Speaking at the national conference of the American Council of Education in March, U.S. Secretary of Education Richard Riley said that limiting school summer vacations to a month would enable students and teachers to learn about technological developments that are moving too quickly for them to absorb in the standard school year.

Teacher organizations did not have an immediate reaction to Riley’s comments, but a representative from the National PTA said the organization “is open to new ideas for vacations, as long as they suit the needs of the local communities.”

Riley said the internet and other technology is changing the way education can be provided to students, while also raising the importance of understanding technology. He likened a longer school year to the continuing education that so many adults pursue in the workplace today.

Secondary schools start the process of training students, and it is up to colleges and universities to finish the job, he added: “If students have no opportunity to learn and use technology after they graduate from grade school and high school, they will be going into a foreign world, where they may never catch up.”