Schools out, schools out, teacher let the monkeys out! No more homework, no more books; no more teachers dirty looks!
I try not to use pics that have words on them, especially web addresses. But I made an exception for this.
Some of you will know who those kids are. Some wont. Allow me to full you in.
They are all characters from an English comic called 'Beano'. And Beano, the comic, has been around a lot longer than Beano, the anti-fart pill. The featured character would be that dashing young fellow in the lower left. That's Dennis the Menace. (and yes, he's much older than the US version). His dog is shown as well. That's Gnasher. Beano was first published in 1938, and was so popular that during WWII, even though there were paper and ink shortages, it was still published every other week. (it alternated with 'The Dandy', another popular comic).
I have fond memories of reading Beano, The Dandy, Cheeky, The Topper, Beezer, Nutty, Eagle and 2000AD. I'd get them all every week. Yes, every week. These were all weekly comics. They weren't the same quality of paper as US comics. They were on the same paper as newspapers. And they weren't generally serials that told stories from week to week. (Eagle and 2000AD were. Dan Dare fought the Mekon in Eagle, and Judge Dredd was in 2000AD. I started reading it just as they introduced Judge Death!) They mostly told 2-3 page stories with several characters per comic. If you get a chance, check some out.
I still have a few of my old Beanos and Cheekys. Plus a couple of annuals. (annuals were produced at christmas time and were bigger versions of the comics, in hardcover) Excuse me while go find them.....
So where was I? Oh yeah. I was rambling on about English comics I read back in the early 80's. But enough about that, it's time to move onto todays oddity; Summer Break!
How unfair is it that kids get the summer off and we don't? That's why I rejoice when kids I know graduate. For example, my bosses daughter just graduated last weekend. She is starting college in the fall. I made it a point to emphasize the fact that this is the last summer she will ever have to goof off. She does have a job, but it's only part time. About 15 hours a week. When I pointed out that for the rest of her life, she was going to have to spend every summer working while kids got to slack off, she actually looked a little sad.
Her dad had a big ol shit eating grin on his face the whole time I was telling her this. It was fairly obvious that the fact she was loosing summers hadn't dawned on her yet.
I'm a dick.
But, why do kids get the summer off? Many people think it had to do with farm kids getting the summer off to help out on the farm. Too bad that's wrong. Farm kids got the spring and fall off to help with planting and harvesting. They went to school in the summer and winter. Kids in the city went year round.
This started to change as cities got larger. As a city grew, you got more buildings built of brick and stone. Materials which held heat well. This made the schools in the city turn into ovens during the summer. And the rate of truancy skyrocketed.
In the later part of the 19th century, things were changing. Unions were becoming powerful, and the 8 hour day/40 hour work week were becoming the norm. So, the gub'mint decided to do some interferin' with peoples lives.
They started by making school mandatory. They said kids had to spend 200 days a year in school, but they didn't care when. (until then, school wasn't compulsory, and the school year was about 260 days long).
Urban schools decided to give the kids the hot months off. Remember, there wasn't any air conditioning, and electric fans were scarce and expensive. Rural schools moved to the same schedule as the cities so they wouldn't fall behind.
So it was less about giving kids time off and more about getting them the hell out of the ovens they were using as schools.
Every now and then, talk of year round school pops up again. I have to say, it would make me happy. I mean, my summers are ruined by work, why shouldn't kids summers be ruined by school?
Again.....I'm a dick.