--Original published at Emily Garvin's Psych Blog
There has been discussion surrounding the education system in this country. Specifically, regarding the traditional school year structure. Many people believe that schools should implement a year-round program, while others point out the potential disadvantages of year-round schooling. There were an overwhelming number of sources that supported the transition to year-round schooling. “The Edvocate” is a website that promotes advocation for education has two separate articles published on their website. One of the articles lists three reasons why changing the school year calendar could benefit students, while the other discusses the negative impacts that changing the calendar would have. In addition to this useful website I also found evidence supporting year-round schooling through a case study that analyzed a school system in Alberta, Canada. Furthermore, an alternative article located on an education week blog was found that disproves the switch to year-round schooling.
The first article from http://www.theedadvocate.org discusses three main positive impacts implementing the year- round schooling plan would have on students and the education system. They include students will retain information they learned from the previous school year, it is an easy way to bridge the achievement gap, and students will actually enjoy school. Students who participate in year-round school programs tend to have higher retention rates, “A study released in 2007 by The Ohio State University found that there are really no differences in learning between students who attend school year-round and those who are on a traditional schedule. However, the National Summer Learning Association often cites decades of research that shows that it can take anywhere from 8 to 13 weeks at the beginning of every school year for teachers to get their students back up to speed and ready to learn the new grade’s material.” Although there were no specific learning differences discovered, avoiding the “summer slide” allowed educators to speed up the learning process and ultimately their student’s retention rates. Secondly, with the elimination of summer slide minority students are not placed at a disadvantage anymore. Minority groups include students who speak English as a second language, students who are economically disadvantaged, and students who are disabled. Multiple studies have been conducted that prove these students lose 27% of their learning over a traditional summer vacation, which ca be avoided if a year- round education plan is implemented. Lastly, students will enjoy school more. It is thought that students and teachers will have a closer relationship and students will be more attached and comfortable to the environment of school. A 20 year investigation was conducted by researchers from Jons Hopkins University that analyzed a year-round school system in Canada. It was found that the students in this low-income area school system had a higher retention rate and overall enjoyed their school experience more than children who attended traditional school.
The counter argument provided by http://www.theedadvocate.org also presents three main points, but this time supports traditional schooling instead of implementing year-round schooling. The three points listed include switching to a year-round school calendar could end up being more expensive, children will not have enough down time, and scheduling issues could potentially occur. The summer months are often very hot which results in a lot of energy consumption, operating schools in these months means that air conditioning must be turned on resulting in immense bills for the school system. Many people are also concerned that children will not have enough down time, children will become less active and not have the opportunity to get outside and “just be a kid”. However, this argument is flawed because nowadays many children tend to sty inside and are glued to their technological devices preventing them from exploring the outdoors. Lastly, scheduling conflicts may occur if parents of children have children in multiple grade levels. Typically, year-round school programs are implemented in early childhood education like elementary schools. This could cause many issues for parents who need to delegate time to all of their children on different schedules. The article points out that all of the arguments against year-round school seem like a stretch and most people are more afraid of change than have actual concern. An article from an education week blog points out similar concerns regarding the implementation of a year-round schooling program. This article just reinforces the importance of these concerns and that they are common concerns that must be taken into consideration.
Personally, I can see the benefits and pitfalls of both school schedules. When a decision is made to switch to year-round schooling a lot of factors are taken into consideration and the decision is ultimately always situational. In my opinion, it may be in the best interest for low income areas to adopt the year-round school plan because there are multiple case studies that showcase proven benefits to students, families, and the community. However, I don’t think that the year- round school plan must be adopted to all areas because of potential logistical complications like scheduling.