Opposed to summer vacation by Tim:
With the increasing trend towards globalization, I believe American children today will be faced with more competition upon entering college and finding a job. These children seem to be less motivated than their foreign counterparts and less likely to go on for more advanced degrees. How are we going to cut it 15 years down the road? I believe the biggest factor is parental involvement, but our education system definitely has some room for improvement. One such improvement is the year-round school schedule.
I recently heard a professor talk on this subject, (OK, he was actually talking about Chinese New Year) and he explained the history of summer vacation. A large percentage of the population were farmers 100+ years ago and these families needed their children to work the fields over the summer. Fast forward to present day where we still have the same system in place. Kids are busy playing outside or with video games. When school starts again they can't remember what's going on and spend several weeks reviewing old lessons.
Like everything in life, there must be balance. Going to school 9 months straight, then relaxing for 3 months hardly seems balanced. So by taking away, or rather redistributing these 3 months, are we depriving the youth of happiness? This instance of happiness will happen in a flash and then be a memory for the rest of our adult lives. A more tangible, long lasting happiness is having the freedom to choose what we want to do for a living. If we don't start competing at the global level, then this choice will be a memory too.
In support of summer vacation by Tranchiturn:
The familiar is often desired, and so maybe that is the reason why I support the current school calendar. I remember always looking forward to summer because it was a REAL break. No middle-of-winter crap where you don't really even have time to get into anything because you didn't plan it out beforehand (and you have a paper due on Monday). As cheezy as this is, I think it's true that summer break is to children as the american dream is to adults. Summer break (when I say that I mean the full, American, 3 month break) helps to mold children into a different kind of adult than those from strict, working class nations. This, I suppose, will also be a point used in the opposite direction by the Antagonist.
For example, the bad characteristics of some union members can probably be traced back to summer break. But summer break is what keeps dreams alive, American Dreamz. Dreams of being a sports/rock/creative arts star or an entrepreneur. If children go to school all year long, they are trained to work constantly, during a period which they probably have the most potential to be happy, and to do what they want. This eventually leads to a hard working adult, who works however many days during the year, and is convinced that a one-week trip to Florida is a "vacation." Maybe this would create a "happier" or at least more content person, because they don't really know what they're missing, or maybe it's something closer than we think to Communism.
Summer is potential, and like any potential, it can be wasted. Some kids will grow up lazy, or at least average, and every summer, forget 3/4 of what they learned during that year. Others will do things they couldn't do during a couple-week or even a month vacation, will remember what they learned, and will be HAPPY. Maybe this will yield an adult population with a larger proportion of the lazier, 3-steps-forward-2-steps-back people, but it at least gives everyone a CHOICE. This is what the modern Summer Vacation is about: WORK is not the meaning of life, SCHOOL is not the meaning of life (or a means to it). No one knows the meaning of life, but with a Summer Break, you have the freedom to do what you want to do. For those 3 months, no one is deciding for you that the purpose of your life is to work just to survive or just because that's what everyone does.
Attending school year round for the majority of childhood will produce harder workers, steadier emotions (less extreme happiness and less depression), more competition, and ultimately, the kind of population desired by economists and believers that the greater good is achieved by furthering technology as quickly as possible--the closer to robots, the better. Summer break focuses on the individual and will result in an unsure future, emotional highs and lows, and more extreme sports (for example), like normal humans. After all, if we're working more, what are we really working for? Do we subconsciously do this to ourselves because we don't know what our purpose is, but we convince ourselves that working hard will at least lead to SOMEthing?
Editor's Note: Tranchiturn (Shawn) may write from time to time on Mental Benefits of Black Fungus. He currently maintains his own blog, The Simplifier.
Monday, February 26, 2007
Opposed to summer vacation by Tim: