Save Indiana Summers – seriously?

by kevin on February 3, 2010

The Indiana “Save Our Summers” initiative passed the Senate today.  Our only hope is that our House of Representatives is not as stupid.  The Senate Bill (SB150) mandates that local school boards may not set a school start date before Labor day nor end after June 10 of the following year.  Basically, guaranteeing an extended summer.

The first issue I have with this bill is that it mandates to the local school boards how to set their calendars.  They must still have 180 days each school year.  Take this year for example.  The school year here started on Aug 12.  That is three weeks before this new start date.  The year ends May 27.  Based on this new law, we need to make up 3 full weeks due to early start date.  We can shift 2 weeks to the end of the year – that would put us at June 10.  We would still have to make up another week somewhere – guess they will take away fall break and/or spring break to make up this difference.  That’s a horrible idea.

I am a firm believer that we need MORE classroom time without long breaks.  Let’s add days to the calendar.  Let’s have shorter more frequent breaks.  “Traditional” classroom calendars were designed in the pre-globilization area.  Now, our children have to compete with others in different countries for the same jobs.  Maybe it is time to try something new to advance our children’s education.  Year long calendars are an option.

There are a host of benefits that the proponents point to.  One is “we will save money because we don’t have to cool the schools during the hottest month of the year”.  Um, ok?  I didn’t have A/C in my school.  (But now I sound like my father.)  How about we have a semester break and take the month of January off?  Then as a trade we don’t heat the school during the coldest month of the year.

There have to be better options to further our children’s education than to mandate that summer breaks be longer.  Is that really the best idea?  Kids don’t read during the summer months.  Kid’s don’t study algebra or work on their writing skills.  Give kids the help they need let the local school boards determine how to give that to them.

With all the budget problems our state is having, this is what the state government has decided is most important to waste their session on?  If you are an Indiana resident, I urge you to contact your State Rep and stop this madness before we don’t have a choice.

I grew up with a father who was on a local school board for many years and understand certain issues pressed on those organizations.

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