Monday, 11 May 2015

Rule #241: Summer vacation

My understanding was that summer break was created back in eighteenhundredandalongfuckingtimeago so children could help out on the family farm. You know, wear daisy dukes, chew on straw, tip cattle, that sort of thing. Apparently, not so. Back in 1840, a gent named Horace Mann, a great education reformer, got worried that over stimulating the minds of children could lead to stress, insanity and mental breakdowns. Enter the summer break. This solution made students and teachers happy because they got a big break from studies. Moreover, it made doctors happy because they were concerned about children spreading disease while packed into sweltering classrooms.

Well here's my take. The break didn't seem to make our kids any
less nuts, and we have air conditioning, so sweltering classrooms aren't an issue anymore. I think it's time to say good bye to the summer break. At least reduce the 2 plus month stretch. Many teachers spend weeks every fall just reminding kids of what they forgot over the summer. And if the break did help keep the kids sane, endless hours of Sponge Bob has reversed any positive effects.

One popular alternative calendar is the "45-15" type, by which nine-week terms alternate with three-week vacations throughout the year. Kids start school in "waves", rather than all on the same day. In this system, one group is always on vacation during any given week. Schools are less crowded, with fewer students on campus at once, but still serve the same number of children.

In the new world, the number of school days in a year will remain the same, but the summer break will only be 2 weeks with more breaks throughout the year.


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