1. We support excellence in education. Multiple attestations by professional educators here and elsewhere show that adopting a non-traditional calendar will not be educationally beneficial. Moreover, our own research shows that adopting a balanced calendar requires cutting back or giving up many educational opportunities that are tied to the traditional calendar.
2. Classroom education is of course central. But essential education of our children also takes place in other venues than school rooms. A traditional summer offers educational opportunities all its own. The 12 weeks of the traditional summer offer crucial educational opportunities outside the classroom. Moreover, they offer recreation and socialization that are important parts of the formation of younger children's character and offer work weeks for older kids that cannot be gained with a balanced calendar.
3. We believe that the school year should begin as late in the summer as possible to meet the requirements mandated by the state. The calendar's main priority should be to maximize the number of intact, contiguous weeks of classroom instruction per term. Teachers have told us time after time that maximizing the number of complete, five-day weeks of instruction is the best way to improve students' performance. Therefore, once students report for classes at the beginning of the year, non-class days should be held to an absolute minimum.
We know that a lot of these principles seem contrary to conventional wisdom. We know that the notion is deeply rooted that teachers and children both need "intersession" breaks and time off in order to prosper. We are unpersuaded. We believe that teachers and school children alike will prosper with a shorter, not longer, school year that maximizes the number of intact weeks in class and offers a regular, predictable routine of class schedules. We seek to minimize interruptions of educational consistency.
We are convinced that excellence in education can be maintained with a traditional school calendar that also preserves summers to enable children to take advantage of opportunities for other kinds of other education, recreation, socialization and employment, all of which are essential to the total formation of a child's intellectual, social, spiritual and civic character.
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