Mayor DeBlasio just added two more holidays to the school calendar, Eid-al-Adha and Eid al-Fitr, bringing school holidays to a whopping 27 days per school year.
So do our students really need more days off? Can Lunar New Year be far behind? And what about Shavuoth, Purim, the Immaculate Conception, St. Patrick’s Day, and the day after the Super Bowl?
All these bear religious significance to many Americans of various religions.
I’m sure that there are many that I am missing, but if DeBlasio and school’s chancellor Carmen Farina really want to show respect for the diversity of the children in city public schools shouldn’t they be added too?
Since our students are not reaching their full potential and lag behind global students, religious holidays should be considered personal days and left up to the parents to make the decision if the child goes in or stays home. Children would not be penalized; would receive the benefit of more instructional hours; and each group able to express their religious beliefs (and love of spectator sports).
It seems to me that no other profession offers as many days off as teaching. The average company provides six paid holidays per year, two to three weeks vacation, two or three personal days, and five sick days off per year.
Teachers, on the other hand work, approximately nine months per year with 25 paid holidays — that’s just within the nine-month work period. A week each for Christmas and Hanukkah, Spring break and fuel conservation (since 1977) and one day each for Columbus Day, Veterans Day, Memorial Day, Martin Luther King Jr, Day; Yom Kippur; Rosh Hashana and Good Friday, and Thanksgiving Day and the day after that.
Which leaves me to ask the really big question— Who really benefits from all the days off? The kids, the teachers, or the parents?
Certainly not the students inasmuch as they miss out on instructional time. The parents? Hardly. They have to take off from work or find alternative means of child care. So who benefits? The teachers.
Teachers have off more than any U.S. company gives full-time employees in a year.
Farina and DeBlasio have continually speechified that the children are what matters and that the children should receive the full benefit of a public school education, but how can they when they are off about as much as they are in?
Not for Nuthin™, if the mayor and chancellor really want to improve the educational system and provide a better education, maybe they should revamp the system and not add more holidays to the list, but provide more days for teachers to teach and students to learn.
Follow me on Twitter @JDelBuono.
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