School calendar: Why only 2 choices?

Tue, 07/17/2007 - 4:15pm
By: Letters to the ...

I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry when I saw the voting options for the start date of the 2008-2009 school year.

Go to and look for the apple in the middle of the page. We are all invited to participate in the survey. Whoop-de-doo!

Our options for a start date are completely ridiculous: Aug. 4 or Aug. 11. Who does this board think they are?

While the rest of the nation is enjoying weddings, family reunions, and shared vacations, Fayette County students have to rush home and start school.

For years, Fayette County families have been trying to tell our Board of Education we want our summers back, and for years our cries have fallen on deaf ears.

Let’s take a new survey, and this time give families some options they can actually live with, starting with a choice of Aug. 25 or Sept. 2.

Kim Learnard

Peachtree City, Ga.

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nuk's picture
Submitted by nuk on Mon, 08/06/2007 - 8:29am.

They only care about your opinion if it is one they agree with. They aren't going to have other dates as choices because they don't want you indicating that as your choice since they have no intention of implementing what the parents choose. IN other words, it's a useless survey.

When situations like this one or the out-of-county resident issue arises, the BOE tends towards the "we know what's best for you" philosophy and ignores the parents. They forget that they are elected and can be replaced. The only way to make them actually LISTEN is to vote them out of office and replace them with others who may get the message.

Submitted by stubbornbull84 on Mon, 08/06/2007 - 4:01am.

When I was in school, we had summer break, winter break, spring break, and the thanksgiving break. We didn't have these "mid winter breaks" or "fall breaks" or whatever their called. Personally I wanted year round school, I didn't like school, but the examples I've seen of how it would be set up look like I would have been able to learn better. I never saw the point of spring break. Why do you need a week long break that soon after a month off? I also do not see the point of a long winter and summer break. With winter break, we need that much time off, why? It's Georgia, it's not like it snows everyday, I wear shorts and a tee shirt in the middle of December and January for crying out loud. It can't be a religious thing. Public school is part of the government, seperation of church and state is still in order for the moment. Also considering that some years school would let out on Yule (pagan christmas), how many other non christian religious holidays do students attend school on? With both winter and summer breaks we don't need all that time off. It might be the intent to have kids outside and get some fresh air, it's not though. In winter it's "too cold" to go outside, try living in Indiana, walking to school in a foot of snow daily, oh and I still went outside and played. Nowadays unless there is a Xbox and a heater set up to make it 75 degrees most kids don't go outside. With Summer "it's too hot", it's Georgia if it were cold in summer we would be in an ice age. It takes the jaws of life to pull most kids these days outside, some kids act like they will die if they walk five minutes down the road during summer. If I didn't die when I walked 11 miles to PTC in July with no water, a five minute walk, or at least walking to the mailbox to get the mail will not kill people.

Submitted by dollaradayandfound on Mon, 08/06/2007 - 5:51am.

You have or had a hard life. I'm sorry. It must have permanently harmed you, it seems!
I'm not familiar with the "Yule, or Pagan," but I agree, we don't need it off from school.
No thanks, I don't wish to try living in Indiana, summer or winter!
There are two reasons for NOT starting school after Labor Day and dismissing school in Early June, as it should be:
One: The administrators don't want it that way.
Two: People with free flying tickets want to haul off and go every month at least! To heck with the rest.

Submitted by ihaveone on Thu, 07/19/2007 - 5:09pm.

We should not start until after Labor Day. The kids would do better if they weren't out so often after school starts. They go, they are out, then they go again, then they are out again. This is not for the kids, it is for the parents who want to take their WINTER SKI TRIPS. Read between the lines people and wake up.

Submitted by dollaradayandfound on Thu, 07/19/2007 - 6:15pm.

Well, it also provides administrators and teachers more vacation and one more month of pay!
School should start the first Tuesday after Labor Day, and end the last school day in May, three days for Christmas, and one day for other holidays needed. 90 days off.
Nine months is enough except for summer school.

Gump's picture
Submitted by Gump on Thu, 07/19/2007 - 6:44pm.

We get paid 12 months/year, regardless of how long the summer break is. Also, we get the same amount of days off regardless. Kids in this state are required to get 180 class days per year. That number doesn't change when we shorten the summer vacation--we just shuffle the no-school days around.

I would certainly enjoy the 3-month vacation, personally, but it really is about trying to improve the quality of education.
The real truth is simple--it's lies that are complicated.

Submitted by dollaradayandfound on Mon, 08/06/2007 - 6:03am.

Please explain your theory as to how so many school breaks make for a better quality education for the students.
I've heard "bored," I don't buy that. and a few other insignificant reasons; but I have a ton of reason why the Administration
and the instructors want it.
The school is about students, no one else. Parents may count a little, I suppose.

Submitted by wildcat on Mon, 08/06/2007 - 6:18am.

I guess you haven't figured out that education is a big money-making business. The people at the local level (especially those in the school building) have no power. It's our elected officials and their buddies that make all the decisions. It's the "experts" selling their ideas that decide which path the school systems will take. Consider Max Thompson, he's laughing all the way to the bank, don't you think? Someone, somewhere, has sold someone else the idea that gong to school all year, with breaks here and there, is the best way to educate kids. I'm sure that a team of experts was able to back this up with a page of statistics. I guess we'll find out, in a few years, if it works. Remember whole language? Ha! What a joke.

Submitted by ihaveone on Thu, 07/19/2007 - 6:26pm.

Gump disagrees, but I agree with you. I have lived in Georgia my entire lifetime (51 years) and we learned just fine starting after Labor Day and graduating the first of June. Oh well, I was just stating my opinion earlier and I do beg to differ about the Ski Trips, I know too many people that take these trips.

Gump's picture
Submitted by Gump on Thu, 07/19/2007 - 6:56pm.

Hey, you certainly have the right to your opinion. Smiling I'm just trying to be informative as to the educational system's motivations behind this change. I'm sure people DO take advantage of the long Winter break, but what's wrong with that? The main thing is what's best for our kids, but at least you get a vote on the matter.
The real truth is simple--it's lies that are complicated.

Gump's picture
Submitted by Gump on Thu, 07/19/2007 - 5:55pm.

This is not about winter ski trips. It's about education. Kids tend to brain-dump what they learned, over the summer vacation. The longer the summer vacation is, the more they brain-dump. I teach math, and the first month or so of each school year is spent trying to get the kids back to the point where they were at the end of the previous school year. Maybe it's not so bad in the other subject areas, I don't know. But if it was up to me, we would have a shorter summer vacation, with longer breaks during the school year. The kids would retain their learning better that way.

Think of it this way. When you take vacation time from your job, if you ever take longer than two weeks or so, it feels strange when you return, and you're a bit rusty at whatever you do. I'm speaking from my previous career here, but one time I took three weeks off, and when I returned, I was "off my rhythm" for a couple of days.

Right now, different school systems are addressing this problem in different ways, but I think you are going to see a continuing trend towards shorter summer vacations than what we used to have. There's a limit to how short they can get. For one thing, there needs to be enough time for summer school. However, I don't think you will ever again see any 3-month summer vacations. It hinders learning.
The real truth is simple--it's lies that are complicated.

nuk's picture
Submitted by nuk on Mon, 08/06/2007 - 8:23am.

:However, I don't think you will ever again see any 3-month summer
:vacations. It hinders learning.

I don't buy this for a second. Nor do I buy the very unproven theory that smaller class sizes somehow "improves" education. The theory also ignores the real-world work experience that a 3 month break makes possible. Real job experience as a teenager is more of an asset than the education system seems to realize. So much is made of the "no name-calling, no this, no that" instead of real skills that translate into success as an adult.

It's amazing that a system that once shuttled blacks off to the worst schools still produced a black literacy rate far above what today is the norm. That old system also graduated people from high school that had some semblance of grammar and spelling...they had the oral and written communication skills to hold a JOB. Yes, the parents and society as a whole are definite factors that are dragging down performance, but there are experiments in education that aren't working. The male teacher has become almost an endangered species also which is another factor in the decline.

There are too many successful people who went to crowded schools and had 3 month summer vacations to ignore, especially in comparison to what is being "produced" these days with the emphasis on reducing class sizes, adding extra breaks, and throwing money at problems instead of creating solutions. New math? A disaster. Switching away from phonic-based language skills? Another experiment in breaking what was not broken.

There is no doubt the the public education system in America is a big business and also attempts to be a political force also. Just like any other business-especially one that is solely taxpayer funded-it needs to be judged on results and accountable to its masters, which is the taxpayer. The results aren't good at all. The school schedule is one instance where the parents' wishes are directly ignored, which means it's up to the parents to start replacing board members with those who will be held accountable.

I sympathize with you Gump and wish you the best in an environment that is not conducive to having a lot of success. I just don't happen to agree with you or others on the "brain-dump" theory nor the impact of what is forgotten. The system is very broken and if not fixed pretty soon, the concept of public schooling may disappear.


Submitted by McDonoughDawg on Wed, 07/18/2007 - 8:00am.

But hey, it's just me, and my Son only has 3 more years to go.

TonyF's picture
Submitted by TonyF on Wed, 07/18/2007 - 7:50am.

interrupt my vacation for something so trivial as attempting to educate my kids? When will it all end? Next thing you know, they will expect me to work for a living. How will I be able to do that and keep my spa appointment?

"The memories of a man in his old age, are the deeds of a man in his prime.You shuffle in the gloom of the sick room,and talk to yourself as you die."
(R. Waters)

Submitted by wildcat on Wed, 07/18/2007 - 6:29am.

We should start after Labor Day and go through mid June. In Georgia, the kids have to go to school for 180 days and it makes sense to get the 1st 90 days and final exams done before Christmas break while the information is still there (in the kid's heads). I believe the number of required school days varies from state to state. I know that in Texas they have only 175 days (or did so a few years ago). Perhaps we could get the people in charge to lower it to 175? Does football play a factor in our school starting date? I'm not sure, but you could go online and research it.

Personally, I would love to have more time in the summer. I'm still working on my summer of 2005 do or die list. ha ha ha!!!

Submitted by PTCMomma on Tue, 07/17/2007 - 8:22pm.

Look around the country, and you will find many school systems starting in early to mid August. New England states seem to follow more traditional calendars.

Mom to 3 (and all of their friends, who love to hang out at my house-- LOVE THAT, almost always know where they are!!!)

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