All would benefit from year-long school

May 28, 2006

To the editor:

Schools need to get rid of long summer vacations, because they hinder learning in many aspects. School boards within the U.S. educational system have debated the issue of year-long schooling for years.

Many people hear the phrase "year-long schooling" but fail to realize exactly what it entails. Several different versions exist that support year-long schooling, but the most popular plan is the 45-15 plan, which dictates that students go to school for 45 days, followed by a 15-day vacation. However, the traditional method has students attending school for nine months and then receiving a three- month break. Year-long schooling presents numerous positive benefits to students, teachers and parents.

School administrators have considered the year-long schools because they have been proven to encourage learning. Research compiled by Peggy Gisler and Mary Eberts shows that year-long schooling increases achievement scores. Year-round schooling is advantageous for teachers because the students avoid spending lengthy amounts of time reviewing information they previously learned.


If Michael Jordan had completely stopped playing basketball for three months and then attempted to perform at his best level for the first game of the season, no one would have expected him to be able to succeed, due to the lack of practice.

He would not be ready, because he neglected to exercise the skills necessary for the game. However, we foolishly expect that when students return from their summer break, they would not need previous information reinforced before they are ready to learn new material.

As a result, teachers waste several weeks helping the students relearn subjects they forgot over the lengthy, three-month period. This large amount of time spent reviewing information impedes the learning process, because a large amount of time was exhausted on the old material instead of exploring new information.

In the traditional method of education, learning suffers because students rarely focus on academics. Learning stops for three months. Thus, through this year-long schooling process, the teacher teaches more effectively because students retain larger amounts of information. In the end, this benefits the students, because they learn more.

Long summer breaks inconvenience parents, because the parents of these students work during the day. Finding child care for their children often becomes arduous and expensive. As a result, many parents allow their kids to stay home and "hang out."

An extended period of time without parental supervision usually causes many children to behave less responsibly than if adult supervision were available to them. Year-long schooling obliterates these large quantities of "downtime" when boredom tempts children to break laws or defy their parents' instructions. Shorter breaks help parents, because they can find adult supervision for a few weeks more easily than for a whole summer at a time.

Through year-long schooling, students gain a greater sense of how it feels to live in the adult world. The summer break of the traditional school was originally meant to support farmers, because during the summers the families needed their children at home to help them out with all the work that needed to be accomplished around the farm. The traditional style of school no longer reflects modern life.

This schedule sends the message to students that when they become adults, they can work for about nine or 10 months and can be allocated two whole months off.

The year-round school theory supports the current business life that the majority of Americans wake up to every day. This style resembles more of the typical American's business schedule than that of the traditional school method.

Year-long schooling would benefit the United States, because society has changed since the creation of the standard method and has moved to a post-agrarian society. This new-style of schooling keeps the students and teachers fresh and academically active.

However, it would not only benefit the educational aspect of this society, but more students would be better prepared for the job market. America needs to seriously consider adopting this form of education, because, in the end, year-long schooling increases learning more effectively than the traditional method does.

Kevin Sandell

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