Why Do Schools Have “Winter Break” in Late December?

I recently saw a sign on a grade school announcing “Winter Break Starts Dec. 21st.”  How odd, I thought, to have Winter Break start on the first day of winter.  Why not have it more toward the middle of the season, perhaps in late January?  It would space the time more evenly between Thanksgiving and Spring Break.  By having it then, it might also save some “snow days” for February.

And speaking of Spring Break, it is usually held in the early part of spring to accommodate the school year.  The middle of the season rationale, say late April or early May, doesn’t work in this case.  Having it then would create havoc with final exams and graduations.  And it’s not as though Spring Break is being timed to be in line with an observance of something special.  Well, way back when I was in grade school (1960’s), the break landed around Easter.  To comply with political correctness, that association was done away with.

Placing Winter Break in late January is sensible because it’s when the weather is likely to be more truly wintery and it is a more efficient spacing of holiday breaks.  New Year’s Day could be accommodated with a single off day, in the same way Labor Day is accounted for.

Of course, the “Christian Right” might fuss about treating Christmas Day as an ordinary day.  I’m sure something could be worked out.  However, we must be careful not to allow these fanatics to observe December 25th as a some sort of holiday similar to New Year’s.  Doing that might start to reverse the hard work already spent brushing aside the First Amendment via the HHS mandate which is also endangering the Catholic Church’s charities, hospitals, schools and other organizations standing in the way of President Obama’s initiatives.



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