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The Never-Ending School Year

Teresa M. Pelham

Mommy Minute

12:48 PM EST, February 19, 2013

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Because I don’t have a seat on our town’s Board of Education and I’ve never spent hours trying to decipher school budgets I feel kind of funny asking this, but …

Why is our school calendar such a mess?

This summer will be the shortest summer vacation we could possibly have, I’ve been told. Trying to come up with a free week our family can go to the beach is almost impossible, since my dudes will finish their school year just a week before the Fourth of July and will go back to school a week before Labor Day.

Yes, we’ve had a few snow days, but we had snow days when I was a kid, when summer vacation seemed to stretch on forever.

Because we’ve decided to acknowledge the fact that not all people celebrate Christian holidays, many schools now have kids stay home on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Cool. But we’re still giving them days off for Good Friday. Now our school calendar never seems to end. I think the real culprit is the addition of days off without the subtraction of others.

Public school children still have to go to school 180 days. That’s a given. But can we ditch a few random holidays? Like Columbus Day, for example? And many of us would prefer to see our kids learn about civil rights in school than take a day off for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

I have friends on both sides of the February vacation debate. My “winter fun” friends can’t wait for the February break so they can make use of their families’ season lift tickets and get their kids outside in the fresh air. My friends who would rather hibernate through January and February just want to send their kids to school and stay inside as much as possible.

So what’s the solution?