Newspaper Article Archive of
The Kalona News
Kalona, Iowa

Newspaper Article Archive of
The Kalona News

June 29, 2017 Should Iowa get rid of school summer vacation?
Article Pages -- as published on the The Kalona News website.

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There was an editorial in The Gazette on Sunday about having a different length of a school year. There was no name with the story. They just called it a guest editorial and said it appeared on Bloomberg View. The author says a two month summer vacation is too long for students. They forget some of the facts they learned in the previous year and have to learn them again when they start school in the fall. He (or she) says in the article that there are approximately 3,000 schools in the United States that are now on extended years, or about 3 percent of the total in the United States.

His article says that long school years are not without problems. It would probably mess up family vacation plans, could complicate child care arrangements, reduce professional development opportunities for teachers (which right now I think are mandated in most, if not all, states) and last, but not least, would disrupt what the author referred to as the “$18 billion summer camp industry.”

Now, as far as family vacations are concerned, maybe families could get a chance to travel at different times of the year to places they normally might not go. I don’t know how you could adjust the child care problems. Teachers might be able to get some professional advancement classes and work something out. As far as the problems with camp, I had worked out a rough schedule that might cover everything and still get the kids to camp at least once.

I roughed out a schedule for the 2017-2018 school year. I started on August 21, a Monday. You could have your pre-school in service and paper work on the Thursday and Friday of the previous week. I had nine week quarters in my school year. After each nine week stretch there was going to be a two week break. There would be the usual Thanksgiving Day holiday and then I put in two full weeks at Christmas. The last day of class would be Friday, December 22 and school would resume on Monday, January 7, 2018. There would be two weeks left in January to finish off the second quarter and a two week vacation would take the students into February before they started back. I plugged in a three week break after that. The fourth quarter ran until the end of June. That left about six to eight weeks for the school to get building repairs done, if needed, the janitors could get all the floors polished and any painting jobs done, etc. The students would then have about seven weeks before the next school year started.

Of course, it might mess up athletic schedules, too, among other things. For sure there would probably be games being played when school would not be in session.

Of course, that would give them a sniff of what college might be like. I don’t know what the University of Iowa’s starting date is any more. I think they have kicked it up to about the first of September so students would be on campus to take in any fall sports they wanted to. There would be an absence of students in late December and early January, in between semesters. But I think most colleges and universities have that ‘problem’ now.

There are some higher education institutions who start late in September and with the fall sports schedules starting about the first they would have quite a few events before the students really hit the campus. If Iowa had been following the same football schedule in 1954 when I started there we would have played three or four football games and I have no idea how many volleyball and soccer games. Of course, they didn’t have volleyball and soccer at that time.

I suppose the length of the school year was originally set because the United States was an agricultural nation, like the rest of the world, and the boys who were old enough were needed at home to help with farm work and girls of that age probably were helping tend the garden and picking fruits and vegetables and helping with the canning. You had to can it then. There was no electricity to run freezers in the early days. The cities began getting electricity in the late 1800’s and farms pretty much were out of luck until the 1930’s or, as I’ve said before, because of World War II, 1947. Even after that the only freezer we had was what was part of the refrigerator so Mom still canned everything.

Now for the Thought For The Week. It comes from Wayne Dyer. It is: “When doubt is banished, abundance flourishes.”

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