US News writer Mary Kate Cary talks with readers about The Shriver Report: A Women’s Nation Changes Everything, asking why the current school year continues to be totally out of sync with the reality of women’s lives.
While the report doesn’t delve into this topic, Shriver responded to a Cary question: “In fact,” she (Shriver) said to me, worrying about summer break “is almost more stressful than everything else the entire school year for my family.” She feels that government, business, the media, and faith-based organizations are out of step with what women and men are experiencing on the ground. Heavy textbooks in backpacks and a 9-to-3 school schedule haven’t kept up, she said, adding, “Changes have taken place, but these institutions didn’t get the memo. People are angry about it.” I suppose that’s why changing the school schedule to accommodate families and benefit students isn’t in the report: because it’s an idea that hasn’t trickled up yet from frustrated families to institutions like school systems.
Presently, children in Europe, Japan and Russia all attend school year-round. As American kids fall further behind in global test scores that measure comparative learning skills, the topic isn’t only one that concerns work/life/parenting balance for parents. The question is one of American kids having competitive job skills in the future global employment market.