Mardi Gras season is upon us, which means there are more days that our children are not in school. Between Mardi Gras, Christmas, summer, fall and spring breaks, in-services and professional development days as well as inevitable storms, when are kids in school? Hard rain on the first day of school — cancel it. Have a winning football season — we’ll take off for that too. Absences due to New Orleans’ traditions combined with the archaic custom of an agrarian school calendar are self-imposed barriers to educational progress.