Thursday, July 24, 2014

Sleeping Thru Class

Researchers have finally proven what every parent has always known: children who do not get enough sleep do not learn as well as those students who've had a good night's rest. Furthermore their research shows that naps just don't cut it. What students really need for peak performance is a solid eight to ten hours of high REM sleep.

With researchers characterizing America's childhood sleep depravation a crisis the White House leapt into action. Obama has directed the Education Department to craft a pilot plan to expand some existing schools to create public boarding schools and is redirecting funds to provide grants to kick-start these efforts. The grants are expected to cover all startup costs and increased operational costs for the first three years and while the money will originate with the federal Department it will be allocated by each state's Department of Education.

Initially these schools are expected to operate where identified need is greatest but a spokesman for Arne Duncan made it clear that "this affects more than just traditional at-risk children--this is an issue that cuts across all segments of America," adding "we expect these programs to take hold throughout each and every state." Further comments indicate that the DOE sees this program as imperative to fostering a well educated population that can support civic engagement and become productive members of society who can actively engage in our democratic society.

When asked how this might impact parents the spokesman replied "parents are welcome at all school events that are open to the public and will certainly maintain visitation at most holidays and key events like birthdays. Furthermore all religious events, like confirmations and bar mitzvahs will be held offsite with parents attending by invitation." He made it clear that this was in the best interests of the student and well within the purview of public schools in America: "when we find children being abused we protect them, when hungry we feed them and when they come to use too tired to learn we will take them in and ensure they have adequate rest. That's what public schools are for."

Supporters of the program tout the educational advantages and point out that there is no cost to the participating schools and suggest that local systems would be foolish to walk away from Federal grant money. Though few in number some outspoken critics see this as an unnecessary expansion that will overburden public schools that are already taxed to the limit.