Should we move to year-round k-12 education?
"Everybody deserves a vacation—teachers and students, too," the Wausau Daily Herald says in a Guest Views editorial we'll be running Thursday. "For students, though, the problem is that when a vacation comes all at once in the form of summer months off, all that knowledge they’ve spent time and effort to learn can evaporate like so much summer dew. In fact, there is mounting evidence that having summers off from school is bad for learning."
That's why teachers know they'll spend the first weeks of the new school year reviewing stuff students learned the previous year. Research also shows that this loss of lessons is especially pronounced for poor students, the editorial says. "That’s the at-risk group the system naturally should focus the most on helping; it’s also the group that is more likely to have poor scores on high-stakes standardized tests."
The Wausau paper notes that most places that have enacted year-round school have maintained almost the same amount of time off. That’s important so kids have time to spend with family or traveling and so teens can work, volunteer or enjoy recreational pursuits. Don't think of year-round schooling as not having breaks. Instead, "it is school with vacations reasonably and efficiently allocated.
"Summer vacation came about in agrarian times when the break was needed so children could tend the farm. Those days are gone. Most working parents don’t have three months off to spend with their kids, and we don’t need summer vacation anymore—it’s not worth the costs to student learning."
What do you think? Does year-round school sound like a reasonable idea?
Greg Peck can be reached at (608) 755-8278 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Or follow him on Twitter or