California could cut school year by several weeks

That’s the headline of a recent article in the San Jose Mercury News. The article states:

While plans aren’t settled or even proposed, Gov. Jerry Brown and other officials have suggested that without new revenues, California’s 180-day school year could be shortened by as much as five weeks in 2011-12. That’s one-seventh of the school year.

The most straightforward way to cut government’s role in education is not to create a complicated voucher system that could easily morph into more government spending but to cut government spending.

Of course, there are transition problems, which the article highlights: renegotiating union contracts, for instance. Also the article mentions the fact that many parents will have trouble adjusting to the lack of what is, essentially, a baby-sitting service. But remember that this will happen if the temporary tax increases, set to expire this year, are not allowed to expire. So while people will lose baby-sitting, they’ll keep more of their money than otherwise. The taxes that are set to expire are broad-based: sales taxes, vehicle taxes, and income taxes. That means that a broad swath of the population will see their taxes fall.

I loved the last two grafs of the article:

But Sam Gavenman, 16, a sophomore at Los Altos High, pointed out that the end of the school year doesn’t really involve all that much learning.
“Every year since elementary school, the last two weeks have always been watching movies and hanging out in the classroom, which is great,” he said. “It’s that end-of-the-year mentality, I’m chilling.”

For many kids, especially the counterparts of co-blogger Bryan, this could be a mini step in the direction of the last scene in the movie, “Hope and Glory.”