School’s Out for Summer: Why Summer Vacation Should Be Expelled
The break between June and September, when students are released from school for a whole three months, is what every school-age kid looks forward to during the “torturous” 9 months prior. For most kids, this is the best time of their lives. During these glorious 3 months the sun is out, they can play all day, and the best part- no homework. Most parents and teachers also take advantage of these 3 school-free months to take vacations and spend quality time with their kids. While most are overjoyed when the bell rings on the final day of class, most fail to realize that summer vacation is truly detrimental to not only the learning process, but to a child’s well-being and teachers’ socio-economic status.
When thinking of summer, one is taken back to childhood memories of freedom, play and fun. These memories are nostalgic and whimsical, but for children of low-income households summer vacation is a luxury most cannot afford. Because summer vacation was instated during a time when women did not work, it was easy for children to be watched after for several weeks. For children of low-income families, summer vacation means children have nowhere to go for the day and parents have to pay for child-care, caretakers, or simply leave the children home alone. Pathos This is a dilemma because for these families, summer vacation is not a comfort but rather a burden (Drehle 1).
While summer vacation affects the home environment of underprivileged kids, it also affects their learning process. David von Drehle of TIME Magazine recounts that summer-learning expert Harris Cooper, concluded that, “on average, all students lose about a month of progress in math skills each summer, while low-income students slip as many as three months in reading comprehension, compared with middle-income students” (Drehle 2). This shows that while middle-income students were provided resources to continue their studies during summer vacation, lower-income students were unable to afford to continue studying after the school year had ended. If school were year-round these low-income students would be up to par with their peers. It is unreasonable that because of their social standing, summer vacation has a greater affect on them and their families.
According to the National Center for Learning Disabilities, “currently 2.4 million students are diagnosed with LD and receive special education services in schools, representing 41% of all students receiving special education” (qtd. in LD Fast Facts). This is another demographic that suffers from summer vacation. Due to various disabilities such as Attention Deficit Disorder and Dyslexia summer vacation hinders the learning process students with these disabilities are accustomed to. Many educational researchers believe students with a learning disability adapt better to a year-round calendar because they have more time to master skills and retain information. Logos This is an enhanced alternative to cramming all the information into a traditional school year at a faster pace and then going on a three-month long break only to forget it all. Students with a learning disability also adapt well to this type of calendar because of the consistent daily routine and scheduled breaks (Sellors).
One might think that academics and the “summer slide”, where children need to relearn what they were taught the previous school year, are the only problems of summer vacation. A child’s physical health is also likely to suffer from summer vacation. Studies have shown that childhood obesity is aided by breaks such as these. When a child is home from school and being taken care of by parents or other family, he/she is less likely to participate in organized sports, mostly staying indoors playing video games or watching TV. Another aspect of children’s physical health is that many children who receive federally funded school meals lose access to those meals during the summer (Huggins). This causes these children to suffer from hunger or malnourishment and are subject to whatever food is at home.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the average Floridian teacher made $48,006 in 2005-2006 (erdc.gov). This accounts for 10 months out of the year rather than 12 like most working Americans. One might think, “Why does summer vacation affect teachers? They must love it!” The truth of the matter is that for those 2 months teachers are without work or pay. They must find additional means of income and must put aside additional funds specifically
for the summertime where they are not making money. Middle school teacher, Esther Hoffman volunteered information for the purpose of this research. She stated that, “summer is one of the most stressful times of the year” due to such a tight budget followed closely by Christmas. While data shows that teachers work fewer hours than most professions, the opposite is true. Teachers work in the school and outside of school responding to e-mails, making lesson plans, and grading papers. Most teachers favor the method of year round schooling because they are able to earn a significant amount more income. They are also able to retain certain flexibility with their contracts where they are allowed more vacation time throughout the year rather than just during the summer.
Some professionals might argue that summer vacation is beneficial to the student and teacher because they receive large amounts of rest and are less stressed counter argument but the truth is that during a school year that is not year-round the opposite is true. Due to the large break, teachers are pressured to cover large amounts of material and students are expected to learn it all. Logos Upon further investigation into the matter of summer vacation, one will find that the United States is behind on the trend of year-round schooling. Countries such as China and Germany organize their school years in a way that has a shorter break during the summer but more breaks throughout the year during spring and fall.
Many states across America have realized the benefits of year round schooling and have begun to implement his throughout their school systems. The first towns that implemented this method were Chicago, Boston, Washington D.C., Cleveland, Buffalo, and Detroit. These cities had schools sessions for 48 or more weeks at a time. The types of school schedules that were used were the 12-1 (12 weeks in school with 1 week break between the 12 weeks, which was more popular) and 12-4, with 4 weeks off in August and school ran continuously after (edweek.org). Through this method, students and teachers alike can benefit emotionally and physically. Summer vacation affects all different types of people involved in the school system. The detrimental effects summer vacation has on students can be rectified through year round schooling.
Dignan, Jennifer. “Is Summer Vacation Bad for You?” Scholastic, Helping Children Around the World to Read and Learn. Scholastic, Inc., n.d. Web. 20 Nov. 2013. “ERDC Reports.” ERDC Reports. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Nov. 2013. Huggins, Gary. “Education Nation: Summer Vacation: Bad for Kids’ Health?” NBC Education Nation. NBC Universal Media, 30 May 2012. Web. 20 Nov. 2013. “Learning Disability Fast Facts.” NCLD. National Center for Learning Disabilities, n.d. Web. 18 Nov. 2013. Sellors, Alyssa. “How Do Year-Round School Calendars Affect Students With a Learning Disability?” Everyday Life. Demand Media, n.d. Web. 20 Nov. 2013. Von Drehl, David. “The Case Against Summer Vacation.” TIME.com. Time Magazine, 22 July 201-. Web. 20 Nov. 2013. “Year-Round Schooling.” Research Center:. Editorial Projects in Education, 3 Aug. 2004. Web. 18 Nov. 2013.