DailyDirt: School Is Out For Summer

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

It’s that time of year again: kids are about to go back to school in the US. (And for some of them, it’s a time to try to skim quickly through their assigned summer reading lists.) While some families still have time to squeeze in a real vacation, the debate over whether summer vacation should exist in the US educational system continues — are summer vacations a horrible anachronism that should be abolished? Here are just a few links on the topic of learning (or the lack thereof) over the summer months.

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Comments on “DailyDirt: School Is Out For Summer”

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Wally (profile) says:

There are a few problems with cutting summer vacations on a national level.

1. Most teachers, after they’ve had their vacation…typically take summer off to tweak and create next year’s curriculum. This includes writing up their own tests differently from last year.

2. Summer is typically a very hot time of year. The operations cost for running the air conditioning (that is if the school building actually has one) far outweigh the cost of running a heater.

3. There is no correlation between GPA performance and economic situations concerning students. Students from poorer families are often more motivated to escape their conditions thus it drives them to do well…a homeless girl in my graduating class got Magnum Cum Laude….on a 4.0 GPA…in every single year… and we are talking straight A’s and nothing less… of her K-12 career.

4. Mount Vernon, Ohio has the top 8 Elementary Grade schools (k-5) in the US….this includes government expectancies for Physical Education, and Academics. That city school district hasn’t cut recess time in 30 years…and still hasn’t jumped the bandwagon to cut recess time…why? It us because children do a lot better and stay focused having 30 minute breaks every 45 minutes.

5. Most of the studies that suggest that summer time might have an affect on the GPA of a poor student come from charter schools who would stand to get a huge profit from year round schooling for children in the US k-12 system.

Anonymous Coward says:

“Do summer vacations create unequal opportunities for kids, and can year-round schooling solve some of the achievement gap problems in the US?”

So is it somehow better if the school calendar is such that no student can possibly do extra work to get ahead? Vacations should be so short that extra classes are impossible, because it’s unfair that only some can take them?

I admit that books can be expensive, but the library is free. There’s no reason why a parent can’t require their child to read a few books over summer break (or read to them, if they are younger.)

Rekrul says:

I never really liked school and a large part that was due to the large amount of writing involved. At the time, I didn’t have access to a computer, so everything had to be written by hand. I could have used a typewriter, but I was never a great typist. On a computer, correcting typos is easy, on a typewriter, it would take forever.

It wasn’t just reports either. In most every class in high school, you were basically expected to take down everything the teacher said. In one science class, the teacher would actually fill the blackboard with information and the students were expected to copy it down verbatim. In fact, in that class and some others, we were actually graded on how complete our notebooks were.

Now imagine what it was like for someone who writes about at half the speed of everyone else. There was no way I could keep up.

Then there was algebra. The teacher showed us how to solve one type of equation, then assigned us problems from the textbook. Invariably, there would be problems that didn’t conform to anything we’d learned up to that point. Maybe the idea was to get us to figure out how to solve them on our own. I’ve never been particularly good at math, so they just left me scratching my head.

The classes I did best in were the ones where the teachers were friendly and easy-going and who made them fun. When I had classes with an impersonal teacher droning on about random facts, I did poorly.

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