The National Commission on Excellence in Education said it. The National Association of State Boards of Education agreed. And numerous state reform commissions have echoed the complaint: Students spend too little time on academics.
Some panels have recommended, therefore, that the school day and/or the school year be lengthened.
Now comes a booklet from the Educational Research Service that suggests a different, but quite impressive, rationale for adding that extra time.
The booklet lists at least 500 “special days and weeks” that teachers and administrators might find useful as a basis for academic or com-memorative activities.
Adults’ Day on Jan. 15, President Reagan’s Birthday on Feb. 6, Korean Independence Day on March 1, Sun Day on May 3, Women’s Equality Day on Aug. 26, Mark Twain’s Birthday on Nov. 30, and Louisiana Purchase Day on Dec. 20 constitute only a fraction of the special days that can be celebrated during the educator’s year, according to the planning calendar.
The calendar also lists nationally recognized special weeks and months, legal and school holidays for each of the 50 states, and the dates of 121 annual meetings of national education organizations.
To fully celebrate, commemorate, or acknowledge this wealth of Americana would require year-round schooling at least. If states and districts do not act on the advice of the national commissions but retain their average school years of 170 days, schools will have to schedule 2.94 celebrations per diem on average to keep up with all the “specials.”
So perhaps a longer school day is the way to go after all ...
“Special Days and Weeks for Planning School Calendar, 1984-85" is available for $12 from the Educational Research Service Inc., 1800 N. Kent St., Arlington, Va. 22209.
A version of this article appeared in the April 25, 1984 edition of Education Week as 2-4-6-8 Not Time To Celebrate