Archive for the ‘Year-round schooling’ Category

My Camera Editorial Advisory Board comment published on Jan. 10, 2009, in response to the Camera’s question: There is talk among some President-elect Barack Obama supporters of year-round schooling to attempt to improve the education of U.S. children. Do you think year-round schools are a good idea?

Year-round schooling can be nice when elementary children from one family are on the same track. The family can take off-season vacations, and school doesn’t become grueling in the 45 days on track before a three-week break (a popular scenario).

But, numerous studies were inconclusive about whether year-round schooling improves learning. Overall, it’s a bad idea. It begins to fall apart when a family’s children’s needs dictate different tracks. No more off-season family vacations without pulling children out of school. In the higher grades, it becomes impossible because advanced classes and extra-curricular activities cannot be offered on all tracks.

Neighborhoods, communities and families suffer as well. Children aren’t as free to play with neighbors on another track. Carpooling, babysitting and friendships are disrupted. So are private lessons, recreation programs, and church and community summer camps. Families with children on different school calendars are divided.

Those wanting to improve our nation’s education should guard that summertime school break. It fuels one of our nation’s greatest strengths — creativity. While some other countries train their children to copy American ingenuity, most American children are absorbing their learning and creating new uses for it.

Parents released from start-time and homework emergency modes can help. They can read to their children, discipline them, feed them healthy foods and give them responsibilities. They can review their children’s school papers and build on what was taught. And, they should fight against any efforts for a national year-round schooling program. That would make a bad idea worse.

Source: Daily Camera

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