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Public schools are in session about ten months out of the year with a two-month summer break. Have you ever wondered why the school was scheduled in this way and why it has never changed? In the 1800s, children would go to school for almost ten months and would have a two-month summer break to aid in harvesting crops. However, that is not the case for students in the present day. Summer break is no longer utilized for farming; it is simply a physical and mental break for all students.
So why do we still follow an ancient school schedule that does not assist the needs of today’s students? A year-round school calendar has proven to be more effective in the education of students by utilizing time and resources to benefit everyone involved in the school system.
When most people refer to a traditional school calendar, they are referring to a schedule that includes a three-month summer break, as well as scattered breaks according to holidays.
A recent study has been initiated to remedy some hidden problems within the system. Yes, this schedule has prevailed for centuries, but its initial significance no longer exists. Year-round schooling was created to provide continuous education for students while still maintaining the 180 days required for school. There are multiple ways in which the year can be divided; however, the most popular year-round schedule has the students attending school for forty-five school days and then taking a fifteen school daybreak. This is repeated four times, making the schedule occupy the entire year (Chen).
Due to the constant education throughout the year, students are expected to make significant growth in their learning skills.
The main advantage of a year-round education system is avoiding the long summer break, which is also called the “summer slide.” The two-month summer break often gives students more than just a break from school activities; it grants the student a complete break from schoolwork. This becomes a problem when students return to school in the fall, and they cannot remember the material from the previous school year. Therefore, the teachers are forced to review for at least a few weeks if not an entire month. Math and reading are the main subjects usually affected by summer break, for those are the main ones which must often be retaught at the beginning of the school year. It is easier to avoid the summer slide when teachers have access to the students year-round (“The Advantages”). By following a year-round school calendar, schools can reduce the amount of time spent reviewing material and focus on building each student’s education.
By students attending school all year, remedial opportunities become available. Yes, summer school is feasible for students who are struggling with school material, but tutoring is more effective when it is instituted all year (“The Advantages”). Remediation for students is available during the school year but ends when summer break begins. Year-round schooling offers not only remedial classes; it offers “advanced and enrichment classes” as well, according to Tyler Weaver (Weaver). Students’ attendance in school may also increase due to the multiple breaks that are given throughout the year. It is very easy for school students to become exhausted when they are going to school with minimum breaks; the year-round school calendar utilizes breaks to accommodate both students and teachers with their ability to stay on top of things. Teachers will also receive a year-round salary, which no teacher would argue against.
Despite the justification in agreeance with year-round schooling, many students and parents have drawbacks concerning the new system. For high school students, the main concerns are extracurricular activities and jobs. According to Natalie Regoli, most schools do not provide clubs or competitive sports all year; this would hinder meeting times and practice schedules for almost all clubs and sports (Regoli). The hunt for students’ jobs throughout the year would become tough. Summer jobs would come to an end as students would have to search for jobs that would adjust to a year-round school schedule. On the other hand, as a school district adopts the new school schedule, the community will begin to adapt. Students may practice sports a little during the breaks, and local businesses will adjust to students’ new work schedules. It will take time for an entire community to make accommodations, but changes will be made for the common good of students and their education.
Many parents have concerns about childcare during the numerous breaks offered in a year-round school calendar (McGuire). During summer break, most parents would send their children to summer camps or youth camps; by doing away with summer break, these summer camps will wither away, and parents now have a new dilemma in finding childcare. Nonetheless, this could open doors for new businesses in a community, which could provide childcare during the three-week breaks throughout the year. Youth camps could still flourish, just in a different time frame than parents are accustomed to.
Year-round schooling’s advantages significantly outweigh its disadvantages, for nothing can contend with providing a better education for all students. This new school calendar prevents the “summer slide,” which eliminates the weeks of review and essentially provides more time for learning. Remedial opportunities are available all year, making remediation more effective for the students who need it. Likewise, teachers benefit from the system; the short breaks offered throughout the year give teachers time to get refreshed, while also giving them a year-round salary. Everyone involved with the school system is benefitted through the year-round school calendar, so school districts should make the switch to improve both the teachers’ and students’ education experience.
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