Time to Kill This Long Summer Break

It’s been quiet recently here in Lake Wobegon the overly-large school district.

Because, of course, it’s July, with most teachers and students on their far too extended summer break, a monumental waste of time, money, energy and learning that I was planning to write about once again.

However, rather than inflicting the web with yet another rant on the subject, go read A Teacher’s Case Against Summer Vacation, a better and certainly more concise argument for making much needed alterations to our archaic academic calendar.

As she points out, we hold on to our current system1 largely due to tradition and emotion, and despite much evidence that it is actually detrimental to learning for many kids. Or at least to the type of student learning we most value, that assessed on standardized tests.

However, this not about increasing school time, just rearranging it. Taking the long summer block and spreading the still very much needed breaks more evenly throughout the year. Allowing for family vacations and assorted kid camps in other months, regular building maintenance, embedded professional development time for teachers, and remediation for students who need it when it will be more relevant.

Like this writer, I’m also puzzled why this kind of calendar change is not a big part of the education reform discussion. Maybe it really is just too simple of an idea.

Or maybe a new approach to school time like this never occurred to the politicians and billionaires leading the debate because it doesn’t contribute larger profits to owners of charter schools, standardized testing creators, or the many vendors of Common Core “solutions”.


  1. Which, contrary to popular folklore, does NOT have agrarian roots.

Comments

  1. says

    As a middle-class parent, I can think of lots of reasons that I don’t want to go to a “balanced” calendar. I use summer time as a way to enhance my kids’ education and teach them *other* things that they don’t get taught in school. As high school students, how would they get a summer job if they had to be in school?

    Sports have been an important of my kids’ high school educations, and during school breaks the athletes don’t usually get to take the time fully off anyway.

    Also–it might be different if you don’t live in the north, but our winters in Michigan are long! And there’s not that much to do, and our kids don’t really want to spend a lot of time outside, in the winter. So I would be swapping the ability to take the kids to the pool or a park, or to an outdoor summer camp, in exchange for an extra break in icy February or March? No thank you!

    I realize the equation may be different for lower-income kids, but I’d be more interested in finding ways to enhance their summer education (through camps that are fun and get them outside and moving and keep their brains active).

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