I'm sure this series of articles has been read and summarily forgotten. But I guarantee this week's particular practice (in New Zealand) is a polarizing one in America: modifying the traditional school calendar.
Many proponents of educational reform believe the American system of a traditional nine-month calendar (with two major breaks--winter and summer) actually impedes learning, especially for those students already behind academically; whereas, others contend the benefits of a lengthy summer vacation actually allows for a "recharging" of the academic batteries.
Regardless of our position in this debate, New Zealand considers this a moot point. The school calendar is divided into four terms having two-week breaks in between with an extended six-week summer break as well. New Zealand believes this format allows for greater retention of information.