Issue Report: Year-round school

Are year-round schools a good idea?

Year-round schools educational institutions are based on a schedule that has school throughout most of the calendar year, as opposed to having no school in summer. A motivation is that higher student throughput is accomplished via more effective scheduling of school resources. Year round schedules deliver the same number of total days of classroom education and vacation as traditional calendars, distributed differently throughout the year. Funding considerations favor multi-tracking students, which allows more students to use the same number of classrooms, instead of constructing entirely new schools. In addition to these systems, students enrolled in year-round classes often claim that their calendar schedule is more balanced. Advocates claim that year-round calendars help students achieve higher and allow teachers to provide more effective education. Reports from the California State Department Of Education show that standardized test scores increased an average of 9.5% in Grade 3 with an average increase of 13.3% in reading scores. Conversely, opponents insist that year-round education is detrimental to student learning. Some school board officials and studies indicate negative impacts of schedule changes and year-round education. Lawsuits have even been filed against various school districts, citing year-round schools as being “harmful to students.”

"Summer learning loss":: Can year-round schooling help solve this problem?

Summer breaks result in "summer learning loss"

Experts frequently speak about “summer learning loss” as a major problem for North American students. The theory is that, during summer break from school, students set aside learning entirely, fall behind educationally and mentally in those three months, and come back to school behind where they left off. Year-round schooling counters “summer learning loss” by eliminating summer breaks and replacing them with more consistent breaks distributed throughout the year. Under this system, students enjoy a much more consistent and stable learning pace and rate of improvement.

Year-round schooling requires less review of past materials

Gary Hawkins – “[After short vacations of year-round schooling] It’s like they’ve come back from the weekend. They are basically ready to go where we left off; there’s very little review.”

Frequent short-breaks allow for enrichment programs and tutoring.

Short breaks in a year-round schooling system can provide time for students to receive enrichment education.

Year-round schools, with equal vacation time, is no better for learning

Paul von Hippel, ScienceDaily (Aug. 14, 2007)

“We found that students in year-round schools learn more during the summer, when others are on vacation, but they seem to learn less than other children during the rest of the year,”

The studies on year-round schooling are inconclusive.

It is very difficult to assess the impacts of year-round schooling. While some studies have concluded there are benefits, others have found no measurable benefits. The answer remains unclear.

Students also forget lessons after breaks in year-round schools

Melissa Kelly. "Year Round Education. Pros and Cons".

“Students are going to forget information whether they are out of school for three weeks or 10. Therefore, teachers will be performing four beginning of the year reviews instead of just one.”

Achievement: : Do year-round schools favor student achievement?

Studies find year-round schools improve student performance

Reports from the California State Department Of Education show that standardized test scores increased an average of 9.5% in Grade 3 with an average increase of 13.3% in reading scores[1]

9-month schooling crams too much info into shorter period

Jeanette Wat. "Extended Year-Round Schooling, Extended Success". Naperville, Illinois

“The third problem is insufficient learning time. In order to provide a long summer break, learning must cram within a shorter period of time, which requires students like John to either give up a comprehensive learning or cut sleep, both of which are undesirable. Furthermore, a long summer results in less learning time and less knowledge acquired.”

Year-round school's frequent vacations help refresh students

Ballinger and Carolyn Kneese indicate in their book, School Calendar Reform, “A balanced year-round calendar provides a logical pacing of instruction, followed by regular breaks. Refreshed by the breaks, teachers and students return ready to work.”

Year-round schooling does not improve overall teaching programs

"Year-Round Schools May Not Be the Answer." Education Resource Information Center. 11 Sept. 1992

“Recent studies suggest that year-round schools do not improve education. Shifting days of attendance does not address problems such as lack of parent involvement and the need for restructured curricula, continued education for teachers, and improved teaching methods.”

Many conclude year-round schooling worsens student achievement.

Opponents insist that year-round education is detrimental to student learning. Some school board officials and studies indicate negative impacts of schedule changes and year-round education. Lawsuits have even been filed[2] against various school districts, citing year-round schools as being “harmful to students.”

At risk:: Does year-round schooling help the at-risk?

"Summer learning loss" harms poor students most

Martin Davey. "The case for year-round schooling". 14 July 2008

“Summer learning loss also widens the gap between rich and poor children because disadvantaged kids are less likely to have books at home to help maintain skills and knowledge.”

Year-round school is not uniquely helpful to at-risk students

"Stop Year-round School in Auburn". A report to the Auburn City Schools Board of Education. 7 Nov. 1998 -

“Of concern to any school system is the low achievement of at-risk students. The number of at-risk students in the ACS district is 537 as cited at PTA meetings. There are about 4100 students enrolled in the district schools. The advantage of YRS for at-risk students is the possibility that remediation during the intersessions might help. Unfortunately this promise has not been fulfilled. As was pointed out at the Cary Woods PTA meeting, the suggestion that 9 weeks of failure can be remedied in one week of intersession is unrealistic.”

Vacation:: Will getting rid of summer vacation be tolerable?

Year-round schooling offers three month-long breaks.

Instead of having summer break for 3 months year long school would have school for 3 months and a month of break. Students that like winter sports will have a chance to play them. Students that like summer sports they will be able to swim too. Every body is happy. There is a break for almost every season so it would be a good little break for them every three months they will be able to get away for a month. That will mean less stress with a long period of time to be in school. Students will have something to look forward to every three months, will have a goal, and will do good in school so that the reward is the month of vacation. Students GPA’s may improve along with the reputation of schools.

Year-round schools have same overall schooling and vacation time.

Year-round schooling means schools continue to operate on a 180 school-day system, yet they spread these days out differently with shorter breaks between each term. The most popular example of year round education is the 45-15 plan.

Year-round school and vacations offer more balanced life-style

National Association for Year-round Education (NAYRE) -

“The year-round calendar is organized into instructional periods and vacation weeks that are more evenly balanced across 12 months than the traditional school calendar.”

This fosters greater consistency of life-style and fewer of the “ups-and-downs” of a 9-month educational calendar.

The summer camp industry will not be hurt.

Summer camps will have the same amount of time to operate, only spread throughout the year. This may actually help the industry due to the ability to diversify into other seasonal activities, such as skiing.

Students get bored during the long break of summer.

Most students get bored during summer vacations, when there is much less activity and stimulation. Why not continue their stimulation and enjoyment throughout the year.

Many school buildings are not built for summer use

One of the historical reasons for avoiding school during summer was the lack of air conditioning during summer months. This is a problem throughout the United States and southern Canada, particularly for older buildings. School buildings, classrooms in particular, tend not to be well ventilated. This is not a handicap when buildings have to be heated, but is when an older building is retrofitted for summer use. Room air conditioners are usually inappropriate for spaces with high ceilings and lots of volume – typical of most classrooms. They would also require electrical retrofitting.

Summer youth programs suffer from year-round schooling.

Youth summer camps rely on the existence of year-round schooling systems with summer breaks. Year-round schooling will threaten the viability of these systems, and, subsequently the positive experience enjoyed by young attendees. Academic summer programs such as CTY demand a large block of time in order to teach their targeted content. While there may be an equal amount of vacation year-round with year-round schooling, they would be in blocks too small to allow for many types of summer programs.

It would anger nearly all school children.

Going to school every day for 13 years would anger and outrage almost every school child in the world. Ask any child who goes to school, and they will tell you that they do need a break sometimes. Kids need a break for school and a time to relax. The whole concept of making children go to school every single day for 13 years is absurd.

Some children may get bored during summer-break, but more keep busy.

Juniors need to do college search, a wide range of students have summer jobs, etc.

Farm-culture:: Is 9-month schooling a function of farm-culture?

Summer-breaks are an antiquated extension of farming culture

Don Heinzman. "Year-round schooling has advantages". Hometown Source. Jeanette Wat. "Extended Year-Round Schooling, Extended Success". Naperville, Illinois

“The traditional school calendar was devised mainly to serve the needs of farmers who needed the help of their youngsters during the summer. The need for three months off in the summer is diminishing.”

Jeanette Wat. "Extended Year-Round Schooling, Extended Success". Naperville, Illinois

“It takes time to widely change an education program that has been used in this country for many decades. People get used to it, and it is human nature to resist change. Some of the resistance, though, originated from the organizations of summer recreational programs and other summer programs. It is, therefore, important for us to focus on our students and their needs. We then see that we just cannot maintain the status quo on traditional schooling and continue to put our students in a disadvantageous position.”

Changing to year-round schooling has significant costs.

Resistance to change, in the case of moving to year-round schooling, is justified on the basis of the actual costs of adjusting to change. The adjustment period is challenging for students and teachers alike, takes administrative time and effort, and so is both emotionally and financially costly. It is not, therefore, unreasonable to considerchange itself as a potential cost in this debate. Particularly if all else seems equal between a traditional school and a year-round school, it is reasonable to resist year-round schooling on the basis that change is costly.

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