Hey, wait a minute! Doesn’t America have an unemployment problem? Do we need a bunch of kids glutting the job market? I have to ask because Michelle Luce, writing for Education Debate at Online Schools, brought my attention to a Fox News story about a Wyoming school giving jobs to elementary students:
“My son Kaleb is a pencil sharpener –” his mother Angie Hiller started.
“– Writing tool assistant,” Coffeen’s school counselor Jennifer Black corrected, smiling.
Kaleb is one of many students who hold volunteer “leadership jobs” at Coffeen — one of several new initiatives at the elementary school that encourage responsibility, accountability and prepare students for the real world, according to Coffeen [Elementary] Principal Nicole Trahan.[link added]
Hey, I’m totally for personal responsibility and all that… at least in theory. Though when it comes to picking up my toys, making my bed, or helping with the trash around the house, it sometimes looks different in practice. I confess. All right? But I can’t quite imagine being charged with such responsibility at school. Maybe when I’m older.
Unless perhaps there were a position as school blogger. I wonder if Coffeen’s “Leader in Me” program has contemplated that? Or maybe my school would need someone to specialize in playing with Legos. Yeah, I could be the “executive plastic construction engineer”!
I know of at least some charter schools here in Colorado where upper elementary students spend some time aiding teachers of lower grades. So this doesn’t appear to be necessarily some sort of radical idea, though it may be more comprehensive than most other places. The Fox News article does suggest the program has had a positive effect on student test scores, and more significantly on student discipline problems. Luce finds that “impressive,” and it’s very hard to disagree.
The topic also happens to be something fun to write about for a Tuesday. Especially if it helps me someday become a school’s “senior online communication specialist.” This is kind of preparing me for the real world, isn’t it?