Summer started on June 21, 2010, that is the date of summer solstice and the next season begins with the fall equinox on September 22, which marks the beginning of fall. This means that pretty soon the local schools will start their school year during the summer. In other states the official date to go back to school is Labor Day or around that time which is towards the end of the summer.
Schools have been telling us there is a need to shorten vacation time since during that time children tend to forget academic content, and the beginning of the year is spent reviewing the previous year’s content.
The argument is that children need more than the 180 days calendar, especially now when comparisons to schools systems worldwide show that in other countries there are more school days. Also the charts show that schools elsewhere are improving academically while the United States rating is going down.
One thing must be clarified though; the downward trend is not the fault of the teachers. Nowadays teachers are not only in charge of the academic instructions in schools. But also they have become important surrogate parents, part time social workers, community advocates and much more. Teachers are also always aware of what is going on the community they serve and most do care about it.
It is known that many teachers pay for materials needed out of their own pocket. Also in times of need like in 2009 they pulled together resources to send food home with children and made sure they would not be without food during the weekend.
Vacation time both for students and teachers is a time to replenish their energy, encounter new things and bring a fresh look to the new school year.
Most teachers spend part of their vacation taking courses to improve their skills or update their teaching licenses, or they do educational traveling to come back to class with new perspectives.
If a country stops investing in education the consequences of this will appear not only now but also in the future. Teaching is not assembly line work. Teachers and educational professionals need time to reflect and make others reflect in order to analyze their surroundings and make favorable changes and good decisions.
Nevertheless confronting massive budget deficits, schools districts throughout the country have laid off thousands of teachers, librarians, and support people that instruct and care for the children.
According to past news pink slips were sent out to 22,000 teachers in California, 17,000 in Illinois, and 15,000 in New York. The jobs of 8,000 school employees in Michigan, 6,000 in New Jersey, and 5,000 in Oklahoma were terminated. The same devastating scenario is taking place in large and small communities around the country. In addition to this, school buildings are being shut, bus service reduced or cancelled, and educational and extracurricular programs ended. We have been printing some of these kinds of happenings for our local schools.
It should be noted that the bail out of Wall Street handed out trillions of dollar and it has not shown a big impact on unemployment. Meanwhile teachers who have very important functions in society and affect all parts of society, are been affected by the administration cuts.
We cannot continue to bend the general welfare to satisfy big profits. There has to be a review of the accomplishments and purpose of education, and also the integral health of all members of society.
The return to classes as ‘business as usual’, is not fair to the teachers, the community in general and above all the children.
Will there be many happy faces going back to school? You be the judge.
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