Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Franklin: Alternative school calendar

There are other school calendars. Our current calendar stems from our farming heritage. Where are the working farms that are dictating the need to education our children in the non-planting season?

Oh, don't get me wrong. As much as this makes sense, and real "common sense" to do so, the forces against it are mighty.

The National Association of Year-Round Education will help in fostering this idea. The Globe article reports:

There hasn't been rigorous research into whether students at schools where summer breaks are short do better than children attending other schools. But existing comparisons suggest that the modified calendars have a small positive effect on student achievement. The impact appears to be somewhat bigger for low-income children.

and this:

The number of schools on modified calendars with shorter summer breaks more than doubled in the last 15 years. Today, 46 states have schools operating on these calendars - up from 23 states in 1992. The entire Hawaiian school system recently moved to a nontraditional calendar with a seven-week summer break.

and this:
It is mostly elementary schools that are using the modified calendars. For older students, that could make it difficult to get summer jobs or participate in competitive sports programs. In Auburn, Ala., a push to move to a year-round calendar created an outcry and ultimately failed, partly because of high-school athletics.
and finally:
Not all schools go to a year-round schedule to boost student achievement. Some do it because they have more children than they can accommodate in a building. By extending the school year, they can rotate more pupils through a building by giving them different schedules.
As the Franklin School population continues to grow (the Family Circle effect?) this may be an alternative to building another school or making the temporary additions even more permanent.

Would you consider an alternative school calendar?


Why not?