Summer is most kids favorite season, mostly because there is no school. Instead of school, most kids go to the pool, hang out with friends, chill at home, and go to summer camps. However, having a summer schedule opposed to year-round causes an educational gap over the long summer stretch. It also causes a food gap for lots of children in poverty. 22 million children in the US receive free or reduce breakfasts and lunches from school, and lunches and breakfasts aren't offered over summer vacation. So, why do we even have summer vacation? Is it in the children living in America's best interest to steal summer from them? These are some questions I asked myself, and I found some shocking answers.
Over summer vacation, most kids don't do any academics, and if they do, it is usually a small amount. Not learning for the 10-11 week summer vacation causes what a lot of people call “ the summer slump”. The summer slump is caused by not learning, and forgetting most of what you learned the year before, so academically it is harder to start off the school year. Basically, summer is making you dumber, but having a year round school schedule could help fix that. The traditional summer vacation calendar is unbalanced, unlike the balanced year round schooling calendar. You can see this on the graphs from The Wild Cat Times.
“Supporters of the idea say they can stop a loss of learning and boost achievement,” says PBS News Hour on the topic of year-round schooling. Also, in the video, The Real Reason Why Children Get the Summer Off of School, Simon Whistler, said that, “ (Year-round school) will help students perform at the same academic level as students from other countries by allowing more hours of instruction.” The US doesn’t compare well with the rest of the world academically; the PISA did a study in 2012, involving 15-year-olds around the world, and they found that “the US ranked 36 out of most countries around the world on math scores in 2012.” The study also found that “one of the highest scoring states (in the US), Massachusetts scores were so low, it seemed they had 2 fewer years of mathematical education than the students in Shanghai (one of the highest scoring countries).” This information was shocking to me. How could our country compare so poorly to the rest of the world? A year-round school schedule could help students achieve more, and help the US rank higher academically.
Aside from school achievement, the home lives of children in poverty over the summer is taken over by hunger. “1 in 6 children in the United States face hunger,” says nonprofit, No Kid Hungry. No Kid Hungry also says that “more than 13 million children in the United States live in ‘food insecure’ homes.” This means that over the summer, without school breakfast and lunch, children are going hungry! This made me wonder, why was the opportunity for hungry kid’s to become even more hungery over the summer even a thought? The video, The Real Reason Why Children Get the Summer Off of School had some answers. Simon Whistler said that “summer break was created because of the lack of AC in the 1800’s, so upper class and wealthy families could vacation to their summer homes.” Yes, the rich from the 1800’s decided our school scheduling. Times have changed, but our scheduling hasn't. To adapt to that, non- profits try getting food out to kid’s who need it like Feeding America. But these non-profits aren’t helping nearly enough children. “… 22 million children receive free or reduced-priced meals through the National School Lunch Program. When school is out during the summer months, however, only 3.9 million receive free or reduced-price meals… ,” says Feeding America. Having a year-round school schedule would help reduce childhood hunger, and it wouldn’t affect the upper middle class/ wealthy families from the 1800’s, because AC was created in 1902.
What do you think, should summer fun be stolen for better academic results, and less children hungry over the long break?
Story by Olivia Agan-Bedard