Sunday, July 28, 2013

Bits Of Summer, Lost

We take the kids to the Indiana State Fair every year, and most years to the County Fair. They love the animals and are undeterred by horribly hot weather and barnyard stench.

August is around the corner, so state fair time is nigh. I saw an email from the BMV for Indiana State Fair Discount Day- $5 off admission. Cool!

That date is Wednesday, August 14th.

Hmm... Now why is that date familiar? Why, that's my daughter's first day of school!

We won't miss the State Fair. It begins August 2nd, so there is plenty of time for us to go. What struck me was how the BMV and the State Fair folks are out of touch enough to have the discount date on a school day, and the schedule in general in conflict with school schedules.

I know- you can't have the prize rhubarb if you don't allow it enough time to grow. I get it. My main beef is that the summer vacation time for kids is being compressed to the point where it barely exists. Back in my day, Sonny, we didn't go back to school until Labor Day. And while my daughter goes back the 14th, there are other districts nearby that return to week before that!

Somewhere in the nether reaches of my mind, I have this idea that the school year is being extended to a full year in order to help accommodate parents. I take it as two things. 1. A greater general warehousing of kids, and 2. A gigantic failure in an attempt to accommodate parents.

I'm thinking in particular of single-parent households. These school districts are going to Fall Breaks now, some as long as two-weeks. Employers are well versed in Spring Break and Summer Vacation. It is expected that employees will seek time off then. Summer camps and neighborhood kid watching set-ups are well established. But now Fall Break also? Or, is this simply a new set of times at which the barely getting by single parent or two working parent households have to pay for child care? I see the latter much more, especially as there is no consensus yet as to when to have Fall Break.

I have friends who are both teachers. They teach in different districts than each other, and their daughter? Yep- she attends school in a third district? Would it surprise you if I said that all three have different calendars?

Some highly paid administrators are going to have to put their thinking caps on and figure this out already. Enough experimenting with the school year calendar. You aren't adding days of instruction, so what is the point of all this shuffle? Uncertainty doesn't help. And it burns my chance to save twenty bucks on admission to the State Fair.