Today marks another snow day for the local school districts in my Upstate NY area. The amount of delayed openings, early closures, and snow days seems to always be the topic of discussion in our area during the winter. How many days does the district have this year? In some districts, how many hours do they have? Some years we use them all and some years we don’t. Many times we use more than are allotted and spring breaks have to be shortened to get in the required amount of class days, which varies between 170 to 182 days depending on what state you are in.
There are many things that have been brought up regarding revamping our public educational system. With being ranked nowhere near the top on a worldwide scale, it’s no wonder a lot of ideas get thrown out there. We’ve revamped curriculums, changed standards for certified teachers, and introduced new classes. During the winter months, one cannot help but wonder if the school calendar itself also needs a revamp. What if there was a longer winter break, say lasting from Christmas break until February, and a shorter summer break to make up for the lost month? I know that is not a popular idea, since everyone wants long summer breaks, but if education is a real priority then this is worth a look as well. There are other countries, those that are ranked closer to the top of worldwide charts, that have longer a school year. Others have shorter breaks scattered throughout their calendars.
A longer winter break and a shorter summer break will not be popular. Teachers and staff will most likely not support this. The teacher’s union will absolutely not support this. Parents and students would have to adjust, but in the end, could it be worth it? What do you think?