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Boycotting school makeup days

We just got an e-mail from the superintendent of our schools. Because of our snow days and the State of Illinois requiring 176 days of instruction, the last day of school is being moved from June 6 to June 10. You know, heaven forbid it be 175 days of classes. That extra day is really going to fill young minds with knowledge!

Our son would have missed the last day of school anyway. We'll be in Minnesota for a cycling tour over the weekend immediately after. But we're in the awkward position now of trying to decide whether to hurry back from a pre-planned trip to get our son one or two days. Come back Sunday? Come back Monday? Call it a day and say the previous Thursday is his last day even if his friends will be there?

I'm sure we're not the only parents contemplating all this. People make vacation plans months in advance. The calendar doesn't revolve around the district's decisions in January to close up shop...not that I think our recent "snow days" for extremely cold weather was wrong.

It's just that I think makeup days at the end of the year are silly. So is shortening Spring Break. I can see maybe trying to fill in a day or two here and there--which they considered but rejected it said in his letter. Students hate makeup days. And now that I'm a grownup, a parent, I can't say I like them any better.

And the funniest thing of all is that the school year would go no later than June 11 even if we end up taking more days off school for the weather. Apparently, there are clauses in education at the state level that allow districts to declare "Acts of God" and be forgiven the time off.

Naturally, the other end of this spectrum will scream murder if schools said "meh, let's just shorten the year. It was cold." The critics will cry, "but the children need their education! How dare you deprive my Johnny of classroom time and valuable insights into the wisdom of our collective societal knowledge?!"

I believe in education. I also believe that warm June days were made for playgrounds, summer camp, the pool, bike rides, picnics, the zoo...there is a time to call it quits. C'est la vie. I'm just happy I live in America (rare patriotic moment)...I've heard lately of parents fined in Britain around 1000 pounds if they take their kids out of school at the wrong time for a holiday.

Me, I'm thankful to live somewhere that I can call the sick line, say my child won't be in today, and leave it at that.