Ohio bill limits school year to fall between holiday weekends, to boost tourism

Posted Thursday, April 28, 2011 12:13 PM | Contributed by Jeff

One lawmaker wants to change Ohio's school year so the state's amusement parks, resorts and tourist attractions can flourish from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

Read more from The Zanesville Times Recorder.

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Thursday, April 28, 2011 1:14 PM

All I can say is something along the lines of "What a dumb idea" If anything, from an educational standpoint, we need a longer school year, not a shorter one... And 1060 hours. If you think about it, that is about 30 weeks of material if we use a 35 hour educational week (think of school starting at 7:30 and going to 2:30)...

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Thursday, April 28, 2011 1:27 PM

Except that this has nothing to do with the length of the school year in an instructional sense, only in terms of the calendar dates. Which is really starting to become a problem: in some districts, students are in class from the first week of August until the last week of June...and yet they are still only in class for 180 days, as required by law. And yet one of the things I remember from my own educational experience is that while we typically attended classes from the Wednesday before Labor Day until the second week of June, time spent in class before Labor Day and after Memorial Day was really not very useful or effective. Particularly in high school, where the building was not air conditioned.

I'm not sure that brick-wall limits on Memorial Day and Labor Day are a good idea, especially since both of those holidays can shift by as much as a week. But with the creep of the school year, I think it would be a good idea to put some limits on how much of the months of June and August can be confiscated from the summer. I also like the idea of basing the school year on the number of hours instead of the number of days attended, as I think it is a more meaningful measure of the school year. (Instructional hours would be even better, but there is absolutely no way that is going to fly...)

--Dave Althoff, Jr.


    /X\        _      *** Respect rides. They do not respect you. ***
/XXX\ /X\ /X\_ _ /X\__ _ _ _____
/XXXXX\ /XXX\ /XXXX\_ /X\ /XXXXX\ /X\ /X\ /XXXXX
_/XXXXXXX\__/XXXXX\/XXXXXXXX\_/XXX\_/XXXXXXX\__/XXX\_/XXX\_/\_/XXXXXX

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Thursday, April 28, 2011 2:13 PM
Jeff's avatar

It seems like most districts break up the year with too many breaks. The net classroom time hasn't changed much (if at all), but I'm astounded at how frequently the kids are off. I agree with Dave that short class times between breaks end up being total throw-aways, particularly if you started just before Labor Day. We always started the Wednesday before, which meant that those three days were basically wasted.


Jeff - Webmaster/Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Twitter - Video

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Thursday, April 28, 2011 3:12 PM
Jerry's avatar

My sister is an educator - and says pretty much the same thing - it needs to be based on classroom hours, not days. She specializes in Autism/Special Ed - and can not get the kids refocused with so many breaks.

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Thursday, April 28, 2011 3:18 PM

My sister is an educator - and says pretty much the same thing - it needs to be based on classroom hours, not days.

Not (entirely) true. The psychology/learning literature has several results along the lines of: two hours each day over three days is more effective than six hours in one day. This is called the "spacing effect".

But with the creep of the school year, I think it would be a good idea to put some limits on how much of the months of June and August can be confiscated from the summer.

Other than the problem of buildings without AC (which *is* a problem), I don't see any pedagogical reason why summer should be "special."


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Thursday, April 28, 2011 3:30 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

Brian Noble said:
Other than the problem of buildings without AC (which *is* a problem), I don't see any pedagogical reason why summer should be "special."

Because we need the extra hands to tend the farm!

Oh wait...

Tradition...or something.

Semi-related:

At what point do we max the ability to learn? And how much is it worth to go that far or where do you draw the line?

Taking something to the Nth degree is not always a good thing. I mean we could farm our kids like cattle and cram them full of them there smarts, but at what cost. When do we reach the point where someone says, the kids just can't go to school any more? Where is the terminal velocity for learning?


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Thursday, April 28, 2011 3:47 PM
ApolloAndy's avatar

Well, China and India haven't seemed to have hit them yet. (Well, at least haven't hit them for the top 10% or whoever ends up staying in school and not going to work on the farm.)


Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."

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Thursday, April 28, 2011 4:00 PM
Jeff's avatar

There's clearly plenty of room in the US. If it was there, we wouldn't hire so many H1-B's and new immigrants as we do at work.


Jeff - Webmaster/Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Twitter - Video

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Thursday, April 28, 2011 4:10 PM

I think this type of decision would be best of rooted in whatever is best for the education of kids (no black and white answer I am sure) rather than on increasing tourism revenues in the state. But I suspect if they don't have to work any more hours, teachers will be for it. And if the changes don't cut into sports time/seasons, parents will be fine as well.

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Thursday, April 28, 2011 4:28 PM

This has been the law in Michigan for some time now and IMO it is a very good one.

While the "work on the farm" logic doesn't work as it used to, in rural areas like I am from ,we did in fact go work on the farm.


-Brent Kneebush

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Thursday, April 28, 2011 4:41 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

ApolloAndy said:
Well, China and India haven't seemed to have hit them yet. (Well, at least haven't hit them for the top 10% or whoever ends up staying in school and not going to work on the farm.)

Jeff said:
There's clearly plenty of room in the US. If it was there, we wouldn't hire so many H1-B's and new immigrants as we do at work.

Well, my question was meant to be a bit rhetorical. Obviously the terminal velocity point is when every waking moment is spent learning. Perhaps I'm painting with too subtle of a stroke again?

Right now my kids go to school for about 7 hours a day for 180 days each year. That's 1260 hours.

So what if we bump that to 210 days. And then to 8 hours a day. And then to 230 days and 9 hours. And then sometime down the road it goes to 250 and 10 hours.

Couple of questions (for me, at least):

At what point do kids fail to absorb any more?

I doubt there is that point to be entirely honest, but it still doesn't mean you go there. I often laugh that 30 years ago, I was put in the gifted program because I read well going into kindergarten and now kids are behind if they don't read going into kindergarten. I try to extrapolate that and wonder if we reach a point where kids should be fluent in two languages and have a grasp on basic algebra to be considered 'ready' for kindergarten. I mean there has to be a breaking point.

Secondly, is learning the most important pursuit?

That sounds awful, but is that what life is? Constant training to be as productive as possible. It gets into creepy futuristic movie scenario territory. It goes back to the idea of how far you take it. Technically we could put our kids in school 24 hours a day 7 days a week where they grow under the constant supervision of educators, but I hope it never even gets close to that.

There has to be a point where you push it as far as is reasonable. The article talks about that 960-1,050 hour range for students. If this isn't enough (and you guys seem to be saying it isn't) then what is? 2000 hours? 3000 hours? 4000 hours? There has to be middle ground and there has to be a point where you've spent enough time learning.

This article talks about 1000 hours a year. If you sleep 8 hours a day you have 5840 waking hours per year. What's the number between 0 and 5840 that makes the most sense?

At what point is it enough?

I don't know what my point is. I think somewhere deep down inside I don't like the idea of shoving kids into schooling much longer than they already are. Perhaps more efficient schooling? Is the system broken in some other way? Just because other countries push children into more schooling, does that make it right or necessary for us to as well? I just don't like the idea of throwing more hours at it as a solution.


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Thursday, April 28, 2011 4:48 PM
OhioStater's avatar

To somewhat echo GoBucks89, politicians are not qualified to make these types of decisions. That said, the education system, as a whole, has a long history of making sweeping changes with no research to back up their efficacy, so I would not be surprised by anything.

School districts have already begun using "hours" and not days to make up for calamity days...this is nothing new. Many school districts in my area (Stark County, OH) are adding 15 minutes to the beginning and end of days to make up for lost ones.

Then comes the stupidity. The same school that is starting 15 minutes early every day to make up for a calamity day still had Monday off for "easter break".

I agree...boosting "tourism" is not a good foundation for making decisions about what our schools are doing.

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Thursday, April 28, 2011 4:52 PM
OhioStater's avatar

At what point do kids fail to absorb any more?

To answer part of your question, there is longtiudinal data that shows year round school leads to no "gains" whatsoever. Of course, that hasn't stopped some districts from implementing it.

Think of it this way. There are good schools, and there are bad schools...there are effective classrooms, and non-effective classrooms. I think it is more an issue of quality vs. quantity. I would much rather have my daughter in effective classrooms for a short period of time than year round in a mediocre environment.

Last edited by OhioStater, Thursday, April 28, 2011 4:53 PM
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Thursday, April 28, 2011 4:53 PM
Carrie M.'s avatar

Actually I find it fascinating that we still measure the value of education in time rather than outcomes. Our attempt at assessing outcomes at all has been sketchy at best.

But if there is a valuable measurement of outcomes going on, why do we care how long it takes to reach them, so long as they are reached?

(That actually takes Gonch's head-spinning debate into another aspect in terms of how much outcome is enough outcome? And should all outcomes be created equal for all?)


"If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins." --- Benjamin Franklin

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Thursday, April 28, 2011 4:54 PM
LostKause's avatar

Bravo, Gonch. I tend to believe that some kids are bored with school, and that teachers assign way to much homework. Creatively make learning interesting enough to keep student's attention, and assign just enough homework to remind them of what they have learned earlier in the day, and the education problem just might be completely solved.

Here in WV (really close to OH), people have been saying that because of poor road conditions during wintery weather and the difficulty it causes transporting children to and from school, kids should have their summer break in the winter instead, and go to school throughout the entire summer. I find that to be way too radical.


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Thursday, April 28, 2011 4:54 PM
eightdotthree's avatar

I just think it's sad that this change is not to improve their education, but to get them out spending money.


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Thursday, April 28, 2011 4:54 PM

I totally agree with this bill and if you need ten minute longer days and less in service days to do it. WAY TO GO! I think its total BS that kids have to go from the third week of August to the third week of June meanwhile the school is closed 6 school days a month for In Service or what not. Even parent teacher conferences. When I was young, Those were held after school hours or worked into the two plus hours a day the Teacher didn't hold classes (Grade School) while the kids were at Music or PE class..

Also It gives teachers more time off during the summer to increase their education.

I say either that or have 9 year round years like Japan does.

Last edited by Charles Nungester, Thursday, April 28, 2011 4:58 PM
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Thursday, April 28, 2011 5:02 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

Carrie M. said:
(That actually takes Gonch's head-spinning debate into another aspect in terms of how much outcome is enough outcome? And should all outcomes be created equal for all?)

Exactly!

Actually I find it fascinating that we still measure the value of education in time rather than outcomes. Our attempt at assessing outcomes at all has been sketchy at best.

I'm about to have some first hand experience with this.

State achivement tests are next week. My son is in 3rd grade. In the fall achievement test they took, he slipped into the 'limited' range by a handful of points on his reading test (I have reasons I suspect for why he scored this way, but it's neither here nor there).

Next week, they take the Spring test and any kid who scores in the limited or basic range has to do a two-week summer reading intervention to be promoted to 4th grade.

I'm concerned that he'll fall just below that line again.

So what's the issue?

The two A's and 1 B he has gotten on his report card in reading so far this year.

How can a kid get A's and B's on a their report card but need intervention to be promoted to the next grade?

Something is broken there.

Last edited by Lord Gonchar, Thursday, April 28, 2011 5:08 PM
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Thursday, April 28, 2011 5:13 PM
OhioStater's avatar

Standardized testing and classroom performance often do not jive with one another.

Always two there are. A test and a teacher. But who is broken...the test....or the teacher....

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