Last week I read a discussion on Facebook in which professors speculated about how many students would attend class on the Friday before Thanksgiving.
I thought Thanksgiving was on Thursday and then many/most people not in the retail business also got the next day, Friday, off. Schools closed for both Thursday and Friday, and people traveled for the four-day holiday.
But, nope, these folks were talking about the Friday before Thanksgiving. They were discussing schools and work environments in which people get an entire week off for a Thanksgiving holiday. A week to give thanks? A week to shop? A week to catch up on schoolwork and write overdue term papers? I was puzzled.
Then over this past weekend, we were visiting our son (Adam Smith Palmer) and his family in Houston. Well, son-of-a-gun. The entire public school system there is shut down for all of Thanksgiving week. Why? What is the explanation?
Sure, it is nice to have more time off work (I'm mostly retired; believe me, I know!). At the same time, parents who do not get the entire week off must scramble to find daycare and other activities for their children for the first three days of the week.
And, of course, if students at university are given a three-day weekend or a week off (we had something called "reading week" or, euphemistically, "slack week" in February at UWO when I taught there) inevitably many students leave on the Friday or even Thursday preceding the week off from classes. I have even had parents call me to beg for mercy for their students when I scheduled an exam the last day before a holiday because the parents had booked tickets to some resort, leaving a few days before classes ended.
And people wonder why US productivity hasn't grown.... Sheesh, I feel like a curmudgeonly old codger.