5 reasons you should take a summer vacation

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Sure, you can think of a million reasons NOT to take a vacation, but here are five reasons why you absolutely should. Did you know that taking a summer vacation can actually help you live longer?

1. Opening longer costs money

In a unionized faculty like in New York City, you know there will be monetary compromises for the longer time. Salaries aren’t the only worries. With a longer year comes higher bills for facilities, classroom materials, breakfast/lunch programs, aides, secretarial staff, etc. Try raising money for that shortfall. It’ll be the only time a bake sale will close early for lack of interest.

2. Quantity does NOT equal Quality

That guy teaching in Japan could be a maniac, for all I know. Students can sit in a classroom all day and all night, if you want. If they are taught by the village idiot or the local psychopath, it does them just as good as 6 hours a day with the same bozos. The length of the day or year matters little if the instruction is of poor quality. What you get is the pre-2008 U.S. auto industry, with all the wonderful side effects that brought.

3. Not Everyone Needs Extra Time

The genius who does his homework Friday night and burns his social life in the library does not need to sit in school all day. Neither does the lazy smartass who refuses to work and could use more at-home instruction with a woodshed and a 2 by 4. Current educational statutes allow for school-based options that mandate extra time for targeted students, i.e. those that can benefit from more time. The genius will get bored and construct a laser to torture the class gerbil. Don’t ask what the smartass will do.

4. Kids, like Adults, experience Burnout

A person’s ability understand and absorb information diminishes with time. I see this all too often: any class I see near the end of the school day requires all my patience and energy, because they are in no condition to learn. Now extend the day by one, two, even three hours. You might—just might—get a “second wind” and actually get through some meaningful material. Yet more often than not, you’ll have a lot of drool all over your desks, as the catatonic mass of your class marks time before dismissal. What a prospect.

5. We Still Can Beat the Others

For this, I go to an expert. CNN correspondent Fareed Zakaria is one of a dying breed of conservatives with a good head on their shoulders. In his columns and books, Zakaria has noticed the upward trend of Asian and European students in scores and achievement. Yet ask them to actually come up with something NEW, and they ask for instruction on a process. Here’s where we still beat the world. Zakaria correctly points out that the nexus of innovation and new ideas is still the United States, by a country mile. Those kids may be in school more, but they’re in school memorizing and reciting. While these skills are important, American education adds the fundamental element of teaching how to think, to argue, to formulate and innovate. No addition of time can recreate that kind of education.

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