Toying With Year Round School

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Year round school!! That’s the answer, we need year round school. It seems that’s the new thing. If we only had year round school things would be better. Everywhere you look on social media someone is saying how wonderful and helpful year round school is. The more I see them talking about it, the less I think they understand. Not to be rude, but year round school isn’t something new, it’s been around for quite a while and not widely adopted.

Bluffton, Indiana started year round school, in 1904, when they incorporated a four quarter schedule into one of it schools. Let me explain what year round school means, the most popular format is the 45-15 plan, students attend 45 consecutive days then have 15 days off. There less popular plans that some schools systems follow. 

Out of the current 132,853 K-12 schools in the United States only 3,181 are year round. So only 2.4% of all the schools in the U.S. are “year round schools”. Most schools choose a year round format because as students are out of school less they are thought to retain more and teachers spend less time reviewing material. There are several other reason school systems choose to go to a year round school. 

Here’s the other side. In California nearly a thousand schools switched to year round school between 1998-2005. The schools that switched DID NOT see test scores rise at all. Those that switched back saw no drop in scores either.  In the country’s most populous state where one in five schools were year round, now only one in 20 are.

Some people clam that year round school will help erase the achievement gap that effects some students. The problem with that is, simply rearranging the days doesn’t address the main issue for the gap is poverty. Those differences don’t go away simply because you rearrange the calendar. It’s the lack of enriching opportunities for lower income families that higher incomes families have, that make the difference in the students, not a rearranged school year.

Maybe schools should focus on trying to provide educational programs during the summer for those students, rather than implementing a program that really changes nothing?

Year round school does not boost learning. If you take students from a year round school and a “normal” school, you’d see that “both math and reading scores improved the same amount” (ScienceDaily.com). There is no real educational benefit.

Lastly, and once again, I’m thinking I’m going to upset some people, school ISN’T a babysitting service. School is there to give your children the best education they can provide, that’s hard enough. 

21% of your adult life is spent working, if my math is right that’s about 90,000 hours. Our children spend about 12,000 to 16,000 hours, in school. That’s a lot of time that you never get back. It seems so many people are in a rush to have their children grow up and become adults too fast.

There is no good reason to switch to year round school.  If you feel your child needs it, look into private lessons for your children during the summer break. Simply rearranging calendars will not improve your child’s education, it will take a complete revamping of the current system to do anything good. Let kids be kids, we didn’t go to year round school and we turned out pretty good.  

How many great memories do you have of summer breaks, hanging out with friends, without a care in the world? I have a lot, and I wouldn’t trade then for anything in the world, and I hope my son gets to experience summers like I did. 

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