School Summer Vacations

(pdf versio Summer Vacations)

A generally accepted reason or excuse for school summer vacation is that it is necessary because farmers need children to assist with harvests. That combined with Daylight Savings occurring around the school year seemed to seal the deal in most minds. We like easy answers.

Consider this: during the 1800's when a majority of Americans were farmers, school was held year-round. Plus, farmers plant crops in the spring and harvest in the fall, when school begins... So where's the logic?

Turns out upper and middle class citizens love to take summer vacations during hot months to live and play in cooler climates. Meanwhile, middle and lower middle class people and impoverished can't afford to take expensive vacations, much less send kiddies off to summer camp. Working class designs also can't afford to take time off from work to provide supervision for their children.

This results in latch-key situations where children are free to come and go without adult supervision, and pre-teen boredom, inactivity and isolation, which results in idle hands..and as the saying goes, idle hands are the Devil's workshop. Mischief and mayhem to follow.

Give these serious table topics questions a good mull.

Facts about Summer Vacation:

  • Summer Vacation can be a real financial hardship for the majority of parents with children in public school.
  • American Summer Vacation or break is 2.5 months long - about 11 weeks. For children of low-income families, summer vacation can be a season of boredom, inactivity and isolation. Educators have documented that low-income kids lose a significant amount of what they learn during the school year.
  • Asian cultures school their students for 240 to 250 days while American students receive 180 days of schooling per year.
  • 19th century and early 20th century school-of-thought regarded the brain as a muscle. Too much work and strain on the brain could result in injury.
  • Public schools survive off tax funds and require an average of $60 per day to educate one child. If America changed from its current 180-day education system to a 240-day system it would add $3,785 to the cost of educating one child ($10,615 per year vs $14,400 ).
  • Investment funds with specific withdrawal terms such as Santa Saver allow people to save through the year for Christmas expenses.

Table Topic Questions:

  1. In terms of PC income inequality, does the 2.5 month break provide a luxury for the "haves" and a punishment for the "have-nots?"
  2. Would it be more effective to spread out the nearly 3 month vacation into several 2 week mini-breaks throughout the year to cure "Summer Learning Loss."?
  3. Should this divide in education be considered a national crisis?
  4. Have you ever suffered a brain injury from too much learning?
  5. Should wealthy and upper class families pay subsidies (approx $3,785 extra) to the school to hold their children's place vacant if they choose to vacation for the hot summer season?
  6. Would investment funds for Summer Vacation help middle and lower income people?


By Pat Kelley March 4 2018

References (Wikipedia and such) are in my notes, I'll post here when I can gather them all up properly