Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Cry me a river

..a river of blood. There's a story at about how high school students in Sør-Trøndelag are outraged by a decision that the Fall break - also known as the "potato break" is going to be eliminated. Thanks to Sondre for the heads up. This vacation week, originally there so that the students could help with the potato harvest, is of less value now than when most students came from farms, according to the politicians in charge. It's hard to disagree. Moreover, the number of school days in the Fall semester remains unchanged; the days off will not be eliminated but rather distributed throughout the semester.

The student representatives, however, feel that the politicians know nothing of the trials and tribulations of high school students, and that they certainly need a week off in the middle of the Fall.

Brilliant logic from the student representatives. First of all, I don't think there are many politicians without a high school education. Granted, few have more than that, but they still went to high school. Second, many a "career politician" went more or less directly from high school to some "elected" position, meaning that quite a few of the politicians in question are still in their 20s and early 30s and thus not so far removed from the current high school system. Third, there is no such thing as Fall break at institutions of higher learning. Nor is there such a thing in the real world assuming they want a job. Are the student representatives insinuating that the work pressure and stres factors are higher at high school level than at the university? If so, enjoy your oceanfront condo on Denial Island. Unless you're a teacher (high school or below) you won't see a two month summer vacation on the far side of high school either, so welcome to the real world.

But wait; there's more fail. According to student council representative Ingrid Rodem, this would really be a problem for the students who don't live with mom and dad, but have to rent studio apartments. She even backs this up with hard numbers - this would constitute a huge problem for the 72 out of 1000 students at her school who are not locals.

So let's summarize: The number of school days and the duration of the semester remain constant. Contrary to what Ingrid Rodem seems to think, workloads are significantly higher if she plans on higher education where there is NO Fall break. If and when she enters the job market she'll also have to contend with the number of vacation days dwindling like nobody's business compared to what you have during high school. The argument that students might not have the opportunity to spend a continuous week with Mommy and Daddy during the shortest of the semesters affects a whopping 7.2% of the students according to her numbers - and that's assuming that all of these students share the same homesickness as Ingrid Radem, which is quite the leap of faith.

This is really how you want to utilize the resources available when you're a student representative? 'Cause I can think of a number of issues more worthy of your time and effort than this.......also much more relavant to the quality of your education and how well-informed you are of the opportunities after your high school graduation.


Anders said...

Great. Yeah, as one of the dudes in the comment field said: It's only six weeks between Summer and Fall break. And six weeks between Fall and christmas break. Surely the students can get by six weeks without a large break.

Even worse: One of the arguments was that if they split up the break into single days; the students would most likely be studing rather then relaxing on those days...

That said, I do like to give them one point: The teachers and students should have been informed about before the decision was made and been invited to be a part of the process.

Wilhelm said...

Not saying that some of the discussion is without merit so much as I'm disappointed that they don't spend their energy on more important issues. For example; I've never once in my life heard about anyone who said they got useful information on further studies from their high school counselor. Not once.

Anders said...

Well, I personally didn't get any useful information when I seeked out my high school counselor. I got misleading information, though. That gotta count for something?