Extended break doesn't add up

Kamloops Daily News
December 17, 2013 01:00 AM

According to school board officials, all we need to make a two-week spring break work is to shave nine minutes off lunch hours.

At first glance, it sounds like a simple solution. Who is going to miss those nine minutes?

Likely no one, but here's where it starts to get bogus. Those nine minutes will not disappear - they'll be added to instructional time.

Yes, the children would get nine more minutes of learning every day. In high school, where students typically take four courses per semester, that would mean two minutes and 15 seconds added to each course.

Are we really expected to believe that teachers will somehow be able to cram an extra couple of minutes worth of knowledge into the kids? It
defies common sense.

The trouble with the school board approach to spring break is that they are treating it like a numbers game. But they must know in their hearts that learning entails more than simply logging a certain amount of time in a classroom each day.

Sure, many parents and teachers back the idea. Surveys and meetings show plenty of support for a two-week spring break.

But let's face it: who wouldn't say yes to extra time off? They might as well have asked parents and teachers if they would like a free gift.

We say that those who back a two-week spring break should go into this with clear eyes.

The few extra minutes children would get in class every day to make up for it won't amount to a hill of beans.

The only reason those minutes are being added is to make the provincial Ministry of Education happy. The law mandates a certain amount of instructional time each year.

There would indeed be an extra week of time off at spring break, but when all is said and done, it would come at the cost of a week of lost instructional time.

The logic of this plan might work in math class, but we doubt that it would pass muster in any other course.

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