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School During the Summer, Summer, Summertime!

Posted by The Exploited Intern on Jul 07 2010
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    In true education major form, I found my way into a debate on an extended school year for America at a friend’s cookout of all places.  How did this happen? Well, when the summer hits, I can’t help but think about Will Smith’s timeless summer anthem, “Summertime”.  This song came on during the cookout, and I just remember the lyrics, “Schools out and there’s sort of a buzz, but back then I didn’t really know what it was.” I then proceeded to explain to my friend why American schools need to have students in classes more days during the year, and then I dropped the bomb, “Really though, we don’t need a three month long summer break. It’s obsolete!”
    It seems to me that Americans love their summer vacation more than they do the education of our youth, not to mention keeping up with our counterparts over seas.  Foxnews reported that some critics believe that having an extended school year would have “dire economic effects”.  Unsurprisingly, many students are against any more school than they already have. 
    Despite the critics, there should be appropriate steps taken to increase the amount of time students spend in school. There is no reason to have this long summer break because America is no longer an agrarian society where children need to help their parents on farms.  Less of a summer vacation would also eliminate summer learning loss which greatly affects students of lower socioeconomic statuses.  For example, summer camps keep minds stimulated, but only 5.4% of low income students attend summer camps. 
    President Obama is in favor of extending the school year to 200 days and extending the school day, which would be a great achievement.  This change would not only help American students compete with their peers in other countries, but it would help narrow the black-white achievement gap. I honestly do not think that the idea of raising teacher’s salaries is not a bad thing; to the contrary, teachers are severely underpaid, and should be paid significantly more.
    The president should ease into this however, start with a slightly longer school day, then make summer school mandatory for students with less than a 2.5 GPA, then days should start to get tacked on the year. This change is drastic, and will not be taken on kindly be everyone, but without struggle there is no progress.  If anything, these changes will force the nation to make more reforms on public schools and push us to a much needed dialogue on the failure of many schools. Tough decisions have to be made, but when it comes to giving the youth a better chance at success, I believe that a shorter vacation is not an immense sacrifice.

Check out EduInReview to see how America compares to other school systems in other countries! 


Antar Tichavakunda

 

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