Any parents interested in the quality of education for their children and puzzled about the dismal scores reported for our state's fourth-graders should take careful note of how children are spending their classroom time, why certain activities are allowed in lieu of instruction and which voices deserve to be heard in protest of this status quo.
We have a school day shorter than in other states, and our school year is riddled with interruptions.
The article, "Tea Party Offers a Taste of England," (Feb. 12) about a tea party for third-graders at Weathersfield Elementary School is, in my view, just the tip of the time-wasting iceberg in the classrooms. Add the days spent jogging to raise money for school equipment, school assemblies for awards and other ceremonies, and the hours children at all levels spend watching movies on videotape in the classroom instead of receiving instruction and it will dawn on you that they are being shortchanged.
When my children were at Weathersfield, I protested the tea party. I found parents who saw nothing wrong with children spending their school days in such a way, an administration that sanctioned these activities and a teacher who used countless hours of parent volunteer time to put it together. Ironically, these same parents spent countless hours each school year helping their children with homework, special projects and extracurricular activities to ensure that the children were getting the best education they could.