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Should Election Day Be Homework Holiday?

For days, my son Aaron has been grumbling about the fact that he has two tests scheduled for the day after Election Day, a prospect that he declared to be anti-democratic and downright cruel. How's a good American supposed to follow the election returns if he's busy studying history and science?

Astonishingly, the kid's prayers were answered this weekend, when an email edict from the head of his school wiped the slate clear and granted all students a homework- and test-free window in which to watch the results of Tuesday's vote.

Now, the challenge goes to every other school superintendent and principal: Free the next generation from the chains of homework, for just one night, so they can go with their parents to stand in the queue to vote and so they can head home and watch the collection and reporting of the people's choice.

If your school's principal has ruled one way or the other on homework or day-after tests, please name names on the comments board below. And if this is a discussion or debate that's going on at your school, please contact Post education reporter Valerie Strauss at straussv@washpost.com or 202 334 6914.

For the inspiration of those principals who may still be mulling offering students some relief Tuesday night, here's the text of the missive that Peter Branch, the head at Georgetown Day School, which my kids attend, sent explaining his decision:

When I was growing up in Northampton, Massachusetts, where Smith College is located, one day each fall the President of the College, without any notice, would declare some morning "Mountain Day." All classes would be canceled and the students were free to take off for the mountains, or elsewhere, to enjoy the fall.

This November 4, we celebrate the quadrennial event of a Presidential election. As Head of GDS, I am exercising my power of pardon, of grace, and of sheer excitement to declare the night of November 4 a Homework-Free-Night and the day of November 5 a Paper-Free and Test-Free-Day! Everyone is expected to glue themselves to whatever news source they believe the most reliable to follow this most remarkable election to its conclusion. This is truly a once in every four years learning experience. May the best person win!

By Marc Fisher |  November 3, 2008; 1:49 PM ET
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Comments

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That's so charming. Why not?! If the kids are excited about following the elections, I see no reason to discourage them or their families from enjoying the messy, passionate spectacle of American democracy! Spontaneity in education is a wonderful tool is capturing student attention and making learning fun.

Posted by: Green_Ipod | November 3, 2008 3:00 PM

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