It´s the month when the summer nights have a consistent, delicious crispness to them unknown at any other time of the year. It´s when the corn is sweet, the plums are purple and pungent, the baseball pennant races are mature, the ocean temperatures are warm. It is the very best month of the year. And we have ruined it. Not so long ago—well within the memory of half the American population—August was the vacation month. It was a time, much anticipated and much appreciated, of leisure, languor, lassitude and lingering at the beach well into suppertime. Unlike July, it had
Comments: This has been my complaint for years. In the upper Midwest, summer doesn´t get going until July 1. Why the rush back to school? What is driving this? Time off in March is just not the same.
The schools in our area rarely go more than 2 weeks without a day off for some reason. Then there is a full week off for Thanksgiving and 2 weeks off for ´KwanzaaFest´. The excessive number of days off means the schools must start earlier and earlier each year, ruining August as a long and lazy final month of summer.
The kids here in South Mississippi started back around 4 August. Next year though I think they will start back closer to Labor Day, like it used to be. My sweet little Wife, who is a public school librarian, opened the school library one day a week through the Summer Vacation so the kids would have access to reading materials.
The teacher´s unions and the educational establishment killed August.
With unyielding 180-day or 200-day contracts, the teachers wanted enough off days (in-service, etc.) along with all the student vacation breaks so the school year stretches from mid-August to mid-June.
Whereas snow days were once an acknowledgement that occasionally nature interferes with man´s plans, arcane government-school rules dictate that less than 75% attendance (or similar figure) on a given day means a reduction or even zero funding for the day in question. This is why superintendents become Chicken Little when they see a bit of snow falling. It has nothing to do with kids´ safety - only the cash. But to allow for these snow days the school year has eaten up even more of August.
But the plan can backfire. With the stipulated contract and an absence of snow schools had ´extra´ days and closed every Friday for the month of April! Madness. But it helps explain why Johnny can´t read!
Reply 5 - Posted by:
Bill Adams, 8/19/2013 12:04:38 AM (No. 9480353)
Much to agree with in this editorial, but what´s with this "crispness" of the August nights? Anywhere east of the Mississippi -- and in parts of the West too -- it´s muggy and humid, and you better learn to like it because it won´t get crisp until October.
Schools should be year round. The only reason for "summer vacation" was due to the heat of summer and the schools had no air conditioning! Even court rooms were closed. It is what the August recess of congress is for- too dmn hot to work. Sweatty arms and palms stain documents. But, now, with refrigerated forced air air conditioning, no problem. I live in Las Vegas- today we had 109. We stay inside, and when we have to go outside, we do it by jumping from one airconditioned environment to another- House, to car, to grocery store, to car, to house- Easy! Thank God and Willis Carrier for air conditioning!
What makes anyone confident that if school was in session all year that the kids would learn more. Right now there is so much hub bub on teaching methods, unending paperwork, politically correct brainwashing, standardized testing etc., that not a whole lot of real teaching gets done. Parents are either hovering over their children or totally uninterested. Discipline and respect is non-existent. Education has gone the way of big government. It is an wieldy behemoth that sucks the life out of everything it touches. Kids are statistics, and teachers have lost their calling to power hungry unions. Either public schools wake up or they will be a thing of the past. Home schooling and private schools are leading the way. If the Department of Education is not a prime example of bureaucratic tyranny, I don´t know what is. Get the federal government out of the public school system. And yes, school should start after Labor Day and end the last day of May. There should be a week off for Christmas and long weekend for Easter. Teachers and kids do not need a Spring Break. Yep, I am old. That´s when kids understood respect and discipline and teachers actually taught reading, writing and arithmetic. We couldn´t graduate without passing a class of both government and economics, and history was not politically correct. There really is something to say for the good old days.
It has long been a complaint of mine that, as soon as the 4th of July has passed, out come the ´Back to School´ sales and ads on TV. The kids have no time to be kids, and summer is pretty much ruined with this hanging over their heads. If I had my way, school wouldn´t start until after Labor Day, and the back-to-school ads couldn´t start until mid August.
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