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Map: Who has the longest and shortest summer break in Europe

Libby Nelson is Vox's policy editor, leading coverage of how government action and inaction shape American life. Libby has more than a decade of policy journalism experience, including at Inside Higher Ed and Politico. She joined Vox in 2014.

If you love summer vacation, it's way better to be a kid in Italy than in the United Kingdom. The Brits are pretty stingy on length of the annual break, this map from the European Commission shows, whereas Italian schools have some of the longest stretches off in the region.

K95xg4n Summer vacation is also luxuriously long in Bulgaria and the Baltic states.

Because the US doesn't have a uniform school year and summer vacation schedule, it's hard to tell where American schools stack up in comparison. But the largest districts in the US have a summer break of 11 to 12 weeks, or about two and a half months, according to data from the National Council on Teacher Quality. That's more time off than kids get in France, Germany, and Poland, and a bit longer than Finland and Norway.

How long summer vacation is, though, doesn't tell you much about how much time kids spend in school. The chart below shows that the 180-day school year for high schools in the US is about a week shorter than in other rich countries, on average, according to the Organization for Economic and Community Development.
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And how much time students spend in school doesn't necessarily correlate with how long they spend learning. In 2008, primary school teachers spent 1,097 hours per year teaching. The OECD average was just 786 hours.

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