Year-round school

      In a recent CNN article it was being discussed whether or not school should run year-round.  This was brought on by America’s low ranks of 14th in reading, 17th in science and 25th in math out of 34 nation and nonnational region.  This study was down by the Program for International Student Assessment.  From the opinion of the author it seems that  “U.S. students are no longer ready to compete against the world’s brightest”.  Only 8 out of the 34 nations that participated in the study have a lower high school graduation rate than the United States.

     To fight this “declining” intelligence some think it would be good to have year round school since America has one of the shortest school years of only 180 days.  So by getting rid of the summer break they belive we could increase our rank.  It was also studied and discovered that during the course of the summer about 1 months worth of information is lost and has to be retaught the next year.  So it seems logical to just do away with summer break and have year round school.

    This problem needs to be fixed, but not by getting rid of summer break.  Summer break is when kids can be kids and have fun and enjoy life.  You can’t take that away from them because if you did they would be going to school for around 8 years straight with little chance to experience life.  Now that may be a little extreme because they will have periodic breaks just like they do now to get away from school.  By taking summer break away kids will just become agitated and won’ want to go to school.  School will become something that they hate and this would be counterproductive because if they hate school why would they try to do good in it.  

      We would also instilling the “knowing that” instead of the”knowing how” that Crawford talks about.  From out discussion in class it seemed that “knowing how” was more important, so why facilitate ‘knowing that”.  Most of my “know how” comes from personal experiences away from school.

     Teachers may not even want to work during the summers.  If they did they will want to be paid more and god forbid we pay teachers a reasonable salary for their work.  It may even push people away from being teachers because they lose one of the great benefits of being a teacher, summer break.  Teachers also need a break from the chaos of school and they would lose that.

    Students would also lose the real-world experiences that come from summer break like having a job or making decisions by yourselves, etc.  They would lose part of the growing up experience that they will need once they graduate from high school or college.  Without it they will just be lost in the world.

   All the blame can’t be put on the students.  The teachers and the system need to take their share of the blame since they are the ones that teach the students and if the students aren’t doing well than maybe the system isn’t working very well either.

      I have my opinions about year-long school and would like to hear your opinions.  For more information visit:



         As we learned from Sapolsky a “placebo effect occurs when a person’s assessment of their health improves merely because they believe that a medical procedure has been carried out on them regardless of whether it actually has” (pg.197).  Another more siplistic way to put it is that a placebo is a sugar pill.

        The big secret to the success of the placebo effect is that the patient doesn’t know that they are taking a sugar pill, right?  WRONG!  Placebos can work even if the patient knows that they’re fake.  New research done treating irritable bowl syndrome suggests that placebos can work without the secrecy.

         In the study patients were told they would be taking “placebo pills made of an inert substance, like sugar pills, that have been shown in clinical trials to produce significant improvement in IBS symptoms through mind-body self-healing processes.”  The difference in this study compared to other studies done is that the patients were told that the placebo pills worked.

        The results showed that 59% on the placebo got better whereas only 35% got better without treatment.  These dramatic effects of the placebo compare to some of the strongest treatments tested for IBS.  The exception is that the placebo has no side effects.

       These results are being used in an ongoing controversy over the ethics of using plcebos with or without telling the patients they are getting a placebo.  The problem was that until recently the placebo effect was only known to work if the patient was unaware.  Know that may possibly all change.  Here is a link for more info: 

Pain and Vision

With pain being a “warning to us of bodily dangers” (Sapolsky, pg.190) then why can we have instances were we are injured without pain?  For example I have cut myself before and not relized it.  Yet I just was inflicted with bodily harm and my body didn’t respond.  Another time my brother stepped on a nail and didn’t realize it until he discovered he couldn’t move his foot.  Once I got a good 8 inch cut down my forearm and didn’t notice it or feel any pain, until someone mentioned that I was bleeding and then I felt the pain.  Sometimes the  “alarm” system of bodily harm doesn’t work to well.  It seems as if perception or knowledge of an injury has a lot to do with the severity of the pain.  The brain just seems to ignore to tell us that we were injured.  I did however find an article that contradicts what a I just described.  It says that seeing the body can reduce the pain felt, Visual Analgesia.  I always thought the pain was worse when I saw my body and not visa-versa.

This just reminded me of what my dad use to do to me.  If I would complain of something hurting he would just ask if he could step on my foot.  Somewere along the way I probably even let him do it!

Estes Food vs. College Stress

From personal experience and from hearing from other students on campus Estes Dining Hall can give you the runs.  During class on chapter 5 I had a revelation, what if it is college stress and not Estes that gives RMC students diarrhea.  Being in college with homework, tests, quizes, reports and other various events going on in a college students life it isn’t difficult to see that we get stressed.  So I was wondering if it isn’t the stress that students experience that gives us diarrhea and not the food from Estes.  But since most students on campus eat at Estes it is assumed that the food is giving us diarrhea.  That’s what I thought when I first got here, until this semester when the diarrhea has disapearred.  During the first semester I was stressed, it was my first semster of college and wanted to do good and had to adjust to college life and work loads.  Now during my second semester I’m less stressed and have noticed that I am having normal bowel movements now.

“Stress Relieving Device”

I saw this “stress relief device” somewhere on campus, I can’t remember where.   I got thinking about how is it that we can relieve stress by inducing physical pain.  Pain is a stressor and shouldn’t it just increase your stress?  How is it that we can relieve mental stress through physical activities?

Yet as humans we do it all the time by going to the gym, playing sports, punching bags, stress balls, etc.  Is it that we take the mental stress and transform it into physical stress because we find physical stress less stressful or that our bodies can deal with it more efficiently?  Another possibility may be that we take “bad” mental stress and cover it up with “good” physical stress.  The second possibility makes more sense to me because the mental stress always seems to uncover itself eventually until the actual stressor is removed from the person’s life.

Top Posts & Pages