Shortening Summer Vacation

summerKnow how to shut down an unruly kid in record time?

Tell him that his school is shortening summer vacation.

I’ve never seen a mouthy child go silent as quickly as I did last week while watching the evening news at our neighbor’s house.  Education leaders recently began serious talks about lengthening the academic year here.

Of course, all my neighbor’s rowdy kid heard was:  “Next year, public school kids across the state could be dealing with a much shorter summer vacation.”

The news reporter’s last three words nearly triggered an aneurysm in my neighbor’s kid.

My child attends parochial school and wouldn’t be affected by changes made to the public school calendar; however, I can certainly see why some parents (and students) would be opposed to the proposal.

A traditional 12-week summer break allows kids to take advantage of the nice weather and various outdoor recreational opportunities.  In addition, having three months off of school rather than three weeks during the summer, gives families added flexibility to travel.

Conversely, advocates of longer school days or years say shortening vacation time is beneficial for financially strapped families.  Parents, who don’t have the luxury of being home when their kids are, must fill the gaps with day care, sitters, camps or other pricey programs for multiple months during the summer.

Proponents of longer academic years also argue that too much knowledge is lost when kids are out of the classroom for three months during the summer.  However, there isn’t a lot of credible evidence to support this argument; which brings us back to the question of whether or not kids would benefit from a shorter summer break.

What do you think?  How would you react if your children’s school decided to extend the academic year?  Would you miss the long summer break as much as they would?


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Michele Cheplic

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.