I’ve always found it somewhat strange/confusing that September is considered a “fall” month, even though summer doesn’t technically end until the month is more than two-thirds over. (I feel the same about the other seasons: how is it that winter doesn’t begin until December 22?!) However, despite what my calendar (and the 90-degree weather) is telling me, Autumn Fever is in the air, and with it comes the start of a new school year. I know that many areas have been back in school for almost a month now, but the schools around us just started back up this week. Now that the kids are all putting their freshly-sharpened pencils to good use, I thought it would be fun to share some back-to-school trivia. Whether or not you are starting school yourself, enjoy this back-to-school lesson and share it with your favorite student.
A History Lesson
- The oldest public school in the United States—Boston’s Latin School—was founded in 1635. Among the school’s alumni are Benjamin Franklin, John Hancock, and Samuel Adams.
- For centuries, an elementary education was only available to America’s wealthy. This changed in the 1840s when reformers tried to get tax funding for schools because they thought that if education was free, more people would attend, resulting in better citizens and decreased crime rates.
- Prior to the 1930s, most Americans only completed eight years of school. During the Great Depression, communities had little work to offer so they began enforcing a high school education for teenagers to keep them out of the work force.
- At one time, geography determined when students attended classes: in small rural areas, school went from December to March and from May to August so that kids could help plant in the spring and harvest in the fall. In urban areas, schools were off in the summer when hot, crowded classrooms could foster the spread of disease.
- Crayola produces nearly 3 billion crayons each year, an average of 12 million daily.
- The average pencil can write 45,000 words or draw a line 35 miles long.
- Before the invention of erasers, a rolled-up piece of white bread was used to erase graphite.
- By the time a child turns 10, he will have worn down approximately 730 crayons and will have spent an average of 28 minutes per day coloring.
- In the Color Census of 2000, blue was voted the favorite crayon color, while tan, tumbleweed, and spring green were voted the least-favorite colors.
- 6% of kids ages 6-11, and 11% of kids aged 12-17, will repeat at least one grade of school.
- The average salary for public school teachers in 2008 was $50,758, and for principals in the same year, the average salary was $97,486.
- There are close to 8 million teachers in the United States.
- Americans spent $8.5 billion on back-to-school clothes in 2012.
- The tradition of giving apples to teachers dates back to the 16th century in Denmark, when parents paid educators with food since teachers couldn’t live off their small salaries.
- The length of summer vacations varies among countries: in Ethiopia, summer vacation is 12-15 weeks long, depending on the school. In Germany, students get a six-week vacation.
- School hours also differ in other countries. In Brazil, school runs from 7 a.m. to noon because students go home to share lunch with their families, and in Mexico, students go to school Monday through Friday with elective classes on Saturdays.
- The biggest school in the world (in terms of pupils) is the City Montessori school in Lucknow, India, which was establish by the Ghandi’s in 1959 and has more than 32,000 students.
- A study done by Yale University ranked the crayon as #18 on the list of most recognizable scents.
- 67% of kids say that they like school.
- In a poll of more than 1500 teachers, 93% of teachers said they feel obligated to buy school supplies for their classrooms with their own money.
- According to one study, teachers should avoid using red pens because the color red can upset students and negatively impact student-teacher relations.
- Didaskaleinophobia is the fear of going to school. More than 2% of school-aged children are considered to have it, on an international level.
And one more just for fun . . . J.K. Rowling announced on Twitter this week that this past Tuesday was the first day at Hogwarts for James S. Potter, Harry Potter and Ginny Weasley’s oldest son.
Do you have an interesting back-to-school story or piece of trivia to share? I’d love to hear it!