Thursday, May 17, 2012

School Days

For those with kids, you know that the end is in sight.  Sweet Pea is finishing her first year of middle school by exempting all of her exams (which means her last school day is tomorrow - however, it hardly counts since she's going on a field trip to a nearby theme park).  Baby Girl has field day and parties and fun stuff planned for the next week.  Neither of them have done much of anything ever since they finished standardized testing and got back from Spring Break.  And really, I'm fine with that. 

What I'm not okay with is the new law our state just passed setting parameters for when our schools must open and close for the year.  All of our school systems already had their 2012-2013 calendars in place.  They're now having to all go back and adjust them.  Under the new law our school system has to move the first day of school from Aug 9th to Aug 20th without the ability to adjust the end date. 

What this means for my kids?  They're losing a huge chunk of days off through the middle of the year.  Our school system hasn't published their adjusted calendar yet, but several systems around us have.  Weather days (admittedly we didn't use them last year, but we used more than our allotted 3 the year before and had to extend the school year) are gone.  Thanksgiving and Christmas break are shortened.  Fall break is gone all together.  A couple of minor federal holidays will now be lost.  And there's even the possibility that our week of spring break might because a long weekend.

I'm not thrilled.  And neither are most of the teachers that I know.  The state did it to extend the summer and hopefully increase tourist revenue.  The problem is they've taken our ability to travel at other times of the year away.  

And making a full circle, they're forcing my 11 year old to make some really tough decisions.  In order to exempt her exams she had to make an A  and not have missed more than 3 days in that class. She had the most trouble with the classes at the end of the day since she was checked out a couple times for dentist/doctor appointments.  Several times, when she didn't feel wonderful but wasn't sick enough to go to the doctor (a headache or a little cold) she had to make the very mature decision that going to school was the best choice.  Our family worked around her school schedule when planning our vacations so that our plans wouldn't force her into taking exams if she didn't want to.  Next year we're not going to be able to do that.  I'd already scheduled a trip and there's just no way I can rearrange it - because there isn't a good time to go now!  Sometimes summer just isn't the best time to travel. 

I won't even get into the argument that taking breaks away from the kids will be detrimental to their ability to concentrate and retain the data being taught to them. 

I don't know many people who are happy about these changes.  What do y'all think? 



Maven Linda said...

The schedule they've set is pretty much the schedule that was used when I went to school, lo those many years ago. We got two days off for Thanksgiving, and two weeks for Christmas, plus one week for spring break. Other than Labor Day, that was it. We weren't off for Easter, or President's Day, or anything else. There was no such thing as a weather day. But our summer breaks were longer, which was great, and as far as I can tell I didn't turn into a big dummy over the summer. It'll work out, once you have a chance to deal with your scheduling.

Jean Hovey said...

While I am sympathetic to having to make change--we all know how I hate change--they are reverting back to how things "used to be".

I think this gives kids a more realistic view of what to expect when working in the real world.

Playground Monitor said...

I never had a fall or spring break. We started school around Labor Day and got out the end of May. I have to agree with Jean -- this will let kids know they don't get a week off from work to head to Panama City.

The change will be... well, a change. But you'll get used to it.

Anonymous said...

I don't remember having that many days off when I was in school. We started in late August. Got Labor Day, 2 days for Thanksgiving, 2 weeks for Christmas, Spring Break, Memorial Day and got out some time after the beginning of June. No fall break. No MLK day. I think we might've gotten Nevada Statehood off.

I remember thinking when I moved here - what do parents that can't afford to take off when their kids are out of school supposed to do? My mom couldn't have taken 4 weeks off with me and couldn't have afforded day care. I would've ended up home alone, like I was during the summer. Not all kids can be trusted to be left alone like that, though.

PM's Mother said...

The solution to this is year-round school which has successfully worked in many areas (Raleigh and Wake county NC for instance.) This not only keeps the continuity of education, it maintains constant employment for school personnel.

Angel said...

I'm not really happy about it either. That fall break was the only time we ever got to go anywhere. And I hate to say this, but we won't be getting 2 weeks for Christmas. We get only 8 days, which seems extra long because they start it on a Friday, but really isn't. And no weather days? Have they seen the weather in northern Alabama during a normal year? We're going to end up making up those days at the end of the year anyway.

Nope, not a big fan. I'd rather my kids have more holidays during the year than a longer summer. By the end of the summer they are bored and driving me crazy! :) One good thing, though, we won't have to come home from RWA National and have them ready to start school the next week!