Back to School - Sooner is Better (8/19/08)
I've heard a lot of complaints about school schedules that have students returning from summer vacation before mid-August. People say it's too hot, it disrupts their vacation schedule, kids need more time to relax, and so on.
But I think the current set-up is much better than the old days when most of us didn't get back to the classroom until after Labor Day.
Why? Because education - especially in the early years - depends upon learning things, retaining that knowledge and then building on it to reach the next level. And those long three-month summer vacations of my youth tended to put a real dent in the "retention" part. When fourth-grade teachers have to spend weeks just getting their class back to where they were at the end of third grade, it's tough to make progress.
Air conditioning has made the "It's too hot" argument irrelevant. There are still plenty of "mini-vacations" peppered throughout the school year to give students the down time they need. And as for family vacations, two months should provide a large enough window for anyone who plans ahead.
Education should be every family's number one priority when it comes to their children -- not a nuisance to be worked into every other schedule. And if going back to school a few weeks earlier helps our children learn more and learn it better, I'm all for it.
But what do you think? Call and let us know.
I'm Bill Lamb, and that's my...Point of View.