"My family is going on vacation for a week, I need the assignments I'll miss." Times three, and it's only (and already) the third week of school.
I'm not going to say that parents shouldn't be allowed to take students out of school for just about any reason they want, whether the absence is excused by the state or not. What I'm saying is should they take kids out of school for vacations? Is it the right decision? And again, we're not talking only missing a couple periods for some reason, or taking off on Friday to make a long weekend, we're talking about scheduling a week-long family trip somewhere.
Yes, I know we're entering "shoulder season", when the costs of flights and hotels are cheaper than during the summer months. Honestly, though, doesn't that merit a "so what?"
And some could argue that in certain locations, "the kid will learn a lot more going there than they'd learn in school." On that argument I call BS. If I were to go to Krakow (my new favorite wannna-go-there city) for a week, I could visit the historical sites and the museums and such, but would I really learn "a week's worth" of material, whatever that means? And even if I got some history out of it--and knowing how much I get into that sort of thing, you know I'd be on the extreme positive end of the learning curve--would I get a week's worth of math out of it? And does a teenager get to decide what to do and see and learn, or does he/she do what the parents do, which may or (more likely) may not have anything to do with education?
No one who reads this blog can say I don't value travel or don't think people can get a lot out of it. What I question is this:
1) Is the purpose of the travel for the kids to learn, or is that merely an excuse the parents use to justify it to themselves?
2) Is school time an appropriate time to plan vacations?
3) Does anyone think a student will do better in school by missing a significant amount of time?
My opinion: planning vacations during school shows contempt for the education we're supposed to be providing for kids. It says that you value your personal happiness more than you value your kid's education.
So given that, why even bother having your kid gather up all the homework he/she will miss? If you're in Krakow (or London, or the Serengeti or Jamaica or...) and your kid is learning so much there, when will he/she even have time to do all this schoolwork he/she is missing?
I think it's a bad call for parents to make. A very bad call.