So was summertime. Nine months in a classroom was long enough. When the days grew longer and sunnier, it was time to be outside running around in the fresh air.
We played basketball. We played football. We played hide-and-go-seek. We played with our dogs. We traded baseball cards. We walked around the neighborhood and visited with our friends.
You could do that in those days -- way back in the 1960s.
The inherent nature and learning potential of American children have not changed since then. But our society has. Today, public schools think they have better things to do than make children learn the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic by sitting them in a seat and teaching it to them. Many parents think they have better things to do than parent their own children.
Parents who like the idea of a government-run school keeping their child in class until 5:00 p.m. every day and incarcerating them in school 12 months a year are not looking for an education so much as a full-time, taxpayer-funded babysitting service.
Public school teachers are not going to get any better at teaching children that 3 times 3 is 9 and that cat is spelt c-a-t if they get nearly full-time custody of American children.
What they will have is more time to indoctrinate kids into their way of looking at life.
We need to rebuild a country where kids can safely walk around their own neighborhoods after school and play with their friends -- having learned earlier that day a sufficient additional measure of reading, writing and math. We need to rebuild a country where kids can spend the entire summer any place but in a classroom. We don't need to lengthen the school year, we need schools that are good enough to let us shorten it.
But that will not happen as long as government's role in education extends to anything beyond giving parents an unfettered choice in where their children go to school.