The kids and I are famous this week! We had our picture in the New York Times as part of Pamela Paul’s story about how the back-to-school process is creeping back ever earlier, like Christmas nipping at the heels of Halloween. I was quoted extensively about my current expertise: an extreme dislike of this commercial, a thirty-second Target back-t0-school spot which started airing twice a minute before the Fourth of July sparklers even went on sale. (Perhaps I’m mostly just envious of the residual checks that actress must be getting.)
To me, what is even more perplexing than the expanding back-to-school shopping season is how school itself is back in session earlier and earlier. According to the Times article,
In Baton Rouge, La., children traipsed back to campus on Aug. 8 in 90-degree-plus heat, the same day school opened in sunny Palm Bay, Fla. Parents in the Brentwood area of Los Angeles are still lamenting the lopping off of summer vacation after their school district decided to reel children in three weeks early, on Aug. 14.
In New York City, my children will start school September 10th, a full week after Labor Day. (I’m not counting the “orientation” the Friday before, which will involve as much travel time to and fro as it will time in the classroom.) That means my kids are starting a MONTH later than their friends in Vero Beach, FL; three weeks later than their cousins in Omaha, NE; two weeks later than their cousins in Scranton, PA.
Based on my vast Facebook feed research, my kids are definitely the outliers. And I’m thrilled. Okay, yes, I’m ready to get my productive weekdays back. But it’s sunny and glorious and HOT outside, and I don’t think kids are supposed to go back to school until they’re so bored they’re cross-eyed. That’s the proper way of the world.
The other part of this that baffles me: my kids will be out of school around June 8th, 2013– and some of these same friends whose school years start earlier will still have schools in session for two or three weeks more. I’m not sure how my kids are getting away with such a relatively short school year on both ends.
Whatever happened to starting school after Labor Day? Whatever happened to August being part of the summer rather than part of the school year? When did your kids start school this year (or haven’t they)- and if your school district’s start dates are earlier than ever, how do you feel about that?
(Photo by Yana Paskova for the New York Times)