--Original published at Kaylyn's PSY105 Blog
School is a place that we all must go when we grow up in order to get the education that we need to be successful. Normally there is a fall and spring semester of school, both of which last for around four months. After the fall and spring semesters conclude, there is a two-and-a-half-month-long break. Recently there have been many debates over whether or not students benefit, or are harmed, by summer break. This has led to an investigation of year-round schooling and if it should be implemented into the public education system. There are pros and cons to both types of schooling and people are definitely sharing their opinions.
One article written in “The Edvocate”, by author Michael Lynch, spoke about the pros of year-round schooling for students. “The traditional school year, with roughly three months of vacation days every summer was first implemented when America was an agricultural society” (Lynch 1). Students would spend their summers out on the farm maintaining and harvesting crops (Lynch 1). America has now moved a bit out of farming and there are now many more opportunities for people in terms of livelihood. Since America has moved into the future, he believes that schooling should move forward too. One big factor was that students will be able to remember what they learned, instead of falling victim to forgetting information over the summer and having to play catch-up in the fall. Also, it would be easier to bridge the achievement gap for students with learning disabilities or students who have English as their second language. “Studies have found that disadvantaged students lose about 27 percent more of their learning gains in the summer months than their peers” (Lynch 1). This shows that not only do they get the problem of forgetting over the summer, but it is worse for them on top of that. The last point he made was that students will actually begin to like school. He believes that they will get closer with their teachers due to the extended amount of time they need to spend with them. Also, the students will not feel as detached from the school environment, since they will be there all year. Michael Lynch is credible in my opinion because he has written many articles on this topic, and writes on a website that is education based. He has a doctorate degree which means that he has education on the topic and will be able to provide a look into how it affects students.
Another article that is written on “Everyday Health” provides some more insight into how year-round schooling is good for students. The article did share some of the same points as in “The Edvocate” article; however, there were some more points that they added on. One of these facts includes that parents would need to find child-care for their children for the summer. This will create a financial burden on the family and it is hard to find all daycare for the summer since people like to go on vacations. Also, students would get longer breaks for traditional holidays, two or three weeks, rather than the usual three or four days (Health 10). It would only lack a two-and-a-half-month summer break for students. Also, when school starts back up after summer break, there is a large portion dedicated to reviewing material taught the previous year. With year-round schooling there would not be a need to review as much and students will be able to learn more during their time in school. It will also reduce stress on the students because teachers will not need to shove all of the projects and homework on students in order to meet deadlines. They will be able to spread homework and assignments out better with the additional time they have to teach the material (Health 15). The credibility of this source is fairly high because they talk about the health of people in society, and this article discusses mental health of students. Since they are a website based on health, it makes sense they would talk about school, which is a big source of stress for students, teachers, and parent. Even though there are pros to having year-round schooling, there are also cons that need to be taken into account.
Another article written on “The Edvocate”, again written by Michael Lynch, talked about the cons of year-round schooling. One major factor is that it could result in higher bills for the school system because they will need to pay for year-round air-conditioning/ heat, and other needs. “It may seem like a minor point, but an increase in utility bills for one-quarter of the year really could hurt schools’ bottom lines” (Lynch 2). That is three additional months that they will need to power the schools, have water running, pay for food, and other aspects of running a school. Another argument presented is that students will not have any downtime to go outside and enjoy the weather. Having that break will be able to provide some aspects of healthy development for younger students (Lycnh 3). The last point mentioned is that it may cause scheduling conflicts for families when planning for child-care. People believe that it would be easier for people to find childcare for an extended break, three months, rather than elongated breaks of two or three weeks. In the summer there are camps and other places that children can go while their parents are at work. There would be a risk of not having these camps and situations occurring during two- or three-week breaks. There would be time, especially in the beginning, where there will not be these available. As stated in the previous article written by Michael Lynch, he is a credible source due to his background in education. He also has written many articles on both topics assessing both sides of the argument. Talking about the pros and cons of year-round schooling makes him more credible since he is not just arguing one side.
Another article based on the cons of year-round schooling is posted on “The Mentor”, and written by Michael Simmons. Simmons brought up the statement that some people may use their summer to work and help their family. Students who have jobs in the summer may be trying to save money to get a car, or they need to help earn money for the family (Simmons 4). This will not only affect students and families but also will affect businesses who rely on students to work over the summer. Places like ice-cream shops and other families looking for babysitters need students to work in the summertime. Also, according to some, summer programs such as camps, or activities are crucial to a student’s health. These programs take students outside and they will get vitamin D and other health benefits. Having this time off from school may reduce anxiety and depression in students by giving them time without as much stress (Simmons 5-7). Simmons is not as credible of a source as Lynch; however, he is a student who would be affected by the change in school schedules. It is interesting to look at a student’s point of view on the topic since normally students do not get a say in the outcome. Normally it is adults who would decide the outcome for the students, and students would need to just accept it. He did bring up very interesting points on the topic of year-round schooling.
I definitely agree with points from both sides of the argument on year-round schooling. In terms of cons of the argument that I agree with, one would be the financial burden placed on schools. From my personal experience I came from a school district without a ton of money, and having to run for additional months would be a financial burden. They would probably need to cut some programs in order to offset the costs, normally arts programs, which I was very involved, in high school. The music program at my high school was almost cut multiple times, and classes like that are very important to student’s mental health. They provide less stress for most students and give them a creative outlet. Mental health is extremely important and having a break from the stress of their everyday school life is important. For the pros, I really resonate with the fact that there would be a cut back on the review time teachers need to do. I remember spending half of a semester reviewing old Spanish class material and just thinking that there has to be a better way to do it. Students are missing out on learning new material and instead are just relearning old material. Students lose out on learning more material or just learning information more in-depth. I do believe that year-round schooling would be something to consider because it will ultimately lead to a greater amount of information learned for students. I believe that there are more pros to having year-round schooling than cons.
“Benefits of All Year Round School.” Everyday Health, Ziff Davis, LLC, 15 Nov. 2017, http://www.everydayhealth.com/kids-health/benefits-all-year-round-school/.
Lynch, Matthew. “3 Reasons Not to Adopt Year-Round Schooling.” The Edvocate, 27 Oct. 2016, http://www.theedadvocate.org/3-reasons-not-to-adopt-year-round-schooling/.
Lynch, Matthew. “Top 3 Reasons the US Should Switch to Year-Round Schooling.” The Edvocate, The Edvocate, 13 Aug. 2016, http://www.theedadvocate.org/top-3-reasons-the-us-should-switch-to-year-round-schooling/.
Simmons, Micheal. “Year Round Education a Bad Idea.” The Mentor, Manhattan High School, 30 Oct. 2017, http://www.mhsmentor.com/8349/opinions/year-round-education-a-bad-idea/.