Are two week school vacations necessary?

California isn't known for the quality of it's elementary and secondary schools - which is sad because they apparently were state of the art many years ago. I realize that we don't have snow days out here and that the children are in school for 180 days by law.  But did you know that 90 minutes can constitute a "day"? I think we can expect more.  Including single week (ok- 9 day) holiday breaks.

In New Jersey, where I grew up - near the Jersey Shore that is being ridiculously parodied by a reality TV show - we did have snow days and we didn't have two week school vacations.  In fact, we went to school through to December 23rd and returned on January 2nd unless one of those days was on a weekend. 

Here are the problems with two week school vacations. First, that's a long time for the kids to get out of the school rhythm.  Consequently, they are likely to have an actual adjustment upon returning.  One week off is enough to get a mental break without forgetting how to work or be in school.  Ah yes, work is the second problem.  If both parents work or have some semblance of a life during the day there are now two full weeks to fill.  And that's a very expensive extended vacation or a recipe for cabin fever.  Third - starting and ending every vacation on a weekend leads to some expensive travel as every family traveling flies those days.  There's nothing wrong with starting mid-week.  Third, the camps and other activities add more cost to families - unless a parent takes off from work (or other responsibilities) for two weeks. Which is a long time to be off work too.

The public schools in our area give two weeks (or more) off for Winter Holidays.  I think that led our private school to do the same thing.  My kids are loving the winter sports camps I found for them - and we'll leave for vacation in a day or so.  In the spring, my school will close for two weeks again because of Passover - which occurs mid-week.  It's helpful for people traveling to family and maybe that's the majority. But I'm not sure two weeks off from school is a good idea.  Save that treat for college. What do you think?