History of the Traditional School Calendar

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History of the Traditional School Calendar The American educational system is based on the traditional, nine-month school calendar, which has been in place for over a century. Originally, the United States was an agrarian society. The majority of Americans lived on farms. People made most of the items that they needed, and with little trade necessary, there was no need for schooling (McLain, 1973). However, as people branched out into neighboring areas, they needed to learn new skills, such as basic arithmetic to price items, measure land, and more (McLain, 1973). As a result, it became the responsibility of those who were less needed on the farm or in the factory to acquire knowledge for the family (McLain, 1973). Accordingly, children went to school to learn the skills they needed for life. In rural areas, the school year lasted for five to six months, “from the last harvest to the first planting” (Shields, 2000, 24). However, in the urban environment, schools were open eleven or twelve months of the year (Shields, 2000). This is because urban schools provided a way to get children off the labor market, as well as enable them to learn the new technology of the time (McLain, 1973). Then, in 1847, in order to offer a standard curriculum, “urban schools reduced the length of their school year and rural areas increased the number of their school days (Shields, 2000, 25). The result was the traditional, agrarian school calendar of nine months in school, with a three month vacation. Year Round Education Introduced Today however, the role of the modern public school is beginning to change. The United States is no longer an agrarian society. As a result, people feel that the traditional school calendar is too old-fashioned a... ... middle of paper ... ..., from Lexus Nexus. Saunders, M. (2004, September 7). Try year-round school: The lazy days of summer may hurt children who struggle in school the rest of the time. Atlanta Journal-Constitution, pp. 14A, Retrieved November 6, 2004, from Lexus-Nexus. Wildavsky, B. (1999, August 20). Scholars of summer. U.S. News and World Report, 127(5), 52-54. Bussard, B. (2004, July). Summer matters. Retrieved November 2, 2004, from http://www.summermatters.com/ Texas Center for Educational Technology. (1994). Technology helping year-round to rebuild the education puzzle at Driscoll ISD. Retrieved November 6, 2004, from www.tcet.unt.edu/images/i0601.pdf Walker, W. (2003, December). Year round education. Retrieved November 6, 2004, from http://www.geocities.com/weswalker99/index.html YRE Statistics. (2003). Retrieved November 4, 2004, from http://nayre.org/statistics.

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