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Dr. Joanne Meier

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Year round school: What do you think?

June 30, 2009

I read with interest this story from the Washington Post that describes one family's experience with year round school.

As a Mom who juggles work and young kids, the transition to summer for my family is nothing short of absolutely chaotic. My house has become nothing but bags (one for camp, one for swim team, one for bug spray and sunscreen, etc) and wet towels from the pool. We've been out of school since June 5 and we've yet to find our summer groove.

From Schulte's Post article:
Both President Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan have called the traditional school day and school year outdated and inadequate for the demands of 21st-century life. Students in countries that routinely outscore the United States on international tests go to school for as many as 230 days each year, 50 more than kids typically attend here. "Go ahead and boo me," Duncan said in April to Denver students. "I think schools should be open six, seven days a week, eleven, twelve months a year."

And we know the effect of summer on kids at risk, the "summer slide" that eats away at the progress kids make during the school year. Year-round school doesn't have to mean the same thing every day all year long. As Schulte describes, her school uses intersessions, which are designed to be full of hands-on, big project classes.

Clearly this is a big topic, one I'm touching on too lightly to present all the issues clearly. But for me, this week, year round school doesn't sound half bad.

In case you're interested, Brigid Schulte did an online Question/Answer following the publication of her article.

Comments

More school seems to mean taking more and more teaching opportunities away from parents! I like having the summer to try to focus on things I want to learn with my kids. We can do projects and hands on things ourselves too! I get annoyed when parents think school is responsible for teaching everything. Duncan sounds like he likes this school of thought, so I guess everyone has his opinion. Don't you think teachers need time to regroup also? I have always thought it is such a demanding job that they need the time to rejuvenate. Being the nation with the highest academic scores does not mean the nation is "the best." I shudder to think of sending my kids away any more than they already are! :(

I have to say that I won't continue teaching if it reaches a year around status. I DO need that time to regroup, focus on professional development, and have some time for myself that I do not get September through June. We will lose so many good teachers if this happens. I am angry that parents can't even handle 2 summer months with their kids. The reasons our country is falling behind others on tests is not because school is not open 7 days a week (trust me, at that point kids would be off the wall). Our problem is the ever changing society, more two-working parents, poverty, etc. where kids come to school with little to no support at home. Teachers cannot be responsible for everything. I get angry that we continue and contine to try to find the best solution for this country and our kids and it continues to get worse and worse! My parents always told me they looked so forward to summer vacation: it meant spending all the time they wanted with their children, camping, outings, etc. Now parents want more time away. Wow.

Guess what, folks, lots of people (yes, two working parents) just don't have the luxury of "spending all the time they want with their children" in the summer. On the contrary, they are lucky to have more than 2 weeks vacation to spend with their kids. Sure, it's great if parents can spend time teaching and playing with their kids all summer. But for some parents the juggling they have to do in the summer is not about wet towels and gym bags but cobbling together child care and summer camps to cover all the time the kids are out of school but the parents are at work.Year-round school does not mean year-round child care. It could mean that schools actually have more time to do project-based work and include more arts and enrichment activities. It will prevent the summer slide in skills and yes, it will give those kids who don't have support at home, a chance to get some meaningful attention. I'd really like to see this be a national discussion.

i love school but i also love a break from it some times so i can relax i also see my family dearing the summer so if we have school i wont see them

Who is footing the bill for year-round schools? Has President Obama considered the financial impact such a reform would have on already over-burdened schools? Many schools, like the elementary schools in my district, do not have air conditioning. Physically, there is no way that students could work in these classrooms during the hot summer months. Who would pay for the costly installation of air conditioning units in these schools and the additional revenue involved in keeping schools functioning throughout the summer? Does Obama think teachers and support staff would be willing to donate their time working both extended hours and an extended calendar year or that their unions would allow that? Who will pay for the increased salaries for teachers and support staff? This is so typical of educational reform. Policies are changed before financial feasibility is considered. Is the government going to allocate additional money to schools to cover all of these costs? Or will they expect school districts who are operating on already tight and sometimes overdrawn budgets to miraculously do so? We can barely pass renewal levies in this limping economy. Will Washington really expect us to ask our financially-challenged communities to support additional school taxes? Before this goes any further, educational reformers need to look, not just at what they see as benefits to year-round school, but at the financial feasibility of such a plan in our current economic situation.So, I ask again: President Obama, who is footing the bill for year-round school?

i think everyone is being really wrong if you think year round school is bad.Let me tell you,if you actually looked into it that might change your mind instead of judging it because that is stupid if you just look at an article and think it is horrible.Its helpful to know what you are talking about before you judge things people!!!. year round school would be great for the kids. parents no one cares about you! trust me kids would rather be with their friends. Plus if you really are worried, they get quite a bit more holiday break than they do in traditional school! Thats the time you want to spend with your children, they don't want to be with you in the summer!! Plus they learn more with out the teacher trying to cram all the information in their heads in 180 days. Everyone would much rather do it and parents are being really unreasonable and rude. Its called THE FUTURE! which means people grow to get smarter and develop technology! So i am sorry if you want no technological advancements to be made fine. Your wrong and stupid. Get over yourselves, this is better for everything. Everyone agrees! Why can't you!! It's the best thought America has thought of in a while. It will improve everything. So I believe Year round school is amazing and we should really go for it!

NO!!!!!!!!! you cant make kids go back to school all year around! its not right we wait all year for the summer break. we want to be with our friends. have summer fun. not sit in a hot sticky school all day. your going to cram so much into our heads kids wont like school at all! i dont think you parents understand your not in school now a days. if you really wanna take summer away from us go ahead since i cant stop it just know that your making a big mistake

Everyday kids go to school with no break but then you get summer vacation. If you have school year round it will be hard but you will learn more and it gives parents more of a break. I think that for you kids out there the good thing is you don't forget things over break and it prepares you for the real world.

you still have breaks. the most common way of doing it is going for 45 days and then getting 15 days off. you really have the same amount of days of school as the traditional way.I dont support year-round school but you still have to look at the facts.

I think this is a dumb thing to do! We are going to end up being stressed out with school. If this law does pass the percentage of school drop outs rate will highly increse.I think we as kids should get a say so in this [[stupid]] decison that they are making. I pray they start this after 2011 because im going to be in college anyway.But i feel terribly bad for the kids who will have to deal with it. Im totally aganist it!!!

im a kid.... and for school we had to debate about year round school so i found some facts1st- drop-out rates DECREASE2nd- it lets kids be less stressed because you get breaks more often

I have researched this topic for a speech that I have to do for my debate class. I am totally against year round school. We still go to school the same amount of days, so the comment that we would learn better without the cramming doesn't work. Personally, I like spending the summer with my family. I also play softball, and I am looking forward to the summer days to when I don't have to juggle my sport and school. Kids would not be less stressed, because they still have the same amount of homework and personally, I would get worse grades because I would forget about all of my assignments over that 15 day break. My family also owns two alfalfa fields that the kids are in charge of watering in the summer. I already have to wake up at 7:00 to change the water, but if I had school, that means that I would have to wake up at 5:30 everyday, and on the days that I have early morning softball, I would have to wake up at 4:30 or 5:00. This would mean I would get less and less sleep. That would affect my grades. I would get B's and C's instead of all A's because I would not be able to focus. I also have chores to do, softball practice, and piano practice. Year round school would not make me less stressed, it would make me more stressed! My family values education, but I would seriously think about dropping out of school if year round school was enforced.

I am so against year round school i mean what is the point youstill have to review after the 1 month vacation you get and my little brother who is actually 16 hates the idea

i so totally hate year round school what's the point you still have to review and let he kids get some rest seriously! and it's the kids fault theire grades are going down not the school systems so thy should just study more

We need full time education and full time teachers to allow our students to compete in this world.

I believe that we shouldn't have year round schooling for these reason. School maintenance costs, including day-to-day upkeep and utilities, can increase up to 10 percent if schools are open for longer. Students who have difficulty with attention, either due to disability or because young elementary students are not developmentally ready to attend for longer periods of time are unlikely to get more out of a longer school day. This, too, may increase the amount of behavioral issues in the classroom. Teens who need to work to help support themselves or make money for college may have difficulty holding or finding a job. Budgets and staffing issues simply may not allow for extended school programs. Many schools already struggle to pay teachers a competitive wage, making it hard to keep high quality teachers. The cost of teaching as a full-time teachers may not be feasible either locally or federally. Multi-tracking programs mean that parents could possibly have students on different schedules. After school activities, such as sports or the arts may suffer or get lost in the shuffle (or budget) if school days are longer. Students in year round school may miss out on opportunities to spend time with children of other ages and/or learn about nature as typical summer camp experiences may no longer be a part of the childhood experience. Also teens whose parents are divored, can't spend time with their other parent because of the year round schooling.

i think it would be a great idea to have a year round school so that way people that go on summer vacation won't forget about what they learned at school before.

I don't think that year round school would be a good thing. I love having the summer to do whatever I want. The problem isn't the students, but the parents that don't inforce education as a good thing. If parents want their kids to get better grades help them out in their school work and to study for tests.

I am a kid but, I don't like the fact of having all year round school. Not because the work but, because a traditional school year requires a student to go 180 days if we had all year round we would be braking that requirement. Most schools test scores are low that's not because we miss to much school that's because our teachers are not gettin a lot of work dine but, we are catching up. Every summer a kid forgets a lot of what they learned that year soba teacher takes the first week or so refreshing our memory's but, if we had all year round school we only had a couple weeks on the a couple off when we got off students would be forgetting what they learned so every time we came back to school the teachers would have to take more learning time to refresh our memory's so therefore that would make our schools rates and statistics drop lower and lower.

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