Re: Schol Reform
Oh, the irony of someone insinuating that teaching and education are fair game for the armchair ignoramus.
"Aside from a 'life skills' class, the only other reform I'd like to see is a change in school hours, change it from 9-3:15 (or whatever it is right now) to 8 - 5."
Good luck with that. Leaving aside the fact that teaching is actually a hell of a lot harder than you appear to think it is, the human brain can only process so much new data in a day. The brain suffers from fatigue, just like your muscles do.
There's a good reason why so many EU nations have shorter hours for their schools than the UK's. (The trick is to demand more homework, rather than more Victorian-style spoon-feeding in a classroom.)
"1: Daily PE rather than weekly, with no BS excuses to get out of it."
With all due respect, [WORD THAT RHYMES WITH 'LUCK'] you and the high horse you rode in on. I hated PE with a passion, the depth of which you couldn't even begin to conceive. I've always preferred working out on my own in a gym, listening to music. Team sports – professional and otherwise – have never remotely interested me.
"2: Bringing options selection forward to year 9 or even 8 in senior school to allow a better focus earlier for those who know what they want to do."
And what about those who don't? Have you spent even a microsecond considering the logistical and timetabling nightmare you're proposing here?
"PE would help with the obesity problem, as well as concentration at schools."
Firstly, know this: There is no such thing as an "obesity problem". There is a media obsession with scaremongering – because fear sells – but there has been no appreciable increase in actual childhood obesity measured using accurate metrics. Fact. (And, dear lord, if I hear the phrase "obesity epidemic" – as if obesity were somehow contagious – I swear I won't be held responsible for my actions.)
Any article or report you read that mentions using Body-Mass Index ("BMI") as a key measurement can be trivially dismissed as 100% fact-free scaremongering. BMI was discredited long ago as it utterly fails to account for muscle mass. Muscle is twice as dense as fat. BMI treats muscle as fat: Arnold Schwarzenegger would be considered "morbidly obese" under that system.
"Almost every kid I went to school with who had ADHD was almost perfectly behaved after PE, at least for a few hours anyway."
ADHD has surprisingly little to do with being "well behaved" or otherwise: plenty of kids with ADHD diagnoses manage not to disrupt their classes. All it does is affect concentration and focus, making it easier for you to get distracted.
I found doodling on a pad and creating little flick-book animations in the corners of my exercise books helped relieve the boredom of being taught about 1066 and all that in history lessons. (Or Computer Studies O Level: those of us who went into IT careers already knew more than our teacher did by then in any case.)
While those kids that do tend to disrupt lessons may or may not have ADHD, what they definitely have is a dire need for a bloody good clout round the ear. And better parenting.