Kids to go back to school early, but with longer fall break

Not all parents are entirely happy with Education Ministry "shuffle"; upcoming school year will start a week earlier than usual, on August 26.

First grade school children kids class 311 (photo credit: Marc Sellem Israel/The Jerusalem Post)
First grade school children kids class 311
(photo credit: Marc Sellem Israel/The Jerusalem Post)
The upcoming school year will start on Friday, August 26, nearly a week earlier than the usual starting date of September 1, the Education Ministry announced on Tuesday.
The earlier starting date does not mean a longer school year though, because the vacation days taken from the summer will be added on to holiday vacations throughout the year.
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These include three days between Yom Kippur and Sukkot, meaning students will have a holiday from October 7 to 23. Additionally, the Hannukah holiday will also be started a day early, on December 21, and the Passover holiday will begin a day early on March 28.
The Education Ministry said that the school year will continue to start on September 1 in the Arab, Druse, and Beduin school sectors, because of religious holidays at the end of August.
The Education Ministry said that a proposal to change the structure of the school year was presented to Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar (Likud) a year ago, and that he appointed a committee to examine the issue and present him with suggestions.
The ministry said that the committee suggested restructuring the semester to enable sustained studies up until the High Holy Days, to allow for schools to teach about the holidays beforehand.
Beit Hakerem resident Lisa Davidson-Oren, mother of a six-year-old son and a fouryear- old daughter said that she supports the move since her family usually travels to her native Scotland in early August – and a shorter vacation means less time that the kids will be out of school following the trip.
“It affects us positively in general... we fly to Scotland in August, and by August it’s so hot and we usually prefer to fly.
I’m delighted, but it’s kinda strange that they have to give these days back later in the year.”
She added that the extra days off during the High Holy Days and Pessah are a plus for her, because if she’s going to have to take time off to be with the kids “it’s more manageable this way, when the weather is more bearable than in August.”
News of the plan was greeted less favorably by Meny Kazaz, a 42-year-old owner of a real estate branch in Ra’anana and father of two daughters, Tal, 13, and Mor, 16. Kazaz said that he does not support the plan, and that it will create unnecessary burdens for parents like himself.
“I think the Education Ministry made a big mistake. Working people plan-out our vacation times far ahead, and our children are in summer camp until August and we need those last two weeks [in August] for vacations we take as a family.”
Kazaz said that he would support shortening the summer vacation “if the goal of it was to add school days and teaching hours to the school year, but it’s not.”
He also said that the holidays where the extra days will be added are already very long, thus it will be difficult for parents like him to take time off – then to watch their kids, who also won’t have the option of going to summer camp during those times.