Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Is Extending The School Year A Good Thing?

Many studies have shown students lose a good amount of what they learn in the typical nine-month school year over their three-month summer vacation. That three months has been a huge detriment to their retention, and causes a goodly amount of time to get back to where they were before their summer break.

That is one reason why many schools across the county are moving to year-round schooling. If you do not know, in year-round schools, they never have a break of more than six weeks.

I just read an article that originated from the Associated Press telling of a pilot program in five states and forty schools that will extend the school year by six hundred hours. According to the article, Colorado, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York and Tennessee will take part in the initiative, which is intended to boost student achievement and make U.S. schools more competitive on a global level.

You may read the article from USATODAY.com by clicking here. I could not find the original article on the Associated Press's website.

I believe this is a good step towards catching up with much of the rest of the developed world. The United States has continuously been falling backwards in our ranking for many of the education benchmarks which we have historically led the world. This pilot program will only last three years and then evaluated.

I am guessing we are going to see marked increases in these schools' results.

Of course, there are detractors to the idea and believe it is not the way to go because countries like India and China have shorter school years and are getting better results. Is it a question of quantity versus quality? Is it a question of prioritization? I am anxious to see what the results will be with their students with severe disabilities, all their students with special needs for that matter, low-income students and all of the round students that do not fit in the square holes.

Something needs to be done to get all our schools educating as many of our young people to the highest degree we possibly can. I certainly do not have the answers.

As always, I look forward to your comments.




Peggy said...

One of the things that could be done to better educate our Children is to get rid of the mandatory testing.
Here in Texas all the teachers are freaking out every year because their students need to pass those tests.
So they spend the majority of their time teaching tests. These tests are not going to make our children
smarter teaching them general and advanced classes will. They need to teach them and also to remember
these are our Children not little robots walking around afraid to sneeze because it might disrupt the class.
The kids are burned out by June they need down time, time to be kids for awhile. I disagree with year round school as we have student burn out as it is.

Roger said...

Hey Mike,

It's always seemed a better plan to move away from the agrarian school calendar to a more evenly distributed school year. Seems it also always bumps up against custom and culture - a whole country adjusted to the agrarian calendar for so long that so many non-school things are so adjusted that it gets difficult to change, even in the face of a more promising educational approach.


Doug said...

I totally agree with this initiative. There are many reasons other than a better education. Keeping kids off the streets. Lessening the financial burden of Day Care. Etc. Etc.

However, before it should be implemented we have to address the issues of teachers and their compensation. My daughter is a teacher with her masters. She makes 35k annually. Barely enough to make ends meet. There are very few men entering the educational field for precisely this reason … as evidenced at her graduation ceremony. In Colorado … the state has frozen teachers pay … but has increased entitlement spending. Sound familiar??

It's a 'Good Thing' Mike but until our Gov't wraps their collective hands around treating our teachers with higher budgetary priority … it's a waste of time.

I knew your Dad and you probably knew mine. They were typical Midwest dads. Hard working to a fault. They wouldn't have stood in the back of the line for a handout … they wouldn't have stood in the line at all! They would have worked harder or taken 2nd jobs.


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