Wonderful or Wimpy – Is this New Jersey School Policy Good for Kids?
At the risk of sounding like an old man, and I'm in my late 30s, schooling in New Jersey has definitely changed since I was in class.
There's a policy in effect in select New Jersey districts that is getting some attention.
K-12 has drastically changed in a world full of technology.
Students today are issued a tablet. We were issued a number two pencil.
I applaud teachers and parents for keeping up with a new way of learning that is changing and evolving faster than I think it ever has.
Remember where we thought education was getting complicated, even before COVID?
The pandemic forced the adaptation of technology in the classroom to move at lightning speed.
Still with things returning to "normal," I often worry whether so much virtual is taking away from the aspects of reality that children need to learn.
Some (not me) will argue that the new way of schooling is making students "soft" or putting them in a bubble.
I think our educators and parents are doing the best they can given the circumstances.
Education wasn't perfect when you and I were in school. Will it ever be?
That's why I think it's important that we keep an open mind when it comes to new policies like the one that the Wayne Public School System is implementing.
Not unique to Jersey, "Wellness Weekends" is meant to allow students to completely disconnect from school.
This includes no homework.
Wayne Schools are instituting three Wellness Weekends this school year.
According to NJ.com, the first will be over the Thanksgiving weekend November 24-28.
Remember when we would just luck out by getting "that teacher?"
The beloved one that would always give us a bit of a break around holidays and towards the end of the year?
Then there were the teachers that slammed us with work from the first day of school to the bell on the last day.
I won't name names, but you know who you are.
The other "Wellness Weekends" in Wayne are scheduled for February and May.
This is a nationwide initiative that other Jersey school districts have signed on to.
Woodbridge, Princeton, West Windsor-Plainsboro, and Denville all have a modified version of this break in action.
NJ.com reports that Wayne Superintendent of Schools Mark Toback said to parents:
During each of the three wellness weekends, students do not have any obligations to the school district, which means no homework, no tests or quizzes, and no due dates scheduled directly before or after a wellness weekend. We hope this will lead to healthier students, employees, and families.
I'm 90% on board with this idea. The only thing I'm a little concerned about is that in the real world, we don't get "wellness weekends." I wish we did.
However, a few weekends of not having to worry about hitting the books isn't going to hurt students, teachers, and parents.