Facts & Fiction FAQ 

For four decades, proponents of year-round or "balanced" school calendars have made claims of enormous benefits. These claims have been accepted despite countless research data to the contrary. The idea that year round school is a "trend" that everyone is going to is simply false.

This FAQ presents cited, rational answers to many of the questions that have been raised on the subject.

Isn't the "traditional" calendar is an obsolete agrarian calendar?

01/08/2006 -

The current traditional calendar of 180 days with a long summer break was only adopted widely after WWII. It was adopted because it best served the needs of both rural and metropolitan families once broad access to high school became possible through government funding.

- Source: Shepard and Baker, 1977

In 1932, students took a vacation lasting three to six weeks to pick cotton. ...

Many call the traditional approach that starts the school year in mid-August an outdated agrarian calendar, yet the Depression-era board policy to start sooner was made for agricultural reasons, according to Nell Blankenship, past president of the Rutherford County Historical Society.

"They went (to school) for six weeks and got out for cotton-picking season," Blankenship explained.

Students picked cotton for three to six weeks, and board members determined how long the break would be for their own districts. After returning from the harvest, students would take more breaks for the holidays but stay in class until the end of the school year in March in time for the planting season.

That was as agrarian calendar," said Blakenship, noting it wasn't until the 1950s when the school year started after Labor Day. "We've just gradually worked back to July. Each year we go a little bit further back to that calendar of the 1930s."

- The Daily News Journal, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, February 19, 2001, by Scott Broden

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