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Why are Jacksonville's high school and middle school students s taking 8 classes at a time.

With a bit of pride the super said Duval’s middle school and High school students will be taking 8 classes at a time, if that seem a lot to you, you’re not the only one. 

I called the University of North Florida and asked them what a full time college schedule was. They told me it was four classes. I asked the lady who picked up if I could take eight at a time. At first I believe she thought I was joking. When I assured her I wasn’t she said I would have to get a special override but it was unlikely that I would get permission. That’s just too many classes, she said. 

I called Jacksonville University and asked them what a full time college schedule was. They told me it was four classes. I asked the lady who picked up if I could take eight at a time. At first I believe she thought I was joking. When I assured her I wasn’t she said I would have to get a special override but it was unlikely that I would get permission. It would be crazy to take that many classes, she said. 

I called Florida State College at Jacksonville and asked them what a full time college schedule was. They told me it was four classes. I asked the lady who picked up if I could take eight at a time. At first I believe she thought I was joking. When I assured her I wasn’t she said I would have to get a special override but it was unlikely that I would get permission. I have never heard of anybody ever taking that many classes, she said. 

I didn’t have the heart to tell the lady all the students in public high school and middle school here in Jacksonville would now be taking eight classes at a time. That’s right they all take classes that are either double what would be considered full time in college. 12 year olds will be included in that mix.

Now the reason might be laudable. The super wants kids who are often forced to take remedial classes to be allowed to take at least one perhaps two electives. I get it and I like it but 8 classes, and make that 8 ninety minute classes, is to many.
This fast food, video game generation is not programmed to sit in a class for ninety minutes at a time, simply put they don’t have the attention span. Invariably this leads to instruction time being lost in many classes and in more than a few this leads to discipline problems as well. If classes were fifty minutes, coincidently enough the same length as the majority of college classes’, kids would be distracted less and focused more. 

If classes lose just ten percent of their time to discipline or down time then they kids in those classes have just lost 19 days worth of instruction. A lot of classes lose a lot more time.
Any adults out there seen a movie recently? A movie say you aren’t all that interested in, like most kids English and math classes, well at what point did you start fidgeting? Okay some of you might not be sold about what a horrendous idea this is. Then think about how frequently kids meet, make that infrequently. Testing, holidays, absences all put extra time in between class meetings. A lot of the kids need constant reinforcement but the A/B block assures they are not going to get it. 5 days in between meetings is not uncommon and that sets a lot of our kids back. When I taught at a local high schools I once (because of testing and one absence) went two weeks between meeting several classes.
Eight classes no matter how laudable the goal to have kids get an elective might be, really sets our kids back. 
What about six 50 minute classes that met daily or what I like to call the schedule everybody had prior to the year 1998. And you listeners in Orange Park no what i am talking about because your students only take six classes at a time. With six classes there should be room for an elective, less time between meetings so reinforcement can take place and many of our attention and some of our discipline problems would be solved.
We can’t continue to put kids in positions where success is hard to achieve and then wonder why they do poorly. Well I guess we could but then we will continue to be where we are.
Are you happy with where we are?

4 comments:

  1. When Block Scheduling was first introduced here in Duval, we were told the reason was for the teachers to have higher student 'loads'. Therefore, it was an economy move disguised as an educational move for the students.

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  2. If you had checked Clay and St Johns County you would have found that they do not have eight classes either!

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  3. They take 8 classes over the course of 2 semesters. At university, they take 4 classes over the course of a semester.

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  4. From what I understand they are taking 8 classes at a time, nobody in college takes 8 classes at a time. If it was 4 a semester that would be fine.

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