Kids will like it, if no one else does

Published 9:14 pm Tuesday, May 15, 2012


There is a television commercial that caught my attention the other night. It was the song playing along with the wonderful happy images that made me smile.

A chorus sings, “On the first warm day in May …” As the music plays, you see children running, beautiful outdoor scenes with flowers blooming and many happy people. I have no idea what it is advertising, but it reminded me of how I felt as a child when the first warm days arrived and I knew summer was almost here.

Of course, this year summer vacation has folks stirred up and is a hot political topic in Alabama. There is much discussion and arguing about the legislature’s recent passage of a bill to make the break from school longer this year.

First, the governor rather liked the idea, and then local schools said it took control of the school calendar out of their hands, something they did not like. Of course, the tourism industry is giddy at the thought of families having more time to spend money visiting vacation spots.

That left the governor between a rock and a hard place. So, he finally vetoed the bill. Guess he figured education folks influenced more votes than tourism people.

Anyway, if I understand it correctly, as it stands right now, the new school year will not begin before August 20, adding a couple of weeks to summer for students and teachers throughout the state.

The wisdom of this extension as it relates to students retaining what they learned during school and the ultimate success of said students is up for debate. However, one answering argument for a longer summer is that the schools won’t have to keep buildings cool during some of the hottest days, which saves money and that means more money to use in the classroom — thus helping insure success of said students.

And back and forth it goes. One side for a longer break. The other side adamantly opposed to the idea.

But wait, perhaps there is another voice that needs hearing in this conversation. A voice directly affected by the decisions made about the length of the school year.

Kids — that is who I wanted to hear speak on the subject and the other day I heard one of those voices via Facebook when a friend posted a conversation she had with her son. She wrote:

“Evan was counting down the days left in school and I said, ‘Yep, only 12 more days and you will officially be a third grader. His reply. No, only 12 more days and I will officially be in summer.'”

And I’m betting he is glad that summer will officially be longer this year. In fact, I’m pretty sure most kids in Alabama are doing a happy dance about having more time out of the classroom. I would have when I was a kid in school.

If those Alabama students sang in that commercial I like it might go something like this:

“On the first warm day in May, they vetoed the governor — hurray.”

(Oh, on an interesting side note — the Senate is also about to pass or may have already passed a bill to allow the sale of beer in larger bottles. Add that to a longer summer vacation … Is Alabama a great state or what.)