Short Summer | Urban Living

Short Summer



I'm a college graduate. I was awarded two degrees in three majors back when they gave out diplomas on sheepskins. OK, no, I'm not quite that old, but I do get that urge to buy three-ring binders and pencils this time of year. Don't be too impressed, as my ADHD and OCD led me to take many classes and change majors many times. Then, when I couldn't get a job in my chosen profession (no one would hire an out gay person back then), I went back to college and designed another degree for myself that worked.

Hell, Burning Man hasn't even happened yet, but students are already being forced to end their summers to sit in lecture halls soon. It seems far too early to me. Classes begin at the University of Utah, Dixie State, Southern Utah University and Utah Valley University on Monday, Aug. 22. Westminster College, Snow College and Salt Lake Community College follow with classes starting Aug. 24. BYU, Weber State and Utah State's first day is Aug. 29. All schools in the Salt Lake City School District start Aug. 22.

So much for summer vacation. But be thankful if you're a student because you could be going all year long without much time off, as most of us adults do. CNN reported last year that when our public education system started in the 1800s, school calendars were different depending on the needs of the local community. In big cities, schools were open practically year-round—like 240 days a year. Then again, if you lived in farmland, you'd never go to school during planting and harvest seasons.

As Utah became inhabited by white settlers, schools would pop up at church meeting houses during the weekdays. These structures were often the largest and most accessible buildings in town. In 1851, the Office of Territorial Superintendent of Schools was created here to standardize curriculum. Really odd to me is that between 1867-1900, over 100 private elementary and secondary schools were established by Utah Presbyterians and Methodists who didn't want their kids educated along with Mormons. The Free Public School Act was passed by the Legislature in 1890 and despite outcries from some, the private school form of education dwindled and almost disappeared in favor of a public school system. We still have our private schools, though, from Challengers to Juan Diego, Rowland Hall and McGillis, Montessori and Madeleine Choir and on and on.

Remember to slow the F down in school zones—a $400 ticket is not what you want to budget for the remainder of your summer fun!

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