Time to Change the Calendar

Tomorrow most of the teachers in our overly-large school district return to their schools, getting ready for the kids to show up the following week.

Another school year begins.

And we have another opportunity to consider just how much is being wasted by clinging to our traditional academic year.

This particular idea pops back into my head twice a year as I watch all the effort being expended preparing to close schools in June, only to allocate even more to open them again two months later. Not to mention all the time not devoted to student learning during the process.

Michael at The Principal’s Page, who starts by telling us how much he loves his summer vacation, has also come to the same conclusion.

Except the fact that after 18 years of this I am now convinced summer is a waste of time.

We put so much effort into shutting down school for the summer.

Then we put twice as much into starting school back up again in the fall.

I’ve heard all the rationale for keeping the current system, including the one about kids having all kinds of special opportunities offered during summer. Programs like the institute for the arts, STEM camp, and tech adventure camp around here.

Programs that should be part of the “regular” curriculum.

However, I also wonder about the message being sent to students, parents and the community when “serious” learning is segmented into ten months, then it stops and the “fun” learning occurs during the other two.

For these and many other reasons, The Principal is right. It is way past time for the idea of a “school year” with a 2-3 month summer break to go away.

One thought on “Time to Change the Calendar

  • August 30, 2012 at 6:31 pm
    Permalink

    I want to know why it’s so much work to start and stop. Have a chance to engage in some reflection and planning. Stop the mail, put the laptops away, and plan for when the painters can come in and touch up the walls.

    This is hard?

    Reply

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