My high school was like any other public high school. We attended school each day for about six hours with a summer break of two and a half months. We had a great academic program consisting of three tiers, Basic, College Prep and AP courses of study. We also had a great athletic program which consisted of several sports for a Fall, Winter and Spring season. My school had a lot of resources available for every student to utilize in order to reach their academic goals. If our system changed from the normal six hour days Monday through Friday to longer days and seven days a week, including three weeks into summer, some may argue students would achieve more. Do I think this system would work? Let me tell you my thoughts and you can form your own opinion regarding this matter.
In the Book Outliers chapter nine titled Maritas Bargain we hear the story of a child growing up in a lower class family and making an effort to achieve better for herself.. Marita signed up for a program ,which took children coming from lower class families and enrolled them in a school called KIPP Academy. This was an experimental public school which started at 7:25 am and did not get out until 5:00 pm. Marita went to school and came right home and worked on homework until she went to bed which most of the time was around ten O’clock. This school also stayed in session for three weeks in the summer. The children in this school, according to Maritas story, significantly improved their math scores by the time they left the school. It stated in the book that 80 percent of the academy’s graduates go to college.
Marita, along with all the other students, had to make sacrifices when signing up for this program. She lost all her old friends; with all the homework she was given there was no time for any social life. She would have to skip dinner sometimes in order to finish her homework. Most of us would not even think of making this type of sacrifice, but Marita only thought about making her mother proud. However, there are good sides to this bargain, Marita will more than likely have an opportunity to further her education by going to college. She will also gain new friends within the school that share the same goals as her.
If you are a motivated well organized student ready to learn and go on to a great college, no matter what high school you go to you will make that happen for you cause that’s the type of person you are. I don’t think it was the type of school and the setup of the academy that got these kids on the right track. Different people are motivated by different things and in Marita’s case,, it could have been as simple as that she was given an opportunity that she might not otherwise have had.
Although the KIPP academy has more structure with its longer days and longer school year it may help some students achieve better results. However, I believe true success comes from each individuals own personal drive and not necessarily the academic atmosphere. Therefore, supporting my opinion” you get out what you put in.” There are students who in my high school took advantage of all resources made available to them such as taking all advanced prep classes and becoming involved in their school community. They put all their time and energy into bettering themselves and focusing on the future. They are self motivators who are driven in their will to succeed. These types of students would have the same successful outcome no matter what academic atmosphere they are placed in.