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Balanced Calendars: Beneficial or Not?

  • By Brian Thomas
  • April 6th, 2012 6:04 am

My children will be on a new calendar next year.  They will begin on August 2nd, have a two week fall break from October 8-19th, a winter break from December 24th – January 4th, spring break from March 18th-29th, and get out of school on May 30th.  This is commonly called a “balanced calendar” in education circles.  As the school was going through the procedure to adopt this calendar, public meetings were crammed (unlike most others sadly).  There were many emotionally charged moments where supporters or opponents of the calendar voiced their opinions on the merits of this calendar.  Based on my research, this is happening all over the country…perhaps even in your district.

Which school calendar do you support? Why?

The arguments made for a balanced calendar argument sound compelling.  It’s silly to follow an agrarian calendar when most kids don’t harvest anymore.  There is so much time off in the summer, students “lose” some of what they learn and need to review at the beginning of the year.  Other countries have followed a year-round calendar and perform better on standardized tests than do students from the United States.  Is the research of balanced calendars strong enough to overcome any fiscal or family challenges?

The arguments made against the balanced calendar are also compelling.  Child care opportunities might be limited in two-week segments for fall, spring breaks for working parents.  Some schools might not be physically equipped with A/C to deal with summer heat.  Maintenance of the schools would be more challenging as large projects were usually completed during the long summer break.  Secondary effects would be felt for traditional summer programs like camps.  It seems most of these arguments are fiscal and convenience factors. Are they just as important as any educational benefit (if there are any) of a balanced calendar?

I would love to hear your thoughts.  You get extra kudos from us if you can share a link to support your view.  As with any forum, let’s keep an open, civil dialogue as we learn from each other.

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

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