When sworn in last week, Gov. Mark Dayton said he’d focus on education, including year-round school. On behalf of everyone under 18: no.
Think they’d learn much in July? “Students! Ignore your geysering hormones and the bright promise of the day outside, and concentrate on the exports of Peru!”
Have you been in a school in the summer? No AC. They can smell like a brick oven cooking roofing tar and circus manure.
No one looks back on their summers and thinks, “If only I’d been legally obligated to enter a brick-walled institution at 8:45 a.m. and study algebra, I’d be pulling down some of that sweet mathematician cash.”
Summer is freedom, and just because adults have to put on serious clothes and spend a precious ration of their mortal allotment in a cubicle doesn’t mean our children must.
The encroachment of school upon the hallowed ration of barefooted abandon seems to shrink every year; in my time, the gates swung wide when June came in, and clanged shut in September. School couldn’t start until Jerry Lewis sat on a stool and blubbered out a song at the end of the Labor Day Telethon.
Sure, our minds rotted a bit over the long break, and when we went back to school we held our books upside down and stared at the pencils — are these tools of some kind? Do I use them to spear apple slices?
But it all came back, like riding a bike, which we had been doing for the past three months.
You want more school? They could reduce the length of breaks; they could cut down on mysterious “release days,” which suggests the rest of the year is “captivity days.” They could show fewer movies.
My daughter has seen more movies in nine years of school than a guy getting a gold watch because he just retired as a theater projectionist. I saw one movie in high school, and it was a driver-ed flick full of dead people in wrecked cars.
Granted, driver instruction is necessary. One day my child will be driving, heading out at twilight on a jaunt with friends to celebrate the long summer ahead, knowing they don’t have to get up early the next day, eager to push the limits of the curfew and test their freedom — on the other hand, year-round school sounds like a fine idea.