard on October 3, 2009 9:50 AM

My vacation allowance last year was 5 days. This year it is 10 days. Why not sync schools up with business? When the parents are in work, the kids are in school. And the kids get used to what real working life is like.

I hear teachers complain about all the work they have to do when not at school. So what? Me too! I am in work at 8 and leave at 5. When I get home I have dinner and put in a few more hours. Then during the night I may get called up.


Richard, where do you drop your kids off in order for you to be at work from 8 to 5? Maybe your suggestion of coordinating school with work schedules will work - have school start at 7 AM and finish at 6 PM each and every day. We would have the smartest kids in the world wouldn't we?

The fact that your Kindergartner had a day off and you said, "she's already had one day off for some reason or another. Now I find this Monday is yet another day off." is very telling. This info is available on the web site and is sent home on a printed calendar more times than I can count, so try reading and staying informed yourself. FYI, this coming Monday (oct. 12) is fairly well known - it's Columbus Day and in addition to schools being out, most government agencies are closed as well.

I could not imagine making K any longer than a traditional school day. Walk the halls after 1:00 and see how many K students are in zombie land. I heard that some of ES are actually giving the Ks "rest" time. In our day is was "nap" time.

As far as RICHARD wanting school calendars to work with "business", please tell me what "business". Some businesses/industries are 24/7 365 days a year, some are seasonal and majority are year round. If you think kids should be in school year round or close to "business" time that you are a perfect example of wanting taxpayers to pay for your childcare. Tax payers are not to support childcare.

i am a student and i think we dont need more school hours. i just think that at school they should just teach us more.

My sibling a teacher of twenty plus years usually spends two months hiking, backpacking and site seeing in Europe each year. They like their job for the great benefits, job security, and lots of free time.

Who is pushing more time in school?

The unions for more money?

As to which schools are having poor results, it wouldn't be too hard to localize and attribute to: failed parents, one parent families, 13 years between generations, always being a victim, entitlement mentality, and living in areas that the Liberal Democrats aka Progressives have controlled for 100 years.

Failed ideology is the problem, liberals are the source and government is both the enabler and purveyor of failure.

Locally, raise the schools in Chicago to the ground and give everyone vouchers so they can attend the same schools as Obama's kids. Durbin killed this program in DC as a sop to the teachers union.

Since this isn't the floor of the House where you can call people racist all day long but not a liar, I'll say it


Richard: Working and going to school are two different things. Welcome to the world of parenting and schools!! As far as making the day longer I say definitely not. Its long enough and the children shouldnt have to suffer because the schools are not using that time to best advantage. I have spent lots of time in the schools in D204. In elem. school, the math is crammed into one hour and whoa nelly, hang on for the ride kids, because if you get behind, there really isnt any time to catch you up! The math basics are not stressed enough still, and there are too many terms for the students to understand at young ages. I still dont understand how teaching students how to do a subtraction problem three different ways is good for them. I think it confuses them. I have seen older students still doing the long/crosswise box multiplication and some will never fare well on an isat or any other test if they keep using the box method.

I wish the University of Chicago would have tried this Math program out FIRST on their own children before they sold it to us. Out of all my children, the one who DIDNT do the New math is doing great in Math. The others, not so much. Now what stats do you want to tell me about? I have my own statistics!!

I think the reading program at the elem level is excellent. Ditto for social studies and writing. Someone mentioned earlier about DEAR time and yes, some kids do goof off and not read. I agree it should be 1/2 hour and no more cuz kids get bored and tend to want to socialize. There is other reading time though and there IS time for individual reading groups in most schools. I think we do science well and my only complaint there is that at times, it is either science day or social studies day. Cant have both. So more science time is needed.

Keep the arts and keep the sports. Students in high school feel more a part of the school when they are involved in a sport or club. Dont want to lose that! Especially because we dont have 15 high schools in our town, like in Canada. We have 4000 student high schools that are way too big!

A few more hours of work after dinner? Ask me how many days I routinely got to bed at 2am (what the time on my posts!) and many times later or am up all night grading! How many weekends I'm at home on the computer working on content, grading, answering emails etc. Find out how much time we are spending after school before you "quess" and "assume". Yes, there are some high profile career that are on call all the time & work nonstop...but we are not regarded in any respect as them!

My daughter started kindergarten this year. It's only been a few weeks and she's already had one day off for some reason or another. Now I find this Monday is yet another day off. And one day a week the day starts later for teacher training (what they can learn in 15 minutes I don't know)

My vacation allowance last year was 5 days. This year it is 10 days. Why not sync schools up with business? When the parents are in work, the kids are in school. And the kids get used to what real working life is like.

I hear teachers complain about all the work they have to do when not at school. So what? Me too! I am in work at 8 and leave at 5. When I get home I have dinner and put in a few more hours. Then during the night I may get called up.

I have 3 children and lived in Naperville for 15 years. My daughter is a graduate of Neuqua Valley. However, we were transferred when my other two children were grades 7 and 9 respectively. We moved to Ontario, Canada.

Our school day was from 8:10 am to 2:30 pm. The school year began the Tuesday after Labor Day and ended June 25th for a total of 192 days per year. And it was standard practice for children to attend (free) summer school, either to increase a low grade or take an extra class, either for 2 or 4 weeks.

According to the studies I have read, comparative test scores show Canadian children scoring higher on "the basics". Did the extra time in class help with those test scores? I don't know but I do know that the majority of Canadian parents are opposed to standardized testing. My children never felt being taught "only to pass a test". While there were certainly things that were required, both teachers and students seemed to have more creative freedom in the classroom.

And there was NO bus system in the province we lived in but then, our town of 150,000 had 13 high schools.

Does this really answer your question? No...but it's interesting to see the comparison.


If the schools can't get it done with the current schedule they will not get it done with more of the same.

30% drop out rate nationally? WOW

AS to the parents, this would be just another subsidy for defective behavior that will raise the cost of education and drive more parents out of the house to pay taxes for those who want free day care.

If you don't want your kids put them up for adoption; for the rest of us, we like to see them every day.

This question has numerous factors. Let me add two.

Elementary school. Per the past Superintendent, District 203 has the shortest elementary school days because of the bus schedele. Less not only than other public schools, but significantly less than more successful private schools.

High schools are another matter. Bus schedules are designed to get students to school at least one hour before school starts. The students who get there the earliest leave the latest on the return. On average one and one half hour non instructional time.

Add to that the lunch hours, ONE HOUR (at least another half hour of wasted time). In total, two and a half hours of non productive time. The day needs to be shortened so that students in this case can study at home or go to a tutor.

Reason for the long day--THE BUS SCHEDULE!!!!!!!! Done the same way in 2009 as it was done in 1979. That's progress!!!

203 Teacher and Parent –

“The school day and school year could be extended by wiping away so many of our professional development days.”

Do you really think the union would go along with this?


Although I agree there’s possibly too much emphasis on sports, I also don’t think sports should be disregarded altogether as some worthless endeavor. Playing a sport has many benefits—it’s healthy for one. When I was in high school, playing sports actually forced me to focus on scholastics more. I had better grades when I was participating in sports than when I wasn’t. It forced me to be disciplined.


Wouldn’t it be nice if some people were open-minded and put more thought into their message, rather than resorting to yet another senseless personal attack and calling everyone else in Naperville “clueless”?


Here is an interesting twist to this discussion. On one hand, a number of people are comparing achievement test scores of the U.S. with those in other countries such as Japan, China etc. This is then used as their proof that the U.S. has fallen behind in education.

Another group is criticizing the fact that our schools are now teaching to the test, and overemphasizing test scores. So I guess the complaint is that in comparisons to other countries our test scores stink, but teaching and focusing on raising the test scores is a bad thing too? The right balance needs to be found.

The amount of time actually spent in school isn't the problem, it's primarily the lessons and focus that parents provide to their kids at home to establish study patterns and a desire to learn. (Pretty simplistic I know).

The no child left behind act, while admirable on paper, has resulted in over emphasis on tests and test taking. Teachers teach to the test and time is spent learning how to score higher.

As is usually the case on this site, Bush is conveniently blamed for this, but at the time (2001) it was sponsored by the illustrious Ted Kennedy, who if the Mass legislature has anything to do with it will vote to give him "Sainthood" any day now.

The bill, shepherded through the Senate by Senator Ted Kennedy, one of the bill's sponsors, received overwhelming bipartisan support in Congress. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_Child_Left_Behind_Act

By 203 Teacher and Parent on October 1, 2009 5:50 PM

If you would like us to "teach the right things during school hours" then district curriculum committees and other local educational entities should take a hard look at each core subject area's required curriculum, or focus. Most are a mile long and an inch deep, to quote a high-ranking district employee. Go on-line to District 203's website (www.naperville203.org) and see for yourself. The requirements are absurd. We're focusing on minutia when we could be focusing on key elements over the long haul.


Could you please explain what requirements are "absurd"? The only places in the year-by-year curriculum where there seem to be a long list of specific requirements is word study. Having an entire plan for across the K-12 years makes sense and seems to address elements over the long haul. That may be hard to see from your viewpoint of teaching a specific grade.

Maybe you, as a teacher, have different curriculum requirements to look at with cross-references to state standards. Having seen curriculum standards like that from friends and family teaching in other districts, it can seem like a bad haphazard laundry list on first read. In fact, it is just that in some (nearby unnamed younger) districts. However, the lists shown on the D203 website seem organized and thought out.

As mentioned by some posters above, I think ISAT prep time should revert to almost zero. If schools feel uncomfortable with that, perhaps the district can do a trial run whereby several schools forgo ISAT prep. Compare year-over-year scores between the prepped and unprepped schools. Maybe throw in a third group which gets no in class prep, but gets ISAT prep materials sent home to work on if the family wants. Then compare year-over-year performances among the 3 groups. Wouldn't it be wonderful to see the results? Wouldn't it be even more wonderful to continue to teach the students new material instead of having education come to a screeching halt before ISATs?


I have no problem with parents being excited about their children's involvement in athletic teams. Or external art classes. Or dance or music or other pursuits besides the 3 Rs. Is there any data showing that such participation decreases a student's long-term academic achievement? I kind of doubt it.


I don't know that extending the school day or the duration of the school year is really the answer. I think it really comes down to making the most of the time the students are in the classroom. I don't feel the current school day is completely productive, and I don't feel that 204's Professional Development Day is a benefit to the education of our children - at all. I have friends who teach at several schools in 204 and none of them will admit to PDD being a useful tool. I have even heard it refered to as "blow-off meetings". Of course teachers and administrators need to meet to discuss issues, but can't that occur before or after school so that instructional time isn't compromised and schedules aren't so confusing?

I have noticed a vast amount of time wasted in elementary schools in District 204. Teachers teach to the ISATs rather than teaching the subjects so that test scores accurately reflect what has been LEARNED. Weekly meetings occur during critical instructional time so that a sub is brought in (for instance, during math time) so momentum and continuity are interrupted for the students. Daily DEAR time ('Drop Everything And Read', which equates to independent reading time instead of assisted or hands-on help) is a regular time waster in that no assistance was given by the teacher, and this task is something most students do outside of school. I have edited papers with my children and have occasionally come across papers teachers had supposedly edited only to find obvious spelling and grammatical errors along with akward flowing ideas all without any notations or corrections by the teacher. These are just a few of the examples that come to mind. I believe the administration and school board are to blame for the majority of these concerns. As taxpayers, I feel we continue to give and give, but we're not receiving to the same degree.

Before we add on to our children's school day - which we know will NOT come about as a freebie from the Teacher's Union - why don't we make the teachers/administrators/school boards accountable for the responsibilities that are assigned to them? I detest the idea that any professional would be given an automatic salary increase or increase in benefits just because it was negotiated for them. Raises and benefits should be earned like in every other business sector. Righteous performances should merit a reward while lackluster or subpar performances should be penalized.

I fully agree that the educational system in our country needs to step up it's performance in order to be more competitive with other countries. I think Obama and his advisors should examine the system to see why it isn't working as well as it could be, and then make the necessary changes to move forward. Just adding more time in an already flawed system is not the answer.

And for the record, I am hesitant to trust Obama. I think he has too many of the Chicago Machine cronies around him to be deemed "clean". I think only time will tell.

I to do not put much stock in the way Japan, China and India feel about education. We are dealing with 3 countries who if you don't hold up to certain standards no matter how hard you try your either put to sweat shops or out on the streets.

As for sports well only those are hand picked by the Chinese government. Children pulled from the parents to live in government run system. They have no freedom. Please don't ever compare us to them. I'll take my freedom over what they offer (or lack thereof).

What these 3 countries have that we lack in the US is RESPECT. A child would never come to school w/o being prepared including doing his/her homework, having supplies, books. The teachers have complete control of their class because the children are to respect their elders and follow the rules. If they don't their out.

Here in the US we have those who feel entitled either because they have money and can influence others with it or they don't have the money and want everything given to them.

Until our teachers and schools get control and kick the dead wood out, we will never be able to compete with the rest of the world no matter how much time we spend in school a day/year.

Spend a day in school and you'll see kids show up to class (MS & HS) without their books or supplies but they will have cellphone and iPod.

I would like to point out that you have made one BIG mistake... Downers grove has NOT closed any fire stations (in twenty years). Downers Grove just replaced their fire station number 2, at 55th and main, with a new LARGER admin station.
Downers Grove's city manager proposed that they MOVE fire station number one located on wisconsin ave. His proposal was to move that stations vehicles and manpower into Darien Woodridge's fire station number 2 located at 59th and belmont road.

As a foot note... I grow up in Downers Grove. I when to school in Downers Grove, and I lived in Downers Grove for the first 30 years of my life. I KNOW MANY PEOPLE IN THAT TOWN.

Also, as for the one fire station that they closed 20 years ago. They closed fire station 4 located in the base of the water tower on finley road just south of butterfield (across from fry's). That station was no longer needed due to a decreased call volume in that area after most of the bars and disco clubs closed in the 1980's. Station 4 was also to small and could not fit most fire vehicles. The water tower had one small door, a small round base and condensation off the water tank caused water damage and mold problems in the station below. It was just a bad design.


You bring up some good points and then it just comes to a screaching hault when you have comments like this.

"I am no expert in schooling but I do trust Obama for now. He seems to do a lot or research and has a lot of adivsors."

WHY? That is a serious question. All the politicians have a lot of advisors. Daley has a lot of advisors and there are at least 40 of them in jail. And do you realize that most of the Diety's advisors are from Chicago intertwined with Daley. I know Glenn Beck can be tough to listen to but there was no fight from Van Jones. It took this School Czar guy 21 years to figure out telling a teenager to put on a condom when he is having sex with a man was probably not the smartest thing. Valerie Jarrett is next. And then it is going to be Cass Sunstein and if John Podesta ever gets back involved, it will be him. There are a whole cast of overly progressive (I call the fringe loons) who will are going to be under the microscope. So really, why do you trust him? And remember most of this was known before the election.

By T.B. on October 1, 2009 8:24 AM
Note: In my last post I directed my question directly to President Obama because I figured that if the city council puts all of CIJ’s posts under a microscope and follows her every word, surely the President will read my post and will react accordingly.


On a serious note for an individual to make a difference on the national scene is much more difficult than making a difference on the local scene.

This blog site is read by locals. I called on Editor Tim West to stop writing about his cat and Oprah, and to write about taxes, and the next day low and behold he wrote about taxes. Could it be a coincidence? Of course! But not likely since I have been glimpsing at his column for 35 years and he rarely attempts to rock the boat. He did not except with one sentence in his latest column but at least there is suddenly a glimmer of hope from the softest columnist on the face of this earth....no kidding. This columist would rather write about his cat anytime over taxes. Don't know what got into his mind if I did not! Maybe a Sun Official told him to start writing about more important topics like taxes.

Don't kid yourself, TB. City Officials are reading this blog site especially when it pertains to themselves and protecting their jobs and empire. They want to know what is going on. They want to know how far they can take us before we explode on them.

They want to know how many snipers with loaded double barrel rifles to have on City Hall next April 15 when we hope to bring a 1000 protestors or more instead of only 400 like last April 15.

Your agenda is simply to protect your brother who is a firefighter and make sure his BIG FAT PENSION is secured.

Your recommendation to stop leaf collecting is nonsense. We need that service. You want us to go buy stickers which is a fee to the city to replace a tax to the city. How does that help with our situation and cutting down costs of the government and savings for the taxpayer. That is a WASH which is useless!

What would help is if your brother and other fire fighters agreed to reduce their salaries 10% and pensions 10% for starters to see if we can balance the budgets. I am not sure if your brother works in Downers Grove or a nearby suburb, but DG just shut down one fire station and consolidated 2 others. They understand the taxpayers had it up to the hilt. And I am sure your Dad who is a former IRS Agent is collecting a handsome pension at taxpayer expense. These pensions are why we are in the mess we are in.

You and Naperville are clueless. You want to swap 20 dollars in taxes for leaf collection for 20 dollars in fees for leaf collection. Dah, how does that help the Naperville Resident who is strapped trying to find ways to make ends meet.


As far as the teachers who won't teach a few extra minutes a day or a few extra days a year if that is going to help the students excell as Obama is suggesting, I say fire them all.

These teachers can be as bad as the politicians. We have one Chicago Teacher receiving a 341,000 dollar pension that increases 3% a year and she is barely over 50. They should bring this teacher out of retirement, cut her pension off, and tell her to teach these students until she is 65 and then we will give her a full pension....but not 341,000 dollars because she and her deceased husband played the corrupt pension system to the maximum.(Source was Chicago Sun-Times about 10 days ago.)

I don't think bloggers like you TB understand this pension system is about to IMPLODE. All you are concerned is about your brother. Well, your brother is part of the problem and needs to be part of the solution.

His excessive wages and pensions are making the taxpayers suffer. Unless he and all firefighters who are overpaid and underworked make the necessary sacrifices we will face Chapter 9 and they will get NO pension. We are heading in that direction. Have a chat with your brother and lets us talk about 10% wages and pension cuts instead of silly "leaf pick up" cuts which will make no difference.

I am no expert in schooling but I do trust Obama for now. He seems to do a lot or research and has a lot of adivsors. He knows Chinese and Japanese kids are ahead of us now in education and technology. I don't blame him for wanting Amercian kids to be number 1 again. He genuinely cares about this country and his constituents unlike our City Officials who are just putting their time in to get their Big Fat Pensions.

Imagine the building in Naperville stopped and we are yet to lay off one building inspector. We are 98% build out and no banks are loaning. Yet our public officials will not lay one building inspector off. They will keep them on the pay-rolls and pension-rolls till death do us apart. That is the City of Naperville for you and they don't understand why we have a $14.1 million budget deficit and a $120 million pension liability deficit.

If we could get rid of excess fat in government, maybe we could transfer some of this money to improve our schools and education. But I doubt that will happen any time soon unless we can wake the residents up which we are trying do every day.


SE side.

Japan is not a country to compare to in my estimation. Their suicide rate is twice that of America, surpassed only by countries that have sprouted off the USSR. I've never been there but I read that it is so intensely competive there that people can't handle failure when they are not failing. That is no way to live life. Plus Japan has been in a recession for 20 years. So if they are that smart, how come things haven't changed.

Parents need to be more involved with their kids. I know plenty of smart kids who graduated. Teach them reponsibility. That is so much of the battle right there. Make sure they know what the real world is all about. That is the scariet part is how many kids are completely clueless about the real world because their parents either did everything for them or they made the soccer kids for way too long.

I'm not devaluing the 3 Rs but to think of sports, art & music as less than those is just so old fashion! What if Einstein could not spell? What if Mozart could not do simply arithmetic? What if Stephen King could not do math or Robin Williams could not spell? I'm not saying you do not still work hard to get them at the highest level they can be at, but to value their abilities as less? I'm sorry but I would hate to have a world without those people above and what they give to us. I thank God for them and for the people who did not take their opportunity to develop those skills away. You may not like the people I picked above, so pick your own and certainly pick an athlete, how many of them may not do well on an ACT/SAT? Anyone know how Michael Jordan did? Somehow I don't think they have to submit one to be on the team. Again, I want them to do the best they can.

I totally agree on helping ALL with their skills. Yes, not understanding .5 is not 5% is an issue. Counting back change...God forbid a register goes down! And they always have to have a calculator for simply math skills.

I do agree we need to have more time devoted to substance. When you have a pizza party or movie for a reward of reading what is now being deleted from that day? There are other ways you can reinforce children/teens. Give them a certificate, put them in the school paper, bulletin board, certificates maybe to go to...hmmm a day free at a movie with their folks, that helps with costs with the economy. How about some certificate for learning more knowledge? To a museum or heck some more books to read!!! Now schools give cars for perfect attendance...what businesses will do that? It has gotten out of hand. Now students won't do anything without some big reward. You hear "Are we going to get points for this? Will this be on the test?" It is all about what can I get for it, rather than just the reward of learning it, either for later or for one's own self knowledge to grow.

If you talk to many of the teachers they do agree there is less and less time for teaching and they do not like it either. You're also bogged down with meetings and have no time to prepare, grade etc.

Now the idea of more time in school is good. It does not have to be a babysitting idea if the right things are happening. It should not be currently! That is just an excuse. Many countries do go longer. We had this whole summer thing off originally I believe for agricultural purposes...when is the last time a Naperville student could not go to school because he was needed to bring in the crop?

And if you had the right attitude you would want for your child, and help them realize, one should do everything you can to get the most out of your education. My folks once told me squeeze that sponge of that teachers brain out of everything you can and you absorb it into your sponge of a brain. Ha! The whole initial attitude is the problem. Students think of school as prison and can't wait to get out. That certainly changed for me when I hit college. I love learning, but most do not. We have to get students to realize how it is helpful to them and make it more fun. Make them pay for their ice cream cone & see if they got the right change back. Have them actually learn the math/stats taking care of the baseball teams stats of the school or the players could. Instead of having them do word problems on bushels of whatever, have them go to a neighbors and rake leaves and then bring back the total of how many bags/bushels and now it is a service/volunteer and learning math. They then can type it up in a news report & you have the writing. They then can investigate the science of composting. Now it is meaningful of why they want to learn this. Have them figure out for the city even if it is cost efficient for a pick up service and they can report it at a city meeting and have professional oral skills practiced. They can have presentations to the community on composting. Of course this is all under the supervision of others. This would have so much more meaning to them learning things which have an impact on the world immediately. They also may not even realize they "are learning" while they are doing it...it is just fun and meaningful/helpful. They may come up with the questions and seek out the answers. They feel they are contributing to society and are important. It will not seem like homework and certainly give them something else to do worthwhile than having too much time on their hands, which leads to trouble. Have them find out how much it cost to have a baby!!! ER fee, doc visits, immunization, how many diapers and food per year etc! Do that math! They may think twice!!! Your city wants to work on its budget right? Can't they do service work? No we don't want to put others out of a job, but they could help with trash & or plant flowers or something in town & again turn it into math problems, reports etc. Have community mentors in all areas. They can work with some officer who is working on local community date rape/rape cases and then they turn that into stats, computer skills, etc and then the students come back to school and report this to the school. Just integrate as much as you can. Have the older HS students help the younger ones with math or reading and they may see the value. It may also help for mentoring and caring what kind of example they are being to the young children in the community.

Ok, enough for now but I bet you can all come up with even more ideas! And of course these great idea may take time...hey maybe they would even devote their own time...yes when you hit college you realize this & do it because you want to instead of have to. I actually didn't trek across campus at 3am to separate my fruit flies for my grade! I was actually curious to see what the next bred had!

If you would like us to "teach tbe right things during school hours" then district curriculum committees and other local educational entities should take a hard look at each core subject area's required curriculum, or focus. Most are a mile long and an inch deep, to quote a high-ranking district employee. Go on-line to District 203's website (www.naperville203.org) and see for yourself. The requirements are absurd. We're focusing on minutia when we could be focusing on key elements over the long haul.

203 Mom, I couldn't agree with you more. Parents are tripping over each other to volunteer as youth league coaches. They make it to district-sponsored, mid-afternoon, weekday games in huge numbers (I guess the economy is healthy enough to allow for work hour flexibility). For whatever reason, many have been brainwashed into thinking their son or daughter will earn a college scholarship. This won't happen if parents continue to place so much pressure on these kids. They don't see this, but I do - every day in the classroom.

The school day and school year could be extended by wiping away so many of our professional development days. I can't remember the last time I heard a colleague say, "Wow, what a wonderful professional development experience!" They waste time. They are unproductive.

We have to prioritize. The focus should not necessarily be placed on the length of the school day, although I could see a lot more practical work getting done at school during extended time, which would alleviate homework pressure on families. The focus should be one what comes first - extra-curricular activities (school-sponsored or not) or academics. I'm afraid academics is taking a back seat. I say this because the district is looking closely at District 204's homework policy. Something has to give. Unfortunately, when it comes to travelling sports and other activities, school heads to the end of the line.

School days should be extended and the school year lengthened. There is currently so much wasted time in the school day. No wonder our students fall behind those of other countries.

Can you say raise taxes? The cost of living here is already much higher due to extremely high school taxes. salaries for teachers, administrators and staff as well as operational costs will climb even higher. How about this for a novel idea? Cut silly stuff from the program and spend more time each day on basics - writing, literature, science and math. Carve out a little time each week for music and art. But focus on the basics that created the intellectual wealth that the US enjoyed during the 50s and 60s and 70s.

We have to alter schedules in 204 to get teachers to attend meetings/planning - the unions are going to go for a few more hours a day - or adding another day? And the extra salary money would come from where if we had to hire more teachers. Would be nice if Barack and Arne thought this thru before putting this out.. I agree with the above- schools are NOT day care centers - teach the right things during school hours is the goal.

The right-wing naysayers say no, but Japan says otherwise - they go to school 1/2 day most Saturdays and have only a 6 week summer break.


Longer days, shorter vacations are needed to help our nation compete in the world market. These are the kids that will being paying taxes in the future. I want them as well prepared as can be.

We need more parental involvement with the education of our children. I see an overemphasis on sports in Naperville and not enough energy spent on academics. When volunteer coaches are needed for teams, they are usually plentiful. When volunteers are requested for tutoring or other non-sports tasks, they are scarce to find. Neighbors spend huge amounts of money on travel sports teams. I have neighbors who spend over $20,000 per son on private hockey clubs. However, they wouldn't spend a fraction of that amount to get a qualified tutor for one of their kids who is struggling with math. Why?

I volunteer at our local elementary school, which was rated the top D204 school according to test scores for 2007-2008. I was shocked by the sub-par writing skills of the fourth and fifth graders. After reviewing many of the students' papers with them, it was painfully obvious that their parents had not bothered to help them edit this assignment, which was completed at home. Issues included misspelled words, grammatical errors, no transition words, no quotation marks used in conversation, etc. The ISAT and SAT have writing components, so I'm not sure how some of these children will fare.

This is an affluent, well-educated suburb, so why are so many parents simply "too busy"? I see fourth and fifth graders who struggle to perform long division and who don't understand that .5 is not the decimal equivalent of 5%.

Clearly there is work that needs to be done. However, I believe that more parental involvement (or the assistance of volunteer tutors in the community if parents can't/won't help) would be helpful.

FREE CHILD DAYCARE!!!! Even on Weekends and longer on Workdays?!?!?! YES I CAN!!!!

Note: In my last post I directed my question directly to President Obama because I figured that if the city council puts all of CIJ’s posts under a microscope and follows her every word, surely the President will read my post and will react accordingly.


There was an interesting article in the Trib on September 8th comparing Barrington High School with Chicago Public Schools (CPS).

The article detailed how the Barrington kids were in school 20 minutes more per day than CPS and 10 more days per year (180 vs. 170), which amounted to about 3.5 more weeks of instruction. Barrington had a lower minimum teacher salary ($43,457 vs. $46,761) and also a lower average teacher salary ($67,570 vs. $74,839) than CPS.

CPS would like to add more time to the school year, but the teacher’s union killed the idea saying that they would only do it if they were paid more.

So who’s going to pay for this, Mr. President?


Source: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/editorials/chi-0908edit1sep08,0,1133944.story

I would take this over the hours and hours of homework. Family time would be a novelty.

No. Spend the presently allotted time teaching the kids instead of training them for federally mandated tests(Caused by No Child Left Behind, one of President Bush's biggest mistakes).

Just teach the kids what they are supposed to be taught during normal hours. Don't use public school as public funded Day Care for people.

See Glock, there can be common ground :)

ANON: Ditto from a ditto head. NO. BUT, Obama wants more money for the teachers NEA. Solution: more time in schools for education rather than more education in the schools utilizing the time in school now more efficiently.

Real simple. NO

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This page contains a single entry by Chris Magee, moderator published on September 30, 2009 6:45 PM.

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