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Debate: Year-round school

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Are year-round schools a good idea?

Background and context

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."

From Wikipedia:Year-round school; used under the GFDL.

Contents

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

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Yes

  • 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.
  • 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.


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No

  • 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.


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Achievement: Do year-round schools favor student achievement?

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Yes

  • Year-round school's frequent vacations help refresh students Charles 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."[2]


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No

  • 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."


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

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Yes


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No

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Vacation: Will getting rid of summer vacation be tolerable?

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Yes

  • 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.[3]
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.


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No

  • 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.


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

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Yes

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No

  • 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 consider change 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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Teachers: Is year-round schooling agreeable for teachers?

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Yes

  • Teachers in year-round school districts prefer their system. Surveys in year-round districts indicate that between 60% to 90% of teachers prefer year-round education.[4]


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No

  • Teachers need summer vacation to stay sane and focused. Teaching is a very difficult profession. Teachers often express that they need summer breaks. Year-round schooling takes this away from teachers, and will likely diminish the quality of teaching as a result.
  • Year-round schooling impairs summer teacher development. The summer time is a good opportunity for teachers to seek additional training and develop their skills. It also offers employment opportunities that can help broaden the experience that an educator brings to students. Year-round schooling makes this impossible, and so can diminish the quality of teaching and learning as a result. It can also make teaching a less attractive profession.


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Economics: Are there economic benefits to year round schooling?

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Yes

  • Year-round schools are growing in number and succeeding. Don Heinzman. "Year-round schooling has advantages". Hometown Source. - "In Minnesota there are 27 year-round educational programs. They are succeeding wherever they’ve been started[...]Throughout the country, 2 million youngsters are attending year-round schools, mainly in California, Texas, Florida and Kentucky."
  • Not-using schools in the summer is generally inefficient. During summer breaks, school facilities sit un-used. This is generally an inefficient use of capital. Few successful businesses, for instance, would adopt such a policy. In addition, stopping and starting major institutions creates an inefficient and costly re-adjustment period at the beginning of each school year.
  • Summer is the peak time for the tourism industry. With this blow to tourism, many companies will not survive. Summer is the peak time and if no-one can go on holidays, most small businesses will go out of business.
  • The tourism industry may benefit from year-round schooling. from the spread of breaks throughout the year. Many places are flat out more attractive in certain seasons, and this opens up more opportunities to showcase the location in it's prime.
  • Year-round schooling avoids the problem of summer-vacation surges. It's easier to schedule vacations under a year-round schooling system because not everyone wants to travel at the same time.


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No

  • Areas that depend heavily on summer tourism will suffer economically. Cottage areas typically swell in population by five to ten times during the summer months, generally with regular cottagers. Many of these areas are ill suited to all-year tourism due to the facilities available (such as boating) and the necessity of winterizing housing, from cottages to resorts. Many resort operators are closed during the winter and rely on summer business in order to stay in operation. Ironically, these areas rely heavily on taxation of summer residents to finance their own schools.
  • Students and parents don't have to continuously buy school supplies. There are financial benefits to not using year round schooling because you don't have to buy as many school supplies. Students and their parents also don't have to buy their own supplies. You also don't have to continuously pay for lunch money, bus fares etc.
  • Year-round schooling damages summer-break student employment. The summer-time is an important opportunity for students to earn some money and gain some experience in the work-force. Year-round school programs make this impossible. This can alienate students that need to generate funding to help pay for their education or that desire to obtain experience that helps them reflect on the kind of future they want for themselves and the kind of higher education required to achieve these goals.


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Crowding: Are year-round schools a good way to deal with over-crowding?

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Yes


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No


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Parent choice: Is year-round schooling a valuable extra choice for parents?

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Yes

  • Year-round education is a good alternative choice for parents It is important that parents and children have different alternative forms of schooling to choose from. Some forms of schooling fit the needs and desires and parents and children better than others. Some parents desire to have year-round schooling. They should give given the alternative of year-round schooling.
  • Tradition and year-round schools can exist side-by-side There is no conflict in having both educational systems in place in the same district. Don Heinzman writes, "The Cambridge elementary and middle year-round schools operate side by side with little controversy, due in part to strong school board, administrative and staff support."[5]


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No

  • Multi-tracking puts children on different schedules. By putting children on different educational schedules, multi-tracking risks segmenting generations of students in alienating ways. It is emotionally and psychologically beneficial for students to be part of a community program and schedule. Isolating them on individual plans will alienate students.


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Pro/con resources

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Yes

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No

See also

External links

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