BOCA RATON, FL (BocaNewsNow.com) — If you ever wonder why so many parents send their kids to private school in South Florida — or why being a nanny can be so lucrative in Palm Beach County — look no further than the Palm Beach County School calendar for 2017-2018. We apparently missed this when it was finalized in April. Our apologies. We must have been working — a novel concept for the school system.
Students will enjoy 31 days off. This does not include weekends but does include the inexplicable addition of “in service days” for teachers immediately following winter break and spring break. To put it another way, teachers have a day to get ready to teach again after enjoying lengthy vacations during their 9 month year. (Ever drive by a school parking lot on a “teacher work day?” It seems many teachers drive to school those days in invisible vehicles).
Winter break, while unquestionably enjoyable for kids, continues in 2018 well past the start of 2018. Other school districts nationwide, especially in the often academically superior northeast — return to school on January 2nd or 3rd. That’s when the real world returns to work. But Palm Beach County schools remain closed for the entire week. For our readers needing remedial math help: the first day of school in 2018 is January 9th, 8 days after the holiday. Read that again. The first day of school in 2018 is January 9th. Winter break lasts a whopping 12 days — 18 if you include weekends.
Yes, Boca readers. That means you can schedule the 10 day Disney Cruise instead of the 5 day, and still have time to fly to Vail.
Simply put: The Palm Beach County School District, home of the $6-Million barely functioning i-Ready diagnostic testing system, has scheduled more than a full month of vacation into its 9 month school year. That’s 8 months of instruction. In other words: students in Palm Beach County spend one third of the year not going to school. In fact the calendar– according to Palm Beach County — is just 179 days. That’s one day short from the 180 listed as being Florida’s requirement by the Education Commission of the States.
To be clear: there are some fantastic teachers in Palm Beach County. They can teach in 120 days what it would take others 170 to accomplish. But what they can’t do — what no one can do — is keep the momentum going when they have to constantly throw on the brakes for another break. The Palm Beach County School Board needs to consider this for future calendars.
Our take: the schedule, as it is, is embarrassing. Keep this schedule in mind when you hear about failing schools, poor FCAT scores, and falling college admission rates. Perhaps students would perform better if they lived in a school district that places a higher value on education than vacation.
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