School calendars: Too many breaks? And could kids really be going back next week?

I can't quite believe it, but my kids go back to school on Tuesday. (AP Image)

I can't quite believe it, but my kids go back to school on Tuesday. (AP Image)

A parent sent me a note about the frequent breaks in the school calendar.

His questions on whether frequent breaks stymie learning intrigued me as I am in a system — Decatur — that resumes classes Tuesday and has week-long breaks in September, November (Thanksgiving week), February and April, in addition to the standard holiday break in December.

(As a New Jersey native, I still can’t get used to returning to school at the beginning of August, but Decatur is one of several districts opening next week.  And the temperature is supposed to be 99 degrees, which will make for a long mile-plus walk home for my twins. )

As I have said many times, our “balanced” calendar, which made its debut last year, does not work well for me, but I am resigned to it since the system believes it is more appealing to teachers.

I chatted with a teacher today who told she hates the calendar as a parent and as an educator because she has to re-establish routines in her classroom after every break. As a parent herself, she spends more money on travel vacations since there aren’t any good camp options during the September and February breaks.

However, another teacher told me that he loves the frequent breaks because they keep him sane and rested.

But do they hurt learning?

Here is the note from the APS parent about the calendar:

Why don’t you take a close look at the APS school calendar? It isn’t organized to enhance learning. The longest time the kids are in school is a six- week stint after spring break. I’m just a parent, but it seems to me that if you want to improve test scores and learning, you do so through routine.

The calendar as it currently exists does anything but establish a routine for learning. The average length of time without interruption is three weeks. It seems to me that if you want to improve test scores, then the best way to do it is to have more solid school time before testing, not after.

UPDATE: Another parent sent me this note this morning, which I wanted to add as I think it gives a broader perspective to this discussion:

Your articles are usually insightful and thought provoking but this one is not true. I’m sorry but the facts aren’t researched. Research the facts on this one. My children attend school in Rockdale county and they have a balanced calendar where they are out every six  weeks or roughly thereabout. We love the calendar. It keep the kids fresh along with the teachers. We are able to schedule family vacations spring break, a week in the summer, and usually one the first week of October during fall break (when lines are shorter at Disney :-) )

But APS has the same calendar about 90 percent of the schools in Georgia have. School starts Aug 8th, and the first day off is October 10th and 11th, whereas in Rockdale they have a week off in October after starting August 1st. This doesn’t seem to hurt their test scores. That idea and thought is simply off base, and just a shot at APS.  Are you honestly saying the two days off in October (10th and 11th), and two days off in February (17th and 20th) affect test scores. Really? The schools systems such as Rockdale who made AYP every year until this year (and still may make it after re-test have been calculated) have been on real balanced calendars for a while and they don’t affect test scores.

Our kids have a week off the same time as APS and other school systems give their kids two days off. You’ve got be kidding that any parent w/any gripe whether is based in facts or not can just get you to publish that.

In response, I shared the original parent note because I thought the overarching question of time off is worth discussing. I had no intention of taking a shot at APS as I saw the question raised as a universal one relevant to all schools.

I went to a bare-bones Catholic schools where we had no breaks — whether a week or two days — beyond Thanksgiving and Christmas. No spring break. No fall break. No teacher workdays. Any my niece and nephews in private schools up north also have fewer breaks than we do, although they have one Friday off each semester when teachers meet with parents.

I also wonder about the impact of partial weeks. Teacher friends tell me that partial weeks — where the kids have off two days — lead to lost learning time as less gets done in those remaining three days. Not sure why kids are more distracted and why time is lost, but I have heard that complaint.

–From Maureen Downey, for the Get Schooled blog

136 comments Add your comment

MiltonMan

July 27th, 2011
6:27 am

The APS parent should be less concerned about the calendar & more concerned about the quality of education that the children are receiving.

Melis99

July 27th, 2011
6:30 am

I have to disagree with the comment. My kids love the extra breaks and so do I. After coming back from a 2 month summer break the kids have to readjust to sitting in the classroom which is the reason for the September break. Now if you really want to look at this closer I think the best solution would be year round school. By being out of school for two long months most kids don’t retain alot of what was learned the previous two months so the teachers have to take the first couple of weeks as a refresher. I think we’re doing the kids a disservice by not having the year round school because if you really think about it, it doesn’t prepare them for the real world. I can imagine what my boss would say if I told them I would like to have two months off in the summer. LOL However if I have periodical breaks throughout the year it’s ok because you need to time to recharge. Let’s prepare these kids for the real world.

Ismelafish

July 27th, 2011
6:34 am

Maureen, I understand your anxiety about your childs test scores.. seems like that is what all parents number one concern is.. test scores. But there is much more to school than test scores. If a child cannot remember a lesson that was taught 2 weeks ago ,well then how well did they really learn it? Please don’t add more anxiety to a childs’ life by making them overly concerned with only their test scores. You are taught many things when in school, using a routine is one way to teach it, but that is only ONE tool. Let the teachers do their job, they are trained to do it best….after all, isn’t that what we hired them for anyway?

Dr. Craig Spinks/ Augusta

July 27th, 2011
6:37 am

Are there any peer-reviewed studies of the relationship between differences in school calendars and differences in student achievement? A quick review of the ERIC Thesaurus failed to identify any term related to school calendar. Go figure.

Melis99

July 27th, 2011
6:37 am

BTW my kids go to a school that starts on the first and the test scores are among the highest in Georgia. So it’s the quality of the school system and parent involvement. If you want to see the test scores go up the parents need to be more involved in the kids education.

Sk8ing Momma

July 27th, 2011
6:45 am

Breaks are a good thing! I love the balanced calendar. The breaks allow students & teachers to recharge and return to school refreshed and ready for more learning. The children attend school the same number of days…I just don’t see the big deal.

With regard to the parent/educator complaining that she spends more money on travel vacations with the balanced calander, that sounds like a personal CHOICE to me. There is nothing that says one must travel during the extra school breaks. Can you say STAYCATION?

Going back to school the first of August is not a big deal, IMO. It’s too hot to really enjoy the outdoors. Why not be inside in the A/C? It’s hot August 1. It’s hot August 15. It’s hot August 30. I’d rather start early to allow for the extra 1 week breaks.

3rd Grade Teacher

July 27th, 2011
7:01 am

And on the flip side, you have Fulton County, who has devised a calendar with limited breaks. Teachers will go from Labor Day to Thanksgiving without a break. Kids will get one day off. Everyone will be exhausted. Rest rejuvenates the body and mind when used effectively.

Joe Frank

July 27th, 2011
7:07 am

I am a BOE member, and our system starts early, has several breaks, and ends in mid May. I vote against the calender every year, but I am the only one. There are studies in education that support just about any side of an argument you choose, so I don’t really know which, if either, is best.

JAGGAR

July 27th, 2011
7:25 am

I am a teacher in the Cobb County School District. I am originally from New Yourk and then moved to Michigan. Both states did not begin until after Labor Day. CCSD began moving the start date earlier and earlier several years ago. As a parent and a teacher, I do not agree with beginning the school year so early. Cobb County begins August 15th and does not have one single break until Thanksgiving. I personally believe it is too long with out a break. The children and teachers should have a break at the 9 week mark. It does not have to be a full week, but a 5 day weekend would be great. A laugh when parents complain there kids have been home for a whole week on Thanksgiving break. I have your kids for 180 days and that includes 13 weeks straight in the fall.

Inman Park Boy

July 27th, 2011
7:26 am

I went to Georgia schools in the fifties and sixties, and we went to school 180 days a year. Under current law, children must attend school….180 days a year. So, the differtence is clearly in the number of “holidays” we now take. Most systems now have fall break, spring break, three days at Thanksgiving, up to two weeks at Christmas, not to mention Presidents Day and MLK day and others. That’s a lot of days out of school, and as a parent and an educator, it is excessive.

JAGGAR

July 27th, 2011
7:26 am

Sorry for the typos. York and their! Oops!

Henry

July 27th, 2011
7:38 am

“Inman Park Boy” – it is still 180 days in school. It can not be excessive if they go the same amount of days. Henry county has a balanced calendar and I believe parents would have a revolt if we changed it. It is great to take a vacation in September instead of the crowds of June and July.

no mas

July 27th, 2011
7:51 am

It’s about time someone just say it once and for all, NO calendar makes or breaks students’ learning. This is only an issue of CONVENIENCE, mostly for parents.

PLC

July 27th, 2011
7:55 am

As a language arts teacher, I would love the longer breaks because I could give more timely and effective feedback on papers, something that is hard to do without a break.

Last year proves we need days built in – after the weeklong snowstorm, we got MLK and Spring Break in the spring and that was it. I could see a negative difference in student attitudes and teacher morale, both of which affect learning. The kids aren’t adults yet and we shouldn’t expect them to be. Give them a day off every now and then and it will improve their performance.

Gwinnettian

July 27th, 2011
8:00 am

Attention: ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS – First your children will need to return to their home country, get an education there, get a work VISA then come here.
OR, how about actually paying for some of your services? You know we call them taxes. It costs us 6K just to educate EACH of your children for one year. How about trading in the brand new SUV and buying some school supplies, paying your share, using a Dr. instead of the emergency room?
Just a thought.

Martina

July 27th, 2011
8:03 am

I’ve taught for 31 years so I’ve seen both. When I started, we began the week before Labor Day so the second week of school was always a 4-day week. But we didn’t get out until the second week of June. We also only had Thanksgiving Day and that Friday off. We had school the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Of course, most families were nearby so you didn’t have the travel involved that we see today. It almost became a necessity to take longer at Thanksgiving because we would have so many children out that week anyway. We no longer have a fall break (that only lasted a couple of years) but we have a Fri/Mon long weekend in Oct. I do like the week we take in Feb. I personally prefer breaks in the schedule as opposed to a “long” summer.

tim

July 27th, 2011
8:15 am

Balanced calendars have been adopted by unbalanced school bpards.

@melis99…omg….your kids can’t sit in a classromm after having a 2 month break? Maybe you should have them evaluated for a “disorder.” I feel soo sorry for them.

tim

July 27th, 2011
8:15 am

Balanced calendars have been adopted by unbalanced school bpards.

@melis99…omg….your kids can’t sit in a classromm after having a 2 month break? Maybe you should have them evaluated for a “disorder.” I feel soo sorry for them.

www.honeyfern.org

July 27th, 2011
8:16 am

I think the breaks work, both for students and teachers. It is not the breaks that are the issue; it is the quality of instruction when the kids are in school. Blaming the breaks and “lack of routine” is a cop-out for schools.

Sharon Pitts must Go

July 27th, 2011
8:17 am

My daughter goes to a year round school and we love it.

d

July 27th, 2011
8:18 am

Last year, we had 11 weeks without a break between MLK and Spring Break – and this was the second time in the 6 years I’ve been a teacher that has occurred. The first was my first year teaching when Governor Perdue was afraid we were going to run out of gas and closed schools for two days. The children were extremely restless, I was physically worn out by the time spring break came. Some time to recharge is necessary for everyone. I believe that is why in my job I had before I started teaching they had a use it or lose it policy with our vacation days. They wanted us fresh so we could be on top of our game.

Ray

July 27th, 2011
8:20 am

So, whites now have 20 times the wealth of Blacks and Hispanics.

But this doesn’t have any bearing on the achievement gap?

Interesting that those whose policies drive such a discrepancy are the same ones who rolled out NCLB with it’s claims to close the achievement gap.

Or was NCLB an effort to put a bow atop a box of dog-doo in an effort to hide the real picture?

Nah, the GOP’d have to think we were pretty stupid…say, why do the red states have the lowest test scores?

EducationCEO

July 27th, 2011
8:25 am

There are many districts across the country that use the balanced calendar with successful results and approval from students, teachers, and parents. The local districts do not take the time to research the options and visit districts that are using them; therefore, they do not work. Furthermore, the fact that parents in some Georgia districts do not have input does not help the matter. It’s amazing how local boards, usually consisting of no-educators and/or people whose children are grown, make these decisions without any real research backing, site visits, or first-hand knowledge of how the programs/decisions are SUPPOSED to work. It would also probably help if more districts/schools, e.g., Gwinnett County, offered some type of after-school enrichment for those children whose parents HAVE to work. These programs could also be offered during the breaks and the schools could hire Education majors to assist with running them, that way they would get additional classroom experience and teachers would still enjoy some type of break. But those ideas make too much sense for Georgia….

Nan Lou

July 27th, 2011
8:35 am

It is tough to comment, I can consider it from all angles. My main thought would be for school systems to stick with a calendar and quit changing. This is a big part of the problem. Parents need to be able to pre-plan their lives. This is especially true for single parents who must work with employers who don’t care about their home lives. Making arrangements for child care when schools are not in session – as many parents get only one week vacation – as do some families with both parents. It would be nice for the school systems to send notices of available activities or camps that are available at these breaks. The parks and recreation should offer many more activities and/or camps at these times.
My other thought – different kids learn different ways. Some do better at structured learning – others do better with more breaks for down time. It is hard for any system to make everyone happy – but they could try a little harder to help.
Does quality education come from the school system or the teachers who teach the kids? I’d have to say teachers. But I would have to add that parents standing behind the teachers are the next important support for children.

Test Schedule impact

July 27th, 2011
8:36 am

The spring schedule has a spring break incredibly close to the end of the year for high schoolers. Really hard to get the kids to focus when they can smell summer break coming but who can blame them. They have a week of 3 hour long GGT exams in March and then come back from spring break to a two week period punctuated by more three hour exams. You think it is hard to get the kids to focus for 90 minutes imagine the second half of a school day where kids have been sitting in exams for three hours first. Just exams. It is ridiculous that teachers are expected to teach bell to bell but the school year is punctuated with breaks but with completely unreliable mandatory tests. NY State and other states also have state wide exams but they are at the very end of the school year NOT put in the calendar so there is three to four weeks of instruction that is suppose to be taking place. Kids routinely mentally check out because heh, the EOCT is over and whatever they learn isn’t that important anyhow. So many students already focus on just standardized tests and not learning. That is tragic.
Who and with what rationale decided that going to school the first week of August was a good idea? I would love to know the history around that decision.

South Cobb parent

July 27th, 2011
8:38 am

During the balanced calendar experiment last year in Cobb, there were fewer teacher absences, resulting in fewer substitutes, as well as higher student attendance. No matter, they cut all breaks from August to Thanksgiving and January to April for this year.

Achievement gap

July 27th, 2011
8:59 am

A RAND report was released in June and a Johns Hopkins study was also done that indicates long summers are detrimental to knowledge retention and adversely affect the achievemnet gap. Cherokee has been on the balanced calendar for years and they came in top in the state in testing this year. The calendar is certainly not hurting their kids! My family will be taking a break from Cobb schools in the fall, asking kids to go from Labor Day to Thanksgiving without a break is ridiculous! Look at the calendar in Fairfax County Virginia or Montgomery County Maryland, they get at least a 3 day weekend every month and these are the top districts in the country!

teachergirl

July 27th, 2011
9:01 am

At least in Decatur, they are listening to the teachers. Cobb County couldn’t care less what the teachers think. The interests of the few outweigh the needs of the many. Last year was the best year I have ever had teaching. I was well rested, I had children who were well rested and ready to engage in learning. Test scores even went up! But to no avail, Kathy Angelucci has her own agenda. We.Don’t.Matter.

A Conservative Voice

July 27th, 2011
9:06 am

Listen, you don’t start school till the day after “Labor Day”, folks. Stupid, stupid, stupid!!!!!!!All of these so called “Improvements” have done nothing but screw up our kids and school systems. Stop the madness before it’s too late……uh, oh, this probably should have been said before the stupid people took over.

@Maureen – And the temperature is supposed to be 99 degrees, which will make for a long mile-plus walk home for my twins. )

Maureen, Top Notch Track performers train all year round……make ‘em “run”, not walk :)

ScienceTeacher671

July 27th, 2011
9:20 am

I don’t like starting the first week of August, and I’d rather have a longer summer than all these three and four day weekends whoever created our calendar decided we should have. Last year we had very few breaks during first semester, and way too many second semester. Second semester seemed really choppy and disorganized, and I despaired of my students learning anything because they were focusing on the upcoming break or the one they just had rather than on the subject at hand.

That said, last semester my EOCT scores were the highest they’ve ever been, so maybe all the breaks helped? Or maybe it was something else, who knows? I’d still rather give up some of the breaks if we could start later and/or get out sooner.

hssped

July 27th, 2011
9:41 am

I am pretty sure that football is the reason that Fayette County does not have a week off in September. Years ago it came up as a calender option for vote. It was voted down. Bummer, because, as someone has already mentioned, rental prices in Florida drop significantly. It’s hard paying the high vacation rental prices while making the low salary of a teacher!

Warrior Woman

July 27th, 2011
9:44 am

@Dr. Craig Spinks – There are research papers on school calendars in sociology and statistical journals. Paul von Hippel of Ohio State has done quite a bit of education research (not just calendars, but also testing, “failing” schools, and student achievement measures) and concluded that year-round calendars do not improve student performance by themselves. Other research shows that the greatest portion of learning loss during any school break occurs in the first week.

These two types of studies are consistent with other studies showing that balanced calendars only help if low-performing students receive intensive remedial education during intersessions. Without that, the extended calendars show either no improvement or declining test scores.

Beyond that, the balanced calendar results in economic harm to student workers and businesses that rely on them. It also results in students that are involved in extracurriculars, such as band and athletics, getting little to no breaks, because practice, games, and band competitions continue during breaks between August and April.

Ed

July 27th, 2011
9:45 am

As long as we have furlough days built into the calendar, why can’t we just start a few days later, rather than constantly breaking up the flow of the school year?

Wondering Allowed

July 27th, 2011
9:46 am

@JAGGAR – Most of us do our jobs every day. Many of us only get two weeks vacation a year. It shows how removed from reality some teachers can be that you would even make a comment like, ” I have your kids for 180 days and that includes 13 weeks straight in the fall.”

Teachers wonder why they aren’t treated like professionals?? Try acting like a real professional first. Your comment, which centers around your benefits, not what’s best for the children, is very telling. Whining about having to do your job 13 weeks straight! Did you ever think the frustration being expressed is based on children getting a second rate education from whiners who couldn’t make it in the real world? Your comment shows you are clueless. If you worked in the real world and complained about having to work 13 weeks in a row, your boss would make sure you had a nice long permanent break. Jeez.

And don’t whiine about your job being haaaaarrrrdddd. Every job has challenges. Non-teaching jobs have pressures you couldn’t imagine.

IMO, fire all the teachers and administrators and start from scratch. Offer top salaries to professionals who have real world chops and run the schools like a business. Make employees produce every day. Kick those out who don’t.

Sometimes you need to scrap the car and buy a new one. At this point, too many unskilled mechanics have tinkered with our educational system, paid themselves too much and have no idea how to teach kids in today’s environment. I

Dr NO

July 27th, 2011
9:48 am

I would like to see the traditional school break from May thru Sept. This way the putt putting mini-van driving awful mom drivers are off the roadway for a good 3 months.

Pls mommys stay off the roads as your driving skills are lacking, at best.

Cris

July 27th, 2011
9:48 am

uhhhh…does everyone else not see? CRCT and GHSGT are given in April – if you start earlier, you have more time to “practice” before the “high-stakes testing” THAT’S why we start back so early! Feel free to interpret anthing in quotations as being heavily laced with sarcasm…

Don't Understand

July 27th, 2011
9:55 am

I would imagine that in a free market a private business would provide services on a daily schedule and on a weekly, monthly, and annual calendar that would cater to their customer’s needs. I would imagine that if there were real diversity, real innovation, real freedom, etc. businesses would work as hard as they could to insure that their customers were happy with the quality of their product, had means to independently certify the quality, a mechanism to be compensated for dissatisfaction, and all the things needed to keep their customers from going to a superior competitor.

Just the opposite of the government system of education.

Any yet virtually every poster on this blog bows down and prays to the almighty state apparatus with virtually every word they write despite failure after failure after failure. What is it going to take before everyone realizes that exactly what they wish the government schools would do is exactly what the free market does in virtually every industry that is free of government encroachment or government monopoly presence, etc? It will NEVER happen with government because they don’t have to EARN the money, they just steal it. It can ONLY happen with a free market because that is the inherent nature of a free market.

I will just never understand why people think that beating their heads against a wall will somehow bring it down. The answer is to withdraw their support. Governments and government monopolies only exist because of the consent of the governed. Stop consenting. Homeschool. Figure out how to make private schooling work. Do something different. Why do you continue to allow the government to raise your children and dictate how your life will be managed in relation to their education?

Wondering Allowed

July 27th, 2011
9:57 am

BTW, if you have the kids 180 days a year, there are 365 days in the year, and 104 of those are Sat-Sun, that means you have the kids for 180 of 261 weekdays. That about 2/3 of the days. In other words, you have one in three weekdays off!!!

My gosh, now wonder the parents complain. Perhaps a way to help ease local government budgets would be to put the teachers to work on these days off. Aren’t we paying them for full-time work? 180 days seems far short of full-time.

N GA Blues

July 27th, 2011
10:04 am

I noticed that my children were much more restless after the irregular school pattern last winter caused by closures due to the three winter storms. Their teachers confirmed that their students as a whole were not helped by these oddball breaks. I doubt the “balanced calendar” produces any better results for students, though it may save the sanity of teachers.

Dr NO

July 27th, 2011
10:10 am

Don’t Understand

July 27th, 2011
9:55 am

Agreed 100%. To most it seems the govt is the be all and end all. I think naivete’ has much to do with this problem.

Cliff Claven

July 27th, 2011
10:23 am

Wondering Allowed, teachers are paid on 180 contracts. Some admin and others are on 240 contracts but not teachers.

Cliff Claven

July 27th, 2011
10:30 am

Why does every thread about teachers on here always end up with people outside of the system talking about the “real world”? It does not apply to education.

Jerry Eads

July 27th, 2011
10:54 am

On the economic side, I do wonder how many hundreds of thousands (millions?) of dollars the schools might save by rolling the calendar to start after Labor Day. Perhaps not much, as that would roll us into July? Seems to me the savings/cost would be very easy to determine.

As for breaks, haven’t looked for research about teachers. But good ones put so much more energy into their work than almost anyone else, brief respites for them are gold. As for kids, there are many “reformers” who argue for year-round school, longer school days, no recess, no phys ed, no music, no arts, etc. etc, etc, etc. Those individuals tend to look at teachers as assembly line workers and kids as widgets and, by and large, never set foot in a classroom after they graduated – or dropped out. My guess is the same as the old adage: “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” Many short breaks (as opposed to one long one) are possibly a benefit to long-term learning (as opposed to meaningless test performance).

Arubalisa

July 27th, 2011
10:55 am

@Achievement gap is right on! Facts are facts, whether it is convenient for the parents or the teachers. http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,295525,00.html After all is it not supposed to be all about the kids? @Nan Lou, Cherokee County approves three years of calenders at a time. If someone cannot plan their life around that, then maybe that person needs to go back to school.

cricket

July 27th, 2011
10:58 am

For the love of god people! Stop worrying about the damn calendar and do something constructive and worry about the fact that standardized testing is robbing your children of an education on whatever days they are there! Nothing else is going to matter until parents and the media realize nothing else matters as long as you allow test scores to be the focus! The purpose of these test is not to make your child’s education better. It’s purpose is to line pockets. ….now back to beating my head against the wall.

ChristieS.

July 27th, 2011
11:05 am

@Cliff – “Why does every thread about teachers on here always end up with people outside of the system talking about the “real world”? It does not apply to education.”

Because many of those people outside the system are envious of what they see as the perks of the profession (without acknowledging ANY of the concomitant challenges and difficulties) and it makes them feel better about their own miserable working conditions to knock teachers down. Oh, my…did I use my “out loud voice” to call someone else an envious twit? Why yes, I did.

Cliff Claven

July 27th, 2011
11:19 am

@ChristieS, I just don’t understand the hate. If you read these blogs it seems like if a parent had one bad teacher then they must all be bad. We’re all lazy and just want our summers off and to be paid for doing nothing.

Patrick

July 27th, 2011
11:23 am

I can’t wait to vote out the Cobb BOE and get back to the balanced calendar. I have not heard one person say anything bad about it. Yet the current BOE decided to change back even though the polls told them NO! My kids loved it and so did my wife – who works for the Cobb County School System.

teacher&mom

July 27th, 2011
11:23 am

@ChristieS… :)

Another issue with the early August weather in my district…interior bus temperatures. Our buses pick up elementary, middle, and high school students. In the afternoons, by the time the elementary kids sit on the buses waiting to pick up the middle and high schoolers, the interior temperature on the buses reach the triple digits. Everyone knows this is dangerous and they just cross their fingers and wait for cooler temperatures.

ScienceTeacher671

July 27th, 2011
11:30 am

@Wondering allowed: And don’t whiine about your job being haaaaarrrrdddd. Every job has challenges. Non-teaching jobs have pressures you couldn’t imagine.

I’ve worked in “the real world” and as a teacher. Have you? While it is true that all jobs have challenges, teaching is harder and more intense than most “real world” jobs.

IMO, fire all the teachers and administrators and start from scratch. Offer top salaries to professionals who have real world chops and run the schools like a business.

Too funny. Your statement implies that we do not now offer top salaries to teachers, which is true. But what makes you think that anyone would be willing to invest the money needed to increase teacher salaries? I’d bet you would be among the first complaining about higher taxes.