Some More Pencils, Some More Books...
Remember when summer meant family vacations, sleep-away camp, and time to play in the sprinkler? When no more pencils, no more books meant three months to play and lounge and just be children? Until recently, most kids spent only 180 days a year in schoolbut educators have found that summers spent slipping and sliding in the sprinkler, also meant slipping and sliding in their reading and math skills.
The 180-day school calendar dates back to the late 19th century, when family farms needed kids to till the fields in the summer. Well, the jigs up, and schools have caught on that most children have traded plowing for picnicking and harvesting for horseback riding. So, many have introduced an extended school year-- schools that are in session eight hours a day, 195 days a year. Such schedules mean more time for students to stay on top of the three Rs, and pursue their own interests in art and music. How much more time? If a student sticks to this regimen through 12th grade, the extra days and hours will add up to almost four more years of schooling.
As part of the push for higher academic standards, at least 25% of school districts--and twice that number in poor, urban areas--mandate summer school for struggling students. In Miami, Chicago and St. Louis, more than 40% of students sweat through summer school. That's in addition to the growing number who enlist voluntarily!
So why a longer school year? And what are the costs?
But the news is not all good:
Morse, Jodie. "Summertime and School Isnt Easy." Time Magazine. Vol. 156, No.5, July 31, 2000.