Back to School in Your Neighborhood
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August 24, 2009 By: Cheryl Oakes
I was doing a little research for my back to school post at TechLearning
Blog. I read through the blogs of my peers, I researched school
calendars of other countries, I researched 4 day school weeks, and the
reasons why our school calendar is the way it is, in the Northern
Hemisphere at least and why school calendars are different in the
Southern Hemisphere or not.
All this article intends to be is a
jumping off point for a conversation. There are some facts which this
post is based on, but no hard core research. That is for someone other
than myself. I was surprised to see the last PEW Internet Trust survey about school calendars was in 2004. Maybe PEW has something in the works. I hope so.
many of us begin our school year in August and September it is
interesting to note that most US schools are looking at 177 to 185
student days. In my quick search of overseas school calendars I located
some beginning at 185 and extending to 200 student days. This should
give us pause, in the US. Why do our students attend school fewer days
than our global friends?
Most of us are beginning school at the
end of the harvest season. I find this to be true in the Northern
Hemisphere as well as the Southern Hemisphere. I understand why this
was true a hundred years ago, maybe even 50 years ago, but I don't know
the percentage of students and families who are engaged with the
harvest of our crops and why this type of calendar should still be what our educational system is based on.
Many schools base their calendars with respect to local religions and culture. This is true across the globe.
the question of the number of days per week that schools are in
session. Most schools stick with the traditional 5 days a week. It is
interesting that when energy costs rose astronomically some (very few)
schools decided immediately that they would make a huge shift and
designed school calendars with longer school days and fewer days per
week. Did this shift make sense educationally too?
I wonder what
it would be like to make a school calendar and school day based on the
needs of students and teachers. What is your school calendar based on?
Cross posted at http://www.cheryloakes.com