School Summer vacation Europe

The War on Summer Vacation

...and some folks would make it even shorter.Students love summer vacation, but a lot of education reformers hate it. As Brigid Schulte pointed out in The Washington Post a while back,

Both President Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan have called the traditional school day and school year outdated and inadequate for the demands of 21st-century life. Students in countries that routinely outscore the United States on international tests go to school for as many as 230 days each year, 50 more than kids typically attend here. "Go ahead and boo me, " Duncan said in April [2009] to Denver students. "I think schools should be open six, seven days a week, eleven, twelve months a year."

Summer vacation is a holdover from the agricultural era, we're told - an anachronism that keeps our kids from competing with...you know. All those foreigners.

Daniel Luzer doesn't buy it. In an interesting piece for the Pacific Standard, he debunks several myths that have grown up around the annual summer break:

While we're sitting here roasting marshmallows, the Chinese are eating our lunch.* Summer vacation isn't a holdover from the agrarian days after all. Back then, schools had different schedules in different areas. The systematic summer break arrived in the early 20th century, part of the Progressive Era effort to standardize schooling. "If all students had more or less the same schedule, " Luzer explains, "it was easier to administer testing and sell standardized education materials like textbooks."

* Opponents of summer vacation like to point to students in Europe and Asia, arguing that their summertime schedules give them a leg up on American kids. (Here's Duncan again: "Our students today are competing against children in India and China. Those students are going to school 25 to 30 percent longer than we are.") But if you measure actual hours of instruction, Luzer notes, the difference disappears: "American students living in some of the most populous states - California, Florida, New York, Texas, and Massachusetts - spend about 900 hours a year in school. India requires 800 to 900 instructional hours per year, depending on the grade. China, too, provides about 900 hours of instruction per year." In Finland, whose students perform famously well, the total is just 608 hours per year - a sign that perhaps there is more to learning than the amount of time spent in a classroom.

* When American schools have shifted to year-round instruction, parents have complained. School may be useful as a babysitter, but too much school gets in the way of vacations and other items on a family schedule. Most public schools that jettison the summer break eventually reinstate it, Luzer writes. When Los Angeles, "which had adopted year-round school in the late '80s, gave schools the option of returning to a traditional schedule, 543 of its 544 schools chose to do so."

Burning! older brother (15) summer vacation! seaside school series (Jump Comics) (1991) ISBN: 4088710150 [Japanese Import]
Book (Shueisha)

Taking kids out of school for vacation -

by --

I am taking my kids to Europe next year for spring break plus about two weeks. They will miss 12 days of school (2nd & 3rd graders).
Have any of you with school age/ older kids taken your kids out of school for long vacations? I cannot reschedule it for the summer, because the family member we are visiting will not be there any longer (military - Europe tour ends in June).
They will be considered truant. I guess we could try to do independent study, but I don't realistically see us spending a lot of time on schoolwork when there are castles and museums to see and other educational things to do.

Wizz Air from Skopje to 14 European destinations  — MINA
Wizz Air from Skopje to 14 European destinations. Thursday, 08 May 2014.

Forgotten Books St Andrew's College Review, Christmas 1914 (Classic Reprint)
Book (Forgotten Books)
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