Sunday, March 22, 2015

No, we don't have a school year that runs on an agricultural calendar

Thanks to the Globe today for including this in their piece on snow days:
Popular mythology holds that today’s long summer vacation evolved out of our agricultural past. But, in fact, says Kenneth Gold, author of School’s In: The History of Summer Education in American Public Schools, the modern school year emerged out of the movement to standardize American education in the 19th century. Back then, rural states often had only a few months of school in summer and winter, so young people could plant and harvest in spring and fall, while cities kept schools open as long as possible (New York had 245 days in 1842) to catch itinerant students whenever they could. So where did 180 days come from? It’s simply where they met in the middle. The September-to-June school year became tradition, says Gold, dean of education at the College of Staten Island. “It was not established with learning goals in mind.”
So, please, from the federal Secretary of Education on down: can we PLEASE put this one to rest?

No comments: