When I was a teacher, I loved the random “days off” that peppered the school calendar. They were like mini-vacations where I could sleep in, run errands, catch a movie, go shopping. Fun stuff.
Now that I’m a mom, I think those days off are not only an inconvenience to parents, but an irritating interruption to the instructional days for my kids. Allow me to elaborate.
Somewhere along the way, the school year went from 180 instructional days to 175 instructional days. I know this because our public school district only has 175 instructional days. I’m not sure WHY we’ve been downgraded to 175 days from 180, and in light of the political situation with teachers’ unions across the country, I don’t want to get into a political discussion. For the record, I support the teachers who do their jobs and work hard to educate children.
That’s as political as I’m gonna get here.
Back to the subject at hand.
Included in the remaining 190 non-instructional days of the year are the big breaks, like summer break, winter break and spring break, each being a week or more. There are a smattering of other days, such as teacher in-service days, parent-teacher conferences and random holidays.
Those random holidays are my beef here. Today many school districts in the Prairie State (and apparently some in the Dairy State) are celebrating Casimir Pulaski Day, honoring a Polish-American Revolutionary War hero, slain at the Battle of Savannah in 1779.
I’d be willing to bet that most of the students who slept late this morning don’t have a clue that they can thank General Pulaski for their first-Monday-in-March holiday. Of course, most of them probably don’t really understand why they should also thank Christopher Columbus, Martin Luther King, Jr., or the POTUS for days off throughout the year.
I’m all for keeping the kiddos in school for every single one of those days. Honor all of those people by teaching the kids WHY they are important. Some cross-curricular activities would serve to teach them history, writing, reading…heck, even spelling, math and social studies could be worked into lessons as well.
It would help make up for some instructional days lost to standardized test prep and test-taking.
But that’s a rant for another day. Today we’re celebrating Casimir Pulaski.