The War on Summer Vacation

Students love summer vacation, but a lot of education reformers hate it. As Brigid Schulte pointed out in The Washington Post a while back,

...and some folks would make it even shorter.

Both President Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan have called the traditional school day and school year outdated and inadequate for the demands of 21st-century life. Students in countries that routinely outscore the United States on international tests go to school for as many as 230 days each year, 50 more than kids typically attend here. "Go ahead and boo me," Duncan said in April [2009] to Denver students. "I think schools should be open six, seven days a week, eleven, twelve months a year."

Summer vacation is a holdover from the agricultural era, we're told -- an anachronism that keeps our kids from competing with...you know. All those foreigners.

Daniel Luzer doesn't buy it. In an interesting piece for the Pacific Standard, he debunks several myths that have grown up around the annual summer break:

* Summer vacation isn't a holdover from the agrarian days after all. Back then, schools had different schedules in different areas. The systematic summer break arrived in the early 20th century, part of the Progressive Era effort to standardize schooling. "If all students had more or less the same schedule," Luzer explains, "it was easier to administer testing and sell standardized education materials like textbooks."

While we're sitting here roasting marshmallows, the Chinese are eating our lunch.* Opponents of summer vacation like to point to students in Europe and Asia, arguing that their summertime schedules give them a leg up on American kids. (Here's Duncan again: "Our students today are competing against children in India and China. Those students are going to school 25 to 30 percent longer than we are.") But if you measure actual hours of instruction, Luzer notes, the difference disappears: "American students living in some of the most populous states -- California, Florida, New York, Texas, and Massachusetts -- spend about 900 hours a year in school. India requires 800 to 900 instructional hours per year, depending on the grade. China, too, provides about 900 hours of instruction per year." In Finland, whose students perform famously well, the total is just 608 hours per year -- a sign that perhaps there is more to learning than the amount of time spent in a classroom.

A different way to spend the summer months.* When American schools have shifted to year-round instruction, parents have complained. School may be useful as a babysitter, but too much school gets in the way of vacations and other items on a family schedule. Most public schools that jettison the summer break eventually reinstate it, Luzer writes. When Los Angeles, "which had adopted year-round school in the late '80s, gave schools the option of returning to a traditional schedule, 543 of its 544 schools chose to do so."

I'm not in the habit of defending the products of the Progressive Era, and if the anti-summer campaigners just wanted to move back to the days of different schedules in different places, I might be more sympathetic. If a private or charter school wants to experiment with an alternative system, that's certainly fine with me: Kids and parents who might prefer it should be free to try it out. And of course homeschoolers can adopt whatever vacation plans they like. But our ever-more-monolithic public school system doesn't need to extend its reach into the summer, annexing time that once was free. Arne Duncan's empire is large enough.

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  • ||

    Summer vacation is awesome because all those school buses go away!

  • Dweebston||

    Crossing guards, too.

    Where do they go, I wonder? I imagine the superintendent sends a cadre of specialists around to package them in straw-lined cedar boxes until the end of summer. Keeps the moisture down.

  • ||

    The school buses go away, but the airports fill up with little kids. There is no escaping them.

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

    not to mention the malls.

  • Hugh Akston||

    I find it very odd that the premise of Children of Men was supposed to be dystopian.

  • ||

    The horror of a world without people society allows to scream and cry in public!

  • Hugh Akston||

    The most horrifying part of that movie was that Clive Owen died without a decent pair of shoes.

  • ||

    What do working parents do iwth their children in summer, to keep CPS from seizing them for neglect?

  • T||

    Send them to the monocle factory.

  • Tonio||

    Srsly?

  • John||

    And if we have year around school, we have to pay teachers for year around work. My God these people are transparent.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    I have a friend who's a public school teacher who pines for a full school year. Four two-week breaks staggered throughout the year. Annual salaries as opposed to hourly wages should make the pay no different.

  • Rasilio||

    Lol you clearly have never interacted with a government employee union

    2 more months of work is gonna require a 10% across the board pay increase and extra 5 days of paid vacation a year

    Don't like it? Why do you hate education children

  • ||

    10%??? Try 20%, even though 17% would be the pro-rated amount.

  • Ayn Random Variation||

    I'm seeing a nj public school teacher. She has called in sick 25 times since September and still has 15 sick days left plus a couple of PTOs. Then throw in the 10 week summer break, and week long xmas and easter breaks.
    She shows up at work at 8:15, followed by a 45 mins of "prep time", has an hour lunch, and is out the door at 2:45.
    She makes about 70K.

    Her saving grace is that she knows she's getting over.
    As opposed to most teachers I know, who complain about how overworked and underpaid they are.

  • CE||

    Yeah, those 7 hour work days and 9 month long work years really wear you out.

  • CE||

    LOL. 8 weeks paid vacation a year is about 4 times what most people take.

  • Pro Libertate||

    And parents get free daycare. Bonus point: 12 months of indoctrination!

  • Live Free or Diet||

    I'm so happy my youngest only has two more years. I'm tired of fighting the schools, even if they are rather good here. Summer vacation is a vacation for my wife and me too, not just the kids.

  • Rasilio||

    I'm not sure what there is to fight, a simple letter...

    Dear Teacher, Johnny will be out of class from X to Y because we are going out of town please provide a list any anticipated coursework that he will need to complete while he is away.

    is all it should take

  • Overt||

    That doesn't work any more. Schools get NCLB dollars based on butts in seats. If you pull kids out, it jeopardizes their funding.

    At the least, the school can start dicking around with any optional programs or Honors/AP/IB classes that your kid attends. At the worst they can refer you to truancy officers in your state.

  • Brett L||

    We'll just keep the salaries the same. We already pay them for year 'round work.

  • ||

    Hahahahahahahahaha!!!!!!

  • John||

    Why don't we just take all children from their parents and raise them at government sponsored camps. That way every kid would get a good education and no kid would be neglected. Who couldn't be for that?

  • ||

    + 1 gold plated bust of Ceausescu

  • Enough About Palin||

    We did that with Native American children and that worked out really well for them.

  • CE||

    We do that with all kids in public schools now. It still doesn't work.

  • Enough About Palin||

    No, the kids today are not shipped off to boarding schools back east as the Native American kids were.

  • Loki||

    Melissa Harris Perry would agree.

    We haven't had a very collective notion of these are our children. So part of it is we have to break through our kind of private idea that kids belong to their parents, or kids belong to their families, and recognize that kids belong to whole communities.

  • fish||

    Melissa Harris Perry would agree.

    Fuck off Melissa Harris Perry....err....slaver!

  • Matrix||

    she is black. That makes that remark extra delicious.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    All the grownups are stealing the kids' seasonal employment, anyway. I say make that daycare all year long!

  • Flemur||

    "Students in countries that routinely outscore the United States on international tests ..."

    Race is the best predictor of school performance, and when you control for race and compare Asians with Asians, etc., the US has just about the best schools in the world (by test scores, at least).

  • robc||

    Probably true, but not necessarily.

    For example, the common example compares American whites to different European nations. But it doesnt control for race of those European nations. The whitey McWhiterson of European nations, Finland, scores higher than US Whites.

    But they also make their kids sleep in boxes, so fuck em.

  • Flemur||

    On PISA, Finland scored 11 points higher (536 vs 525).

    "One thing that immediately leaps out from above is that just as US scores leap upwards (from 496 to about 525, in line with Australia and Canada) once only whites are considered, so do scores in many European states when only natives are considered (e.g. Germany from 510 to 533; Switzerland from 517 to 542; the Netherlands from 519 to 533). In fact, the countries mentioned above and a few others equalize with Japan’s 529, Taiwan’s 534, and South Korea’s 541 (the natives of these developed East Asian societies also score a lot higher than their immigrants, but the overall effect on the national average is modest because migrant children are such a small percentage of their school-age populations). In other words, in the worst affected European countries, immigrants are lowering the mean national IQ (converted from PISA scores) by as much as 3 points."

  • Dweebston||

    You mean our schools are failing the poor and disadvantaged who disproportionately tend to be non-white ethnicities? I never realized what a softy you are, American.

  • Flemur||

    No, because the results are consistent for students in the same school and attending the same classes.

  • robc||

    All of Germany, Switzerland and Netherlands jump above US in that case.

    So the US system isnt that good, its still lagging behind Europe.

  • ||

    Interesting. Do you happen to have any study on hand you can point me to?

  • Swarley||

    The comparisons to China and India are absurd as those countries do not have compulsory education for all their children. Only the elites go to school.

  • General Butt Naked||

    Yup, Imagine if every kid raised by illiterate parents was forced to go to school in those countries.

  • ||

    You might be closer to getting me to agree with you if you spelled race like this; c-u-l-t-u-r-e.

  • Flemur||

    I don't want you to agree with me, because then I'd be w-r-o-n-g.

  • ||

    So basically, nothing would change. Got you.

  • Acosmist||

    Biology exists. We aren't in the Dark Ages anymore. Time to accept reality.

  • John||

    http://www.washingtontimes.com.....eech-reci/

    Roy Costner IV, bravo. That kid has some balls. Anyone who can't appreciate a subversive act like that just doesn't like subversive acts.

  • mr lizard||

    Shockingly the response from the school was
    1.we didn't like it (wink wink)
    2. He's done graduated now
    3. Ain't shit we can do about it.

  • kinnath||

    Yes and no. I appreciate him tearing up a speech that had to be approved in advance by the administration and said what he really felt. But he is also a member of the majority, so breaking a unwise protocol intended to avoid insulting a noisy minority isn't all that courageous.

    You show me the valedictorian of a private Christian academy that states he never believed that mumbo-jumbo and that he just wanted a quality education that the the public system fails to provide, then I would have remarked on his gigantic balls.

  • John||

    Yeah Kinnath because no public school anywhere has ever told kids what they can and cannot say. And this school had already canceled the prayer. So he was fucking with the authorities. And that takes balls. Being in the majority among the students doesn't mean shit. Like people in positions of authority care what the majority think.

    Subversiveness and courage can come from any quarter. It can even be done by people you don't like Kinneth. I know that hurts for you to admit. But it is true.

  • kinnath||

    I did not say his actions had no merit. I applaud his fuck-you to the school administration.

    But I am saying the telling the administration to fuck-off in front of a cheering audience of mostly like-minded people is not the same as telling the audience to fuck-off as well.

    Don't you understand the concept of a spectrum of fifty shades of grey separating black and white?

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    I don't, but every housewife in the country does, so I understand. Kinky!

  • kinnath||

    Note that prohibiting the student from mentioning god in his valedictorian speech would be a clear violation of his 1st amendment rights for free exercise of religion.

    At the same time, allowing a planned prayer as part of the commencement service would be a clear violation of the establishment clause.

    So right answer is to eliminate the planned prayer and let the kid say whatever he wants.

  • ||

    Yes. I attended a highschool graduation in bumfuck last year. They did have a prayer (I guess nobody has challenged it yet) and every speaker spent most of their time talking about Jesus and their prayer groups. Every speaker except the valedictorian, who at the end of his speech shouted "praise the flying spaghetti monster" or something like that. The people who understood the reference were none to please. That was far more courageous than the above story but in the end really not that courageous, he was graduating, everyone was ready to leave for dinner. I'm sure most people forgot about it the next day.

    I really don't see how either should be a news story.

  • Enough About Palin||

    Which is effectively what happened.

  • kinnath||

    Which makes it a minor victory worthy of a brief golf-clap.

  • Mickey Rat||

    "... allowing a planned prayer as part of the commencement service would be a clear violation of the establishment clause."

    No, it is not clear at all.

  • Loki||

    According to my wife her school did the same thing the year she graduated, so her valedictorian faked a sneeze and then all the students said "God bless you" in unison.

    Not quite as ballsy as this kid. But then again, what were they gonna do? Have the principal rush the stage and tackle the dude? And most graduation ceremonies take place after grades have been officially tallied, so there really isn't shit they could do to him.

  • CE||

    Deny his diploma and his transcripts for putting a feather in his hat (without calling it macaroni)?

  • Tman||

    perhaps there is more to learning than the amount of time spent in a classroom.

    BLASPHEMY!

  • CatoTheElder||

    Well, of course, there's more to learning than time spent in class.

    The government must also pay teachers more, SPEND MORE MONEY for everything else, and screw the taxpayers for truly excellent educational outcomes.

  • CE||

    They must also hire the best administrators and child development experts, and pay for their conferences and travel.

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

    Why should teachers get summers off and gloat about it on facebook?

  • ||

    Whose facebook have you been reading?

    All the teachers on my feed constantly complain about how summer vacation for teachers is a myth.

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

    your teacher friends don't go on a 3 week road trip followed by 4 weeks in Europe?

  • Brett L||

    My life-coach-to-freshmen-in-college (retention coach) gf goes to work everyday and watches Amazon movies.

  • Dweebston||

    Amazon movies?

  • Rasilio||

    That's not a vacation, that's professional development

  • Certified Public Asskicker||

    On mine they gloat but also remind us how hard they worked the rest of the year.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    Students love summer vacation, but a lot of education reformers hate it

    To be fair, a lot of parents hate it too, because they have to figure out a three-month babysitting schedule until the kids reach about 12-13 if one of them isn't a part-time or stay-at-home parent. And good luck if you're a single mom or dad and don't happen to live close to family members that can help you out, because daycare is fucking expensive.

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

    put them to work in my tar sands.

  • ||

    Congratulations, you've figured out that public school is really just government provided babysitting.

  • Swarley||

    I am from the year round mecca of Wake County, NC, and the year round schedule still doesn't satisfy babysitting because only k-8 are year round. So the high schoolers that could babysit their year round attending siblings are still in school.

    I always assumed high schools would never go year round because of sports and loss of potential life guards for the summer

  • Rob M||

    Didn't the schools there have to spend a bunch of money to cover the playground because it is so hot in the summer?

  • Adam330||

    I think there could be something to the theory that students tend to forget a lot over the course of the summer, meaning that several weeks in the fall are spending re-teaching last year's curriculum. That would counsel for roughly the same number of classroom hours over the course of a year, but interspersing shorter breaks throughout the year.

  • ||

    If you forget it after 10 weeks then you never really learned it.

  • Spoonman.||

    Poor kids tend to forget a tremendous amount over the summer; rich kids don't.

  • ||

    Well, their parents are probably paying for a tutor or making them pre-review for the next years school year.

    I've heard of kids whose parent make them read the entire next years English reading list over the summer.

  • Brett L||

    Never tell your father (who works for a community college) that you're bored during the summer unless you want to practice arithmetic and read literature. Thankfully, he was kind of a softy and let me slink back to playing computer games (Starflight or Space/Kings/Police Quest on the 386) after 3 or 4 days, having made his point.

  • ||

    Actually that's probably good for learning. I've always found that I learn something much better if I learn it once, forget it, and then have to relearn it while recalling it from long-term memory. Reinforcement and long term memory recall together.

  • Brett L||

    And yet somehow I was able to pick up Calc III in college after drinking myself to stomach ulcers for 10 weeks after Calc II.

  • Free Society||

    More money will give us better education results like hiring more teachers and "investing" more money in schools have already given us better results. That is to say, no fucking results at all.

  • CatoTheElder||

    That's because we needed to invest more all along. Think how bad it would have been if we had not made the meagre investments that we did. Our investments have saved or created many points on standardized test scores;, we just need more investments, and for that we need higher taxes.

    If you disagree, it's because you are a selfish libertarian prick and hate children. And, you're a racist.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    I don't hate children. I love them with a nice chianti and some fava beans.

  • Bee Tagger||

    If they could quantity how much smarter and/or more money I'd be making right now without years of summer vacations, there's a decent chance I'd still prefer to have the summer vacations in my memory bank.

    The problem isn't that statists try to force better decisions on people, it's that they think there is a better.

  • ||

    THIS

  • ||

    Actually the forcing is the problem. I wouldn't care at all if statists thought they had a better solution, it's when they force is to accept their solution that all the problems begin.

  • sarcasmic||

    I wonder how the summer camp lobby feels about this.

  • Certified Public Asskicker||

    Can they outduel the mental health experts? Think of how many more delicious children can be labeled disruptive and drugged when we force them to sit in a desk through summer too.

  • Tonio||

    A lot of camps are sponsored by religious or other nonprofits and exist to provide vacations/daycare for their members (the parents). The for-profit camps would be hurting, as well as the for-profit daycare providers.

    There are also lots of free daycamp (daycare) programs for poor kids that would go away. That would save some money as many of them are government sponsored, ie Boys and Girls Clubs of America.

  • B.P.||

    It is possible to learn something while not confined to the local PS 111.

  • John||

    Since people don't seem to be learning must at PS 111, we better hope it is.

  • CE||

    I remember the first time I learned something in school that I didn't already know. I was in 7th grade.

  • ||

    "I think schools should be open six, seven days a week, eleven, twelve months a year."

    I think kids should be imprisoned ALL the time, not just 18% of it for 70% of the year!

  • ||

    Listen we have to get away from this idea that children are anything other than communal property owned by society.

  • PRX||

    teachers should work year round. summer should be when they paint, landscape, re-tar the roof, etc.

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

    no, that's what the kids should be doing.

  • General Butt Naked||

    no, that's what the kids should be doing.

    Me and my buddy used to do lawns in his neighborhood during the summer, but then a couple of teachers started a landscaping company that only did work in the summers. Pissed us right the fuck off.

    I don't think they ever knew the reason we'd shout the most terrible things at them when we saw them doing people's lawns.

  • Tonio||

    You couldn't manage to undercut their rates? How unlibertarian.

  • Raven Nation||

    Seriously? You actually want to give the average PS teacher the responsibility to repair physical structures that are governed by real life rather than theory?

  • Tonio||

    Everything would be done by the book, with stringent attention to OSHA regs, etc.

  • Drake||

    When would the dumb kids go to summer school?

  • Certified Public Asskicker||

    I think schools should be open six, seven days a week...

  • ||

    That's a good point. Summer school is supposed to be punishment for not passing classes the rest of the year. They need to get more strict about failing kids like they used to, and if they can get their shit together in Summer School on what they failed, maybe they get to advance.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Fail kids? But socialization! School scores!

  • ||

    I like the idea of year-round school, but with seasonal breaks. Something like two months on, one month off would be nice. You'd get big Spring and Winter holidays (March and December) plus two months in the summer (June and September). Note: we have six months of summer in Houston.

  • ||

    Oh, and kids could do remedial work in the off month if needed, so in theory they wouldn't fall very far behind before getting caught back up.

  • ||

    "I think schools should be open six, seven days a week, eleven, twelve months a year."

    In other words: "The better to indoctrinate you, my dear."

    "In Finland, whose students perform famously well, the total is just 608 hours per year -- a sign that perhaps there is more to learning than the amount of time spent in a classroom."

    No shit.

    Thinking about members of Academia with...odd notions....where is Tulpa lately?

  • Pro Libertate||

    He's suffering. The Internet sales tax bill is dead.

  • JW||

    I think the DC Food Truck rules failing passage is what finally did him in.

  • Fluffy||

    I would have thought his spirits would be raised by CT passing a law allowing police to suppress video evidence of homicides.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Or, you know, they might start using that Interwebz thingy to individualize education, and render the entire debate moot.

  • Pro Libertate||

    What? But socialization! And how will they learn to love the state?

  • ||

    Public school was where I learned to hate the state. I thought summer break was the reward for not murdering a vice principal.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    Why would anyone go to the trouble of murdering a vice-principal? The indignity of his office is clearly Karmic punishment for bang a child-bullying toady.

  • ||

    This. I will not be sending my child to public school. Hooray for child-directed learning via homeschooling.

    Google John Holt.

  • Brandon||

    "I think schools should be open six, seven days a week, eleven, twelve months a year."

    Says an appointed bureaucrat who works 4,5 days a week, 9, 10 months a year. Minus holidays.

  • Certified Public Asskicker||

    Summer vacation is a holdover from the agricultural era, we're told

    But the entire school system in general is not a holdover from the industrial era?

  • Drake||

    Talk to a farmer. Spring and Autumn are the busiest times of the year.

  • ||

    I always hated summer. Where I live June is often cold and gray (June Gloom) and summer really kicks off in August and September just as we were going back to school. I'd far rather go to the beach in early October than in mid-June.

  • prolefeed||

    I'm not in the habit of defending the products of the Progressive Era, and if the anti-summer campaigners just wanted to move back to the days of different schedules in different places, I might be more sympathetic.

    Or we could get rid of all government indoctrination camps, aka public schools, and let all those new private schools offer a variety of options that satisfy what the market, aka parents and kids, actually want.

  • ||

    But poor people!

  • Evan from Evansville||

    I currently teach in Korea, and although they have gone insanely hard in the other direction, American schools are a fucking joke.

    There is a culture of learning here. Kids are expected to go to public school from 830-330(ish) and then go to 2 different private schools every day of the week. At my school the kids are here for two and a half hours, with the upper-level kids being schooled from 830-1055pm.

    Parents push their kids to learn, although again I do think they push way to far. But the point is that the US system is absolutely antiquated and broken in a modern world. I graduated HS in 2005 and I, a good student, would forget 20% of everything I learned the prior year during summer break. So much wasted time.

    One thing that is important: Korea doesn't prioritize creativity and original thought, which (obviously as a libertarian) is something that I highly value. My old joke is that kids here can speak 2+ languages, do advanced math, play the piano with their fucking cock, but can't produce an original opinion to save their lives.

    Something needs to be done.

  • Evan from Evansville||

    SLD: The thing(s) that need doing shouldn't come from the state.

  • JW||

    It holds over here too.

    I saw the graduating class from Hopkins Med School this year. It was 80% Asian and I would bet that 80% of them were Korean.

  • ||

    I think I've asked where you teach before, but have forgotten. I was at YBM ECC in Siji, Daegu.

    I was there in 2007 and they'd recently de-emphasized academics because of the suicide rate in favor of a more balanced approach including athletics. The ads for jump rope hagweon, which was guaranteed to increase your child's height were hilarious. Parents just forced their kids to do jump roping or soccer at a grueling rate.

  • Evan from Evansville||

    I live in Daejeon. I got here in '09 about six months after university. I took a couple of breaks (one purposeful and one to have surgery in the States) but I've always worked at the same school.

    Worked my way up to Head Teacher and am having a blast. Absolutely adore my job. Probably gonna stay here for 1.5 more years and try to save up some scratch for my triumphant return to the States.

  • ||

    Ah, Daejeon, that's right. It was a great job. I wish I'd done a bit more teaching abroad. I had an offer for a job in Turkey while I was on my way home from a friend of my aunt's but I didn't take the guy up on it. It's a minor regret. Have you done Mudfest yet?

  • Thundar||

    In the long run does it really matter that you forgot who Pocahontas was banging or that static electricity is electricity that doesn't move? Some things are worth forgetting.

  • granite state destroyer||

    So in your mind continuing the cram methods developed in Tang China for passing bureaucratic exams is "the modern world"? The Korean system is a great system for producing a compliant, well-trained productive work force, but it's antiquated if you want to create a true leadership or entrepreneurial class.

    There is no one-size-fits-all school model because we are individuals. Some kids thrive in a Koreaan style pressure cooker, some kids develop much better in a Finnish style "follow your passion" model, and some kids are just hopeless.

  • Spartacus||

    My mother, who really did grow up on a farm, says they used to start classes in July, and then had 2 or 3 weeks off at harvest time (approx October), so the kids could help out. So, in Alabama at least, there was time off for kids to help out on the farm, just not in midsummer. Midsummer was a time for going to school in poorly ventilated, un-air-conditioned classrooms.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Older kids still try to get jobs during the summer.

  • db||

    Yeah, but witg our youth unemployment rates, that's a totally outdated justification. Expand the school year to 340 days and make 35% of it "mandatory national service." Youth unemployment: solved. Child care: solved. Free thinking menace to authority: solved.

  • Loki||

    They have to get rid of summer vacations because too many parents are using that time to deprogram their kids. And for older kids, too many are getting summer jobs and learning useful things like the value of working for money.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    The 'reformers' attacked on Summer Vacation are simply a desperate attempt to distract people from the demonstrable fact that the State certified, Union represented products of our Colleges of Education suck putrefying donkey balls.

  • db||

    No post with that many Peanuts references should be without a link to Weapon Brown

  • ||

    It's time we admitted that public school at least up until grade 6 or so really is just free daycare.

    Moroever, I can't understand why we stick to a 3:30 end to the day when it creates problems for so many working parents. Who the hell can get off work 2 hours early to go home to pick up the kids from school?

    There are so many better ways to arrange the school year. You could do half-days all year round. You could do 9-5 days. you could have three semester and stick month long breaks in between them in summer winter and spring, instead of one big long break. I can't see any reason why we can't try these things.

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

    2 words:

    Teacher Union

  • ||

    Why do we insist that children get "picked up" from school?

    I walked to school in fucking Kindergarten, and according to Google maps it was .7 miles.

    Hell, in first grade I woke up alone and walked my ass to the bus stop. I came home to an empty house for most of my school years, and guess what...nothing happened.

  • Matrix||

    BUT YOU COULD HAVE BEEN KIDNAPPED!!! BURNED DOWN THE HOUSE!!! ZOMG!! YOUR PARENTS WERE HORRIBLE!!!

    /progtard

  • Fluffy||

    Summer vacation is awesome because all those school buses go away!

    Yes, but if you live, and work, near numerous colleges, jogging coeds disappear in the summer too.

    :-(

  • Fluffy||

    BTW they want to get rid of summer vacations to increase the pay of unionized teachers and to provide more child care for working moms.

    That's it. All the rest of it is BS made up to try to justify a change that benefits those two Democrat constituencies.

  • Brendan||

    Full time, full year school would be nice. Get the kids out of school by 14 so they can start their lives earlier.

  • db||

    Like that will ever happen, with the current pressure to raise the effective age of adulthood well into one's twenties.

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

    I also have friends who have life sweeter than Teachers.
    "Dorm Parents"
    They live on campus, have free housing, and get summers off.

  • ||

    My ex-wife's parents were "House Parents" at Milton Hershey School in PA. Let me tell you, that while it may seem great, it can be a fucking nightmare. They had high school girls in their unit. I, for one, would never want to live with a dozen 14-18 year olds.

  • Rasilio||

    Actually I am a big fan of both year round schooling and longer school days.

    Were I designing an educational system school would be 48 weeks a year with 2 weeks off around Christmas and the 4th of July and the school day would be 9 hours long.

    However during that 9 hours the kids would not spend more than 3 to 5 hours in a classroom environment (younger kids would get more, older kids less) interspersed inbetween would be periods of individual study, group study, and both structured and unstructured play. Further as the kids got older they would gain more and more control over the classes that they did take with a lot of elements borrowed from this place... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sudbury_Valley_School

  • Homple||

    Great. Have kids spend even more time under the control of unionized government bureaucrats and getting larger doses of lefty indoctrination.

    Of course that would acclimatize them to their future lives in Progressive America.

  • Rasilio||

    Where did I say unionized government employees?

    You'll note that the school I linked to is a private school.

    The other part I left off since it wasn't particularly germaine to the discussion is that I would make ALL schools private and provide all parents with a voucher that can be used for educational services. It would be set up like a Flexibile spending account and could only be used on approved edicational activities, one of which is paying tuition to a school. For the existing schools, each individual school would then be incorporated with all current employees of that school being given equal shares in the corporation and the Principal being appointed CEO and then let go their merry way to try and succeed or fail in the marketplace.

  • Invisible Finger||

    Both President Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan have called the traditional school day and school year outdated and inadequate for the demands of 21st-century life.

    Yep, all that education could be done on-line in less than half the time with 10% of the staff.

    But somehow I think Obama and Arne Duncan have a Luddite perspective.

  • CE||

    So teachers are even more overpaid than we thought.

  • Sigivald||

    "I think schools should be open six, seven days a week, eleven, twelve months a year."

    7 days a week, 12 months a year?

    Well, yeah, if you want to make them pure indoctrination creches. Which, well, I suspect is the goal there.

    I'd rather have less of it, and more effective, if we're going to be stuck with compulsory schooling at all.

  • Matrix||

    I'm sure several religious groups out there would have a problem with 7 days a week.

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