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I am writing in response to the questionnaire sent out by the public school system in Townsend about a longer school day for our children. I am not in support of it and, in the interest of considering the varying opinions of all, I will outline what some may not have considered.

Most of us would agree that the family, not the school system, is the mainstay of society. When the family is strong, society is strong. How would keeping our children from their families until dinner time, and then off to do more homework, make us stronger as a family/society?

I realize that for some, who are unable to be home with their children for economic reasons, this would be a big help in child care responsibilities and I sympathize. I love my kids, I like spending time teaching them and being with them. I can and want to be the primary teacher in their lives. This proposal further weakens the parent/child relationship by keeping kids from their families for longer hours.

The other way this proposal may adversely affect us is the cost. My taxes recently went up about $500 due to the needs of the school budget. I live in a modest home. Economically, if I am careful I can work part-time and still be here for the children. The increase in taxes that this measure will engender may threaten my ability, as well as perhaps many others, to be able to afford to be home when the children are. This is not good for families and society as a whole.

We all agree that education is important but let’s not forget it’s not the only part of life that needs addressing. Kids also need time to think and learn to be responsible adults and citizens by helping out at home. And, just like us, they need free time too.

Having nearly every moment of their day directed by others is, in my opinion, harmful to their ability to think for themselves and turns them into pre-programmed robots that fall apart when there is no one telling them what to do.

The extracurricular activities mentioned in the questionnaire as the main advantage of extending the day to about 5:30 p.m. are things that were included in the curriculum when I was in school years ago. What happened to our system? Maybe we have lost some of our autonomy and control due to federal government mandates attached to tax money that we give them.

Another point pertinent to the care and intellectual feeding of children: We all have a saturation point when it comes to learning. Let’s make sure we are being balanced as we oversee our children’s lives, allowing for free time and self-determination as a part of a healthy, balanced, social, family-oriented experience during these formative years to benefit all.

Sincerely,

CHERYL FOREST

West Townsend

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