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Time for Year-Round School to Stop the ‘Summer Slide’? Patch Poll

It’s summer, and kids thoughts turn to mush, some proponents of a year-round calendar for America’s public school students argue. But is that the only way to increase U.S. students’ global competitiveness?

As schools close across the country for a three-month summer break, the question is as perennial as the blooms of summer: Should public schools go to a 12-month calendar and extend school days to increase U.S. students' global competitiveness?

The subject got renewed interest after a brutal winter in which students missed several consecutive days of school due to heavy snowfall, extreme cold from back-to-back polar vortex weather patterns, power outages and other weather-related events. In some school districts in Michigan, students missed as many as a dozen days.

Michigan’s governor, Rick Snyder, is joined by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in supporting year-round schools, USA Today reported in February. The concept involves adding more days, as well as shorter, more frequent breaks to the calendar.

Duncan thinks more hours in school “better prepares children to be successful in the 21st century.”

In a blog on The Huffington Post, “The Call to Teach: An Introduction to Teaching” author Matthew Lynch argues that though too few schools have adopted year-round calendars to scientifically measure their impact, it’s clear that at-risk students perform better without long summer breaks.

His conclusion is backed up in a 2011 report by The RAND Corp., which said the “summer slide” disproportionately affects low-income students.

But opponents say the research on year-round schools isn’t conclusive enough to justify additional operational costs. Tina Bruno, executive director of The Coalition for a Traditional School Calendar, says more time in school isn’t necessarily better.

“If we are really concerned and feel kids need more academic time, we can better use the time we have," Bruno told USA Today. "What we really need to focus on is providing students with the learning programs they need before we just say 'Give them more, it'll make it better.' “

Robbing children and their families of a long summer break isn’t the only suggestion to stop the learning leakage.

In an editorial for CNN, the chief executive of a national nonprofit says the summer learning loss is real and parents should find real-world activities to help reinforce brainy concepts of physics, for example, and come up with other ways to keep their children involved in learning.

Project Lead The Way CEO Vince Bertram points to research that shows kids lose about two months’ worth of learning in the summer, meaning that when they return to school in the fall, teachers have to spend the first few weeks of school in remedial sessions.

Tell Us:

  • Should America’s public schools adopt a year-round calendar? Take our poll and share your thoughts in the comments.

Gary Tobin June 22, 2014 at 01:18 PM
Year round school will be another effort in take the kids from their parents and eliminate the parents from their kids' education. The less the parents know and the less time the parents spend with kids the more the government likes it. Mr. Bill Gates says, "Parents are the worst influence on their kids". And we all know Mr. Gates leads the efforts on Common Core and the endocrine of the kids. I would suggest eliminate Common Core, let the teachers teach the kids and not the teacher teach to take the test. Test are fine, make it a surprise test. When the kids get to school they take their Standardized Test. No prep, no teacher's teaching to the test or the schools over dramatizing the test. "Make sure you get enough sleep, eat a good healthy breakfast, try not to walk to school, buses will pick up kids, there will be healthy food and drinks before you test and during your breaks”. Eliminate the food and drinks and that is an ordinary day for the kids. These tests have no value to the kids or their teachers and they are the grass roots. I say BULL, take the test on an ordinary day because that is a standard day for the kids. The teacher evaluation system has nothing to do with the kids learning or what level they are at. It is to make sure the teachers are teaching to the test. Observing the teachers to make sure they are on the “right / test” path. The kids will learn what the teachers teach. Keep in mind, the state education leaders, the politicians, district personal and the teachers are all a products of the old systems, before No Child Left Behind and before Common Core. Somewhere, somehow or maybe someday the Federal Government, State Government, Local Government and School Districts will realize the grassroots to education are the teachers, the parents, the communities and foremost THE KIDS. The grassroots nave to be the primary crop for education to be successful…..
Jrs June 22, 2014 at 04:33 PM
Remember -- teachers are only getting paid for 180 or so days. Expect HUGE increases in budgets. Year round school would be great... but lets also include A/C in those budgets too. Summer slide only happens because towns/cities/counties won't fund schools the way they SHOULD be funded. Don't expect kids to learn in 90 degree weather with 100% humidity. Not going to happen!
Gus R. Horvath June 22, 2014 at 06:35 PM
Guess you guys were not around in the 1970s when Madison had a year round study committee. We had to go in hiding as parents were incensed that the summer vacation would be truncated and children in different grades would be in or out of school at different times. We on the committee thought we would be lynched after the public hearing.
Chuck June 23, 2014 at 08:27 AM
OK, regarding 'added resources' required for year round schooling - not true. The practice is widespread in several western states, and it was motivated primarily to AVOID building additional schools. Basically, children go to school six consecutive weeks, then have two off. The student population is divided into four groups (A, B, C, D)and one of the groups is always on 'vacation', so only 3/4 of the total student body is attending school. As a result, a facility capable of handling 750 students actually serves 1000. The difference is you don't have overcrowded schools nine months a year that sit empty the other three. Regarding 'family vacations' - accommodations are made to assure children in the same families are in the same grouping (a, b, etc.) so their vacations align. Many families actually enjoy having the opportunity to vacation several times year round instead on summer only (family ski trip, anyone?).
RoN MeXiCo June 23, 2014 at 11:46 AM
Universal pre-k, and year round school. How about you just turn your kids over to the government at birth?

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