The Case For Summer Vacation

Put down those popsicles. No more sleeping in. Beach time is over.

Economists have long hated summer vacation. All those wasted school facilities! All that educational backsliding! Kids are getting dumber!

The conventional wisdom is that summer vacation is a relic of agricultural times, when kids had to help out their parents on the farm. But the economist William Fischel says that story is completely wrong.

“When the U.S. was a farming country, in the 1800s, kids went to school during the summer and winter,” he says. Rural kids had to take fall off for the harvest and spring off for planting. In other words, summer vacation would have “actually worked against the rhythms of agriculture.”

Full story at NPR

900 New York City Classrooms Test Positive for Lead

MORE THAN 900 classrooms in New York City public schools tested positive for lead in recent months, according to data released by the city’s Department of Education.

The presence of lead-based paint and visible deterioration was found in 938 classrooms, according to the inspection by the city of more than 5,400 classrooms in nearly 800 schools built before 1985. Officials found deteriorating lead paint in 302 of the schools and deteriorating paint in 2,245 classrooms.

The findings were the result of typical end-of-year wear and tear, according to department officials, and will be fixed by the start of the school year. The inspections follow a local news investigation that found dangerous levels of lead in four schools.

“These inspections were done at the end of the year when classrooms have been used all year and are transitioning out and teachers are taking down posters,” says Miranda Barbot, the first deputy press secretary for the New York City Department of Education. “It wouldn’t be uncommon for there to be this type of wear and tear in the classroom.”

Full story at US News