School Bokeh originally uploaded by Ryan M.
According to this opinion piece on CNN.com, United States students are lagging behind other countries not only because of poor education funding, poor educators kept in place by broken systems, and simply lack of drive but mainly because we have a three month long summer vacation. The suggested solution? A longer school, up to 220 days and no more summers off.
From the article:
Then there’s this: Harris Cooper, a summer-learning expert at Duke University, pored over a century’s worth of data and found that each summer, our kids lose about a month of progress in math and that low-income students lose as much as three months’ worth of reading comprehension.
Again, that’s each summer.
While the article notes that historically the reasoning for our summers off matched up well with our agrarian roots, now that the majority of children in the US spend their summer vacation playing video games and watching TV instead the author suggests that we have a lot of work to do in order to compete on a global scale.
But would moving to year round schooling really fix the problems the schools are having properly educating our children? We’re apparently spending, on average, $30,000 more per student than any other Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development country and yet we’re ranked 25 out of 34 within that group. Would moving to year round schooling really help the situation that much?
The biggest issue impeding this supposedly necessary change is simply American’s reluctance to permit change. The desire to keep summer vacations alive simply because we’ve been doing it seemingly forever. However, people have spent their lives planning around school and it’s unlikely that many will take kindly to the idea that their summer plans have to change because we’re unable to properly educate our children for less money. Am I really supposed to give up my three week long vacation this summer so that Johnny and Suzie can avoid being usurped by children in other countries who are held to a much higher educational standard than we are? Will adding 40 more days to the school calendar really help save our children from a system based on poor standards and low expectations?
What do you think about the idea of moving to year-round schooling? Do you agree that it will be the single biggest thing which could work to save our failing educational system? Would you be upset if the school year went year-round and eliminated your ability to vacation at length without yanking your children out of school for weeks at a time? Are you fearful that the big dollars we’re spending on education is not providing our children with the educations they need to be competitive on a global scale? What suggestions do you have which could fix the problems we’re facing? Whatever you have to say about this one go ahead and comment on as I’d love to hear what you have to say.