Posted Monday, March 6, 2006 9:15 AM | Contributed by Jeff
The tourism and entertainment industries are pushing bills that would force Florida schools to open no earlier than seven days before Labor Day, in order to leave more time for students to take family trips and work as waiters, life-guards and theme-park characters.
Read more from The Miami Herald.
I heard of high school students whose last days of classes is in May or early June. Where are those places?
Where I grew up (Alberta, Canada), our school year started around Labour day (or shortly before) and ended around Wednesday or Thursday in the last week of June. My mother was a teacher and her birthday fell on June 27. Until she retired, she usually could not celebrate on her actual birthday, because it fell in marking and report card week of hell.
Educationally, I'm mixed...kids DO need to play and be outdoors (or given extra doses of Ritalin, your choice). The longer school year doesn't really seem to do that much good, since huge class sizes (and questionable parenting) means teachers often are babysitting instead of teaching. I know kids are working harder and harder, I'm hearing horror stories from parents about the MASSIVE amounts of homework.....yet even with teachers "teaching to the test" (in our case, FCATs), scores aren't improving. My instincts tell me that until we reduce class size, put a STOP to bad behavior, and pay teachers as though we cared about the job they do, then you could make kids LIVE in the classroom and it won't do much good.
Your district could lengthen the day and get out sooner
I don't think so. Most of the literature I've read suggests that more, shorter school days are more effective pedagogically.
In farming areas the scool year is toatly wraped around the harvest so kids can help with the family farms
There aren't that many family farms left, really, and those few that are are now much more automated.
Thats awesome though that the Tourism industry is trying to get more summer for the kids. I would have killed for that when I was in Middle and High School.
*** This post was edited by gomez 3/6/2006 12:44:00 PM ***
But I guess that would be conter-productive to my coaster habit...:)
I've always grown to know it that way, and find it strange how other districts could possibly have school during the summer-time when the vacation get-a-way season is at its peak and parks are open full-time going strongest.
I don't understand why the school year keeps growing at both ends, and nobody seems to be doing anything about what happens in the middle.
See, here in Ohio, the school year is 180 days, and I think there may be some legislative trickery that allows districts to count contact hours instead of school days, allowing districts with a longer day to use fewer days in the year. But to look at the '05-'06 calendar...why doesn't it look something like this--
August 29: School starts
September 5: Labor Day holiday
November 4: Last day of first quarter (44 days)
November 7: First day of second quarter
November 24-25: Thanksgiving
December 23-January 8: Christmas break
January 27: Last day of second quarter (48 days)
January 30: First day of third quarter
March 31: Last day of third quarter (45 days)
April 3: First day of fourth quarter
April 8-16: spring break
May 29: Memorial Day
May 31: Last day of fourth quarter (43 days)
August: 3 days
September: 22 days
October: 21 days
November: 20 days
December: 17 days
January: 17 days
February: 20 days
March: 23 days
April: 15 days
May: 22 days
Total: 180 days
...and 2005-2006 is a complicated year because of the way the holidays fall...that's a two week break for Christmas which should normally only be a week and a half, and Easter comes a bit late, and Memorial day comes early. That plan has the school year starting the same time it has started around here since I was in school, and ending at least a week earlier than it has ever ended since I graduated. And yet there are still 180 days in the school year. For convenience, I've scheduled each quarter to end on a Friday, but that doesn't much matter.
I think schools shouldn't operate during the summer. Certainly not in temperate climates such as the one I live in, and the same can be said for down South. Furthermore, I think long school breaks are important, especially since I believe that learning outside the classroom is at least as important as learning inside. Let's facilitate summer jobs, summer vacations, and three months in the summer for our kids to actually be kids for a while.
--Dave Althoff, Jr.
There is an organization, I believe it's called the National Association for Year Round Education. There sole purpose is to get the states to institute year round schools through out the US. To them a summer vacation is a bad thing. When PA was looking at it they sent their hatchet man to hit all the local talk shows in the state. They have an agenda, and they are experts at making statistics lie for them. Not surprising most of the people involved with this organization are "educators" who addminister year round school programs, mostly in CA.Their claims that there is huge retention loss over the summer is questionable at best. My son went to a year round elementary school, and now goes to a traditional schedule high school. From personal observations it appears to me it takes about the same amount of time to get them back up to speed whether it's a few weeks off or three months off.
A school year in Ohio must be 180 days, but two of those days can be used for conference days. Each day must meet a minimum of hours. Most schools go longer than the minimum hours. My year would only be 152 days if we went by contact hours.
Most teacher contracts are for slightly more days. In the district I work at it is 184. There is one work day at the beginning and the end of the year. One day is used after 1st semester for records and the final day is a teacher in-service day in October. Those days don’t appear on your calendar neither does Martin Luther King Day & Presidents day.
Dutchman is right there are a lot more days off. Some districts population want longer breaks for vacations around Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter or extra days for the start of hunting season, the county fair, or long weekends for skiing.
In the past the district I work at started the last week of August and ended the 2nd week of June, with the semester ending in late January. Next year we are starting earlier so we can end the semester before Christmas. I can tell you from my prior teaching experiences this is a more logical breaking point. January felt like a wasted month because you had to review what you covered before Christmas and then you had to get ready for exams.
The students may be starting the 21st of August in my district, but they are getting out May 24th next year, but we are down to more of what Dutchman remembers. We will have a bare bones Christmas & Spring Break and no Wednesday at Thanksgiving. The good thing is since I am on an extended contract I won’t have to work until the end of June but will be done in early June, which means I have more time for CP before I refuse to go in July & August.*** This post was edited by Not a Freak 3/6/2006 4:43:42 PM ***
Didn't we just have "the Education President"? ;)
Actually, based on my "informal observation method", I'd say that lack of appreciation for the value of education from the PARENTS is as detrimental as anything else...
In FL, tourism is a HUGE part of our economy....not sure exactly where "in-state tourism" comes into the picture though...
Almost impossible in today’s political environment… The parents, by and large, support Johnny in all circumstances. Parents are more interested in dwelling on Administration social injustices and debating any loopholes in school rules versus supporting a wide concept of disciplined behavior and attitudes. The ACLU, and like ilk, are there to support any case that remotely weighs discipline and uniformity over individual expressions/behaviors. The kids run the asylum. The school is useless to change matters as courts continue to usurp power.
put a STOP to bad behavior
I widely agree with the concept. My unpopular belief is that this should only start with new teachers, or those current teachers who have proven exceptional in tough circumstances. My reasoning is that the “School of Education” is by and large the absolute easiest college for anybody to “get into.” Chicken and egg scenerio… They need to toughen academic standards and simultaneously raise the pay scale to attract the best and brightest. Those who skirted by in college (see my friends) and obtained an education degree, as this was the easiest option available should not now reap the rewards of increasing salaries. Those currently in the profession knew what they were getting into. To complain now, and expect working taxpayers to fund unearned pay raises (see 180 days worked) is ridiculous. I’m not talking about everybody in teaching, but by and large it is the most simple degree to obtain. There are certainly those who love it and would do it for nothing. However, there are plenty who are in teaching because this was their only option in college. This should not be the case…
and pay teachers as though we cared about the job they do,.
We all know the farmer scenario. The more important question is why is there a summer break now? Hmmm…. The answer is teacher’s unions. Try getting the unions to accept longer hours or increased workdays! Ha! Ha! Ha! This is not about the children. It is all about the teachers. Summer vacations, or at the very least…the average 180-day work schedule is safe as can be. Unions will never go for more without elaborate compensations! I understand there will be fervent pro-union disagreement with my views. I'm used to it! :-) I'm giving up trade secrets here... To anybody who thinks unions cannot cause a lot of damage to well-intentioned ideals...see airlines and Detroit for exhibit A! Education has every bit the strength in union power! I admit that I’m part of the problem. I love my vacation time! I could make more money as a therapist working nursing home duty…but then I would have to work! I support my teacher’s union 100% when they protect my weak work schedule. I don’t want 8 hours a day, and I don’t want 4 weeks vacation per year. I want 180 days worked… If they cave in and expect me/us to work more…watch out!
Why is there even a long summer break to begin with?
…I’ve got more to upset some of you…but this should do for now! :-)
P.S. I honestly believe that summer is good for kids! I've no data to back it. I just think summer vacations, fishing with the parents, baseball games, etc are a good thing that cannot be measured in school test scores! From this perspective I support the legislation. Of course...it does not hurt that this type of legislation assures the continuation of my 180 days... :-)
A couple of points...
At least one local district (I forget which) was playing with the idea of going to a 4-day week with longer days in order to cut costs, but to do that they would have to get the +approval of the appropriate legislative boards or whatever. That's the whole reason I brought up the contact hours bit.
I agree, it makes a whole lot of sense to split the year with the Christmas holiday (after all, that's what we do...) but it doesn't match the somewhat pathalogical requirement for four quarters in the academic year. At my school, we do it in a somewhat more logical fashion: the fall semester this year was 17 weeks, the spring semester is 15 weeks, and we don't have to count class days...that State mandate doesn't apply to Universities. Anyway, if you're willing to be a little bit flexible with the class scheduling, my schedule offers 83 days before Christmas and 97 days after. So if you make each quarter run for 45 days, the second quarter ends after the first week back from break. Even better would be to make the quarters run 40, 43, 50, and 47 days, then there is a break right at the Christmas holiday, and it would be possible to put a break in late March, which would make more sense than waiting until the Easter holiday (our "Spring" break was last week...). The point is, it isn't necessary to start early in order to get the semester over in time for Christmas. It IS necessary to make the appropriate adjustments in the class plan to make it work.
As for the President's day and Martin Luther King day holidays...I didn't include them because they aren't necessary. Never in my academic career did I ever get the day off for Columbus Day, Veterans Day, Groundhog Day, Valentine's Day, President's Day, St. Patrick's Day, or any other national or local holiday. I never understood why we got the day off for Martin Luther King Jr's birthday, which was NOT a Federal holiday, but not for George Washington or Abraham Lincoln, whose birthdays WERE Federal holidays. Once King got his holiday, I felt vindicated when I got to college and we didn't take off either of those days. If you're not going to take the one, then why take the other? And given that one happens in January, the other in February, and odds are the weather will be miserable for both, I'd rather be in school so that I can have more time off in the summer!
--Dave Althoff, Jr.
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