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Time To Get Rid Of Summer Vacation For Schoolchildren?

Students in Classroom

Writing at Politico Magazine, Bridget Ansel makes an argument that has been quite common among education policy advocates in recent decades, namely that a school calender that includes two months or more off for summer vacation doesn’t make sense anymore:

The nine-month, 180-day school year is not a relic of our agrarian past — as many wrongly assume — but rather the legacy of a bygone era when spending hours inside a sweltering, air-conditioning-free classroom (or office, for that matter) was implausible. Although most industries eliminated the summer furlough with the advent of temperature-controlled buildings, school boards have retained schedules that are stuck in the past, with serious consequences for America’s children.

Once school is out for the summer, the opportunity for children to engage in educational activities of any kind decreases. Studies show that, on average, students lose about a month’s worth of instruction, as measured by standardized test scores. But not everyone is average and, as a 2011 RAND Corp. report finds, summer learning loss disproportionately affects poor students, who already begin school behind their more affluent classmates. Research shows that any high-quality summer program that keeps children engaged — whether that is a traditional camp, summer school or even frequent trips to the museum — can mitigate summer learning loss.

The problem is, not everyone can afford to send their kids to a fancy summer program. That means low-income children (exactly the children that could benefit most from such programs) cannot afford to participate. Meanwhile, in a world in which most children grow up in a household without a full-time caregiver, low-income parents not only struggle to find full-time care but also must divert large a large fraction of their limited salaries to pay for it.
Worst of all, this loss is cumulative, with serious consequences as the achievement gap widens every summer. Karl Alexander, a Johns Hopkins University sociologist, tracked 650 children in the Baltimore public schools, recording their scores on the California Achievement Test in June and again in September, after summer break had ended. Alexander found that the poorest kids “outlearn” their wealthier peers in terms of knowledge gained during the academic year, but during the summer months they fall further behind. In contrast, the wealthier children, aided by a home full of books, organized summer camps and “concerted cultivation”-type parenting, continue to develop their skills.

Efforts to help low-income students overcome these summer losses are not enough. By the time these children reached the ninth grade, Alexander found, more than half of the achievement gap between lower- and higher-income students can be explained by unequal learning loss.

As I said, this isn’t really a new argument. There have been education policy experts talking about eliminating summer vacation in the American school calendar for decades now. For the most part, their arguments are similar to the ones that Ansel makes in her piece, and they are hard to argue wih. It’s undeniable that there is at least some ‘learning loss’ that occurs during the two months that students are away from school. Any one of us who went to school can likely attest to that, and to the fact that it wasn’t uncommon for at least some portion of the early parts of the new school year to focus on things that had been taught in the previous year, if only so that teachers can make sure that students have in fact mastered old material before moving on to something new. As Ansel notes, this loss seems to be greater among lower income students whose parents cannot afford to send them to summer programs or camps with educational themes; although I’m not certain that the practice of doing so is as common among middle and upper class parents as she implies that it is.

In response to these criticism, there have been some limited experiments with some form of “year round” schooling. In general, these experiments take the tradition 180-day school year, which is another issue entirely, and break it up across the space of an entire year with breaks of no more than six weeks in between sessions. This obviously means a much shorter summer break, but it also means longer breaks around the holidays and other times of the year when families are likely to travel.  For the most part, though, these are very limited experiments in various school districts across the country, comprising about 10% of all American public school studentsalthough there has been an increase of more than 500% in the number of districts following such a calendar since 1987.  While this sample size is obviously pretty small,the evidence on whether or not it actually helps when it comes to student performance seems to be mixed:

Research on whether learning improves in year-round schools is mixed, with some year-round schools reporting gains and others finding that kids on traditional schedules do better. Esther Fusco, a professor at Hofstra University’s School of Education, Health and Human Services, says that overall, “research suggests that students in high-needs districts and those who have disabilities do better in year-round learning situations. This is logical because these students do not have the down time that occurs over the summer. But the results are not very significant. I have not seen any study that shows students greatly improve.”

(…)

Salt Lake City ended its year-round schools in 2011 after an analysis showed that comparable local schools with traditional calendars had better test scores, according to Jason R. Olsen, spokesman for the Salt Lake City School District. Going back to the regular calendar also saves the district money, Olsen said.

(…)

Billee Bussard, who runs an organization in Florida called Summer Matters, says there’s another piece to the argument against year-round schools. “The year-round calendar limits the window of opportunity for parents to give their children learning experiences outside the school walls,” she says, echoing many parents who cite the importance of extended family time, opportunities for summer camp or travel, and summer jobs that help teens earn money and build resumes.

As I said, the mixed statistics may be as much a reflection of the fact that year-round schooling has been a very limited experiment in the United States as anything else. Additionally, its worth noting that, for the most part, this new calendar seems to usually only be implemented in “better” school systems rather in the ones where the lower income students that Ansel talks about are attending school, so its unclear if this kind of calendar would help these types of students in the way that she suggests. In the end, though, the mixed results are just one of the reasons why its unlikely that we’ll see year-round schooling adopted nationwide any time soon.

For better or worse, the summer vacation has become a part of American culture and an important part of the American economy. Amusement parks, beach destinations, and other venues make a great deal of money based on the fact that American families take their vacations during the summer months, and they are likely to be strong opponents of any effort to change school calendars in a way that would make summer vacations less likely. Here in Virginia, for example, it is against state law for school districts to even consider opening prior to Labor Day, a law that has been dubbed the “Kings Dominion Law” after the large theme park located just north of Richmond.Every effort to change that law has failed miserably, even though several school districts have expressed an interest in starting school earlier, such as the last week of August. There are, no doubt, similar pressures from vacation industry interests in other states, although it is worth noting that several states in the Deep South start school far earlier than Labor Day.

In the end, the advocates for year-round schooling have a point. A ten to twelve week break makes no real sense in the modern world. Ideally, school calenders would have the same sort of staggered schedule that some of these experimental programs have adopted. Additionally, it is clearly long past time to reconsider the idea of the 180 day school year, a calendar that is far shorter than those in most other advanced nations. Given that we rarely deal with issues like this rationally, or quickly, though, its likely that we’re just going to keep doing things the way they’ve always been done even when there potentially better alternatives out there.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Hal_10000 says:

    I dunno. I’m aware of the studies on summer vacation. But it seems to me this is yet another in the long list of “fixes” for our public school system that roughly equate to more school == better school. I don’t necessarily see that as true (although it should be noted that many countries that have year-round schooling compensate with shorter days, so the amount of in-school time is not that different).

    In general, I am extremely leery of one-size-fits-all solutions for any of our educational problems. The idea that what works for inner city Baltimore can be the same as what works in suburban Atlanta can be the same as what works in rural Iowa is frankly insane. It’s possible that year-round-schooling would help in some districts but unlikely it would help in all of them. We are likely to continue to see mixed results. I would much prefer a system that gives a lot more flexibility to the school districts, and in more ways than when they schedule vacation.

    (I also suspect there would be some resistance from teachers, some of whom look forward to the long summer break as a time to get other things done, including courses to improve their teaching skills.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  2. James says:

    I’m just curious, the schools I went to did not have air conditioning. How many other schools would need to be upgraded, how much would it cost and what would be the extra expenditure for electricity to run it?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  3. Just Me says:

    The vast majority of schools in New Hampshire do not have air conditioning-even newer schools (depends a lot on the district if they opt to put AC into a new building-our school hasn’t built a new building in 25 years) but in know a school in another district built about 8 years ago and didn’t install AC. There are some parts of the building with it (offices that are staffed year round) but not the classrooms.

    Our schools are extremely hot the last few weeks of June and sometimes the first month of school.

    It would be a horrible learning environment to have school in July and the first few weeks of August.

    That said-rather than a year round school I would like to see a slightly shorter summer (maybe 4-6 weeks) with a couple of weeks vacation added during the year. Maybe do a full week at Thanksgiving and add either full weeks or a few 4 day weekends through out the calendar.

    I like smaller breaks but I also enjoy doing things in the summer like the beach and vacation.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  4. James Joyner says:

    I actually think the secondary argument—that our public schools are de facto day care systems in addition to educational institutions and that weekdays when kids are out of school thus represents a burden on the poor or those without a stay-at-home parent—is the more interesting and compelling one. I’m not sure school should serve that function but there’s no doubt that it does. And since having kids of my own I’ve been more aware of the inconveniences caused by, for example, unscheduled outages for snow days and whatnot in which those without the luxury of a nanny or other ready alternative have to either scramble to make arrangements or miss a day of work. We’re still operating as if most kids have stay-at-home moms despite that not having been the reality in more than a quarter century.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  5. michael reynolds says:

    I’d pull my kids out of any system that eliminates summer vacation. It’s already shortened from my day. Enough already. Stop hammering kids and get off their backs.

    Of course I know it’s a problem for poor and working class parents – find another solution.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 2

  6. superdestroyer says:

    I have always thought that the elites who push this idea are less interested in helping the poorest kids because those kids to such poor performing schools but that the real purpose is a create a bigger gap between the suburbanite kids in public school and their private schooled counterparts. Does anyone really believe that Harvard Westlake, the Dalton School, or Sidwell Friends would go to year round school? Why eliminate summer camps, travel, and other learning opportunities for the middle class just because poor kids would receive some slight benefit?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3

  7. Tyrell says:

    @James: Our schools have a/c but many are old units and the county has to fight to keep them up. About half are down on any given school day. Replacing them would require a tax increase, and that won’t happen here. Also the utility costs would soar for June, July, and August. Our weather here is hot and miserable humidity.
    The problem of vacations would be an issue, since most people around here prefer summer vacations and that would mean high absences.
    Then there is the economic impact. Think about it: beaches, resorts, swim clubs, theme parks, and water parks depend on not only customers, but students and teachers for summer employees. Our state could not afford a hit on the vacation industry. It accounts for 25% or more of the yearly tax revenues.
    And let’s not overlook the time honored traditions that we remembered and loved about summer:
    picnics, fishing, watermelon seed spitting contests, the cookouts, catching lightning bugs, putt-putt golf, camping, vacation Bible School, roller coasters, water slides, exploring the woods, and days at the pool. Most people I know love summer and think kids need a break.
    Our state doesn’t have enough money to run the schools for nine months. Where would the money come from to pay not only the teachers, but bus drivers, janitors, and lunchroom workers? They are not about to work for free. Many of the teachers have summer jobs, many of which pay more than their teaching jobs.
    Summer school was tried here several years ago and flopped when many students (and teachers) were out a lot. Didn’t work then. Won’t work now.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  8. DrDaveT says:

    Some of the commenters seem to be conflating “less summer vacation” with “more days of school”. As noted in the article, one option is to simply space the current 180-odd days of education more evenly across the year, with three or four similarly-sized breaks instead of one humongous one. There’s good evidence that this would lead to much less backsliding from year to year, in terms of lost skills.

    I agree that we don’t need to work our kids any harder, especially in the primary grades. We do, however, need to (a) give them a chance to retain what they’re taught, and (b) stop promoting them if they haven’t learned it in the first place.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  9. Just Me says:

    I think shorter more spread out breaks sounds great.

    I still would prefer a slightly extended summer break though. Where I live summer is when you can do things because other parts of the year are too cold and snowy.

    Also, the poor are poorly affected but not sure it’s because wealthier families spend tons of money on camps etc. we can’t afford summer camps or other programs but my kids have transitioned just fine after the summer break. We do, however read a lot.

    I also balk at turning school even further into glorified daycare. Yes it sucks for working parents when school has a cancellation but the more we see school as glorified daycare the more it will lose it’s actual mission.

    One idea for the poor outside of those kids who already qualify for summer school would be to create a grant system that poor people or their districts can qualify for.

    Our recreation center runs a very good summer camp (they do a lot of stuff but it isn’t school stuff) and they have subsidized fees for those who qualify (not sure the income formula but the price is very reasonable to free).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  10. Tyrell says:

    @DrDaveT: You would still have the a/c problem, which would increase expenses in many hot weather school districts. Also, where would vacation places, such as pools, theme parks, beaches, lemonade stands, water parks, and parks get their employees? They depend heavily on students and teachers. And most retired people would probably not be a life guard (no offense). Having summer school would obviously affect attendance at those places. Many states depend on summer tourism industries. They can’t afford a hit on that.
    “Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer, those days of soda, pretzels, and beer” (Cole)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  11. James Joyner says:

    @michael reynolds: I’d prefer more school–or at least camplike activities at school to occupy kids during the workday—and less homework and other extracurricular bullshit that sucks the life out of them and parents alike. Mine are in preschool, with the oldest about to start kindergarten. But I’ve heard the horror stories about the after-school work demanded even at the elementary level these days. It’s absurd.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  12. Just Me says:

    James how much after school work depends a lot on the teacher and the district. Our district has gotten to where it discourages busy work (or parent project) type work for elementary and middle school kids. The elementary school mostly focuses on at home reading with some additional math practice. But this really varies.

    I think how much stuff kids do after school activity wise is a parent issue not a school issue. When my kids were in elementary school they could choose one activity per portion of the year. In middle school pretty much all their activities were school sponsored (band, sports, drama etc). We never did dance, gymnastics, karate etc because we could not afford those activities.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  13. Tyrell says:

    @Just Me: There are some studies on the value of homework.
    “Does homework really help?”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  14. tarylcabot says:

    Our summer break is now 2 months & 6 days (last day June 13 – first day August 19) and frankly it’s disappointing – feel like the family is being cheated of our summer.

    If you want to argue for more 3 week breaks during the year, so total time off is about the same, i could probably go with that, but please don’t cheat children of their time off from school.

    A bit off the topic, but….
    Overall, this shortened summer seems to be part of “reform” efforts along with giving kids homework in kindergarten. A bad idea to solve the “our children are falling behind” belief.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  15. Just Me says:

    They’ll kind off topic but for younger kids at least lost research indicates homework doesn’t help.

    Having a lot of access to books and reading often does correlate to academic success.

    Music education also has a strong correlation with academic success. There are some schools in our area that have a music class pull out for struggling readers. By working on rhythm and pitch it helps students read more fluently (there is a rhyth and pitch to reading). There is also good research that indicates playing an instrument correlates with higher math scores. The irony is that there is more solid research h connecting music to academics than longer school days or school years but the first things often cut from budgets are the music programs.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  16. superdestroyer says:

    @DrDaveT:

    How do you fit high school sports into a school year where people are taking off six weeks at a time? How do middle class and above students add things to their college application resume when they are in school in the middle of the summer and the private school kids are not? What is the point of having six weeks off in January or February? What benefit does it do the kids then (except for those who ski?)

    There is more reasons for a summer break than just agriculture. Schools used to take a huge break in the fall (Harvest Season) but do not any more. Why take breaks when there no programs for the kids. Why take breaks when colleges are in session?

    Why not focus on why parents who will purchase sports clothes for their children cannot be bothered to take them to the public library?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  17. Just 'nutha' ig'rant cracker says:

    @Hal_10000: On your last point, and related to the item in the article noting that districts switch back to cut operating expenses (so that high-paid administration posts need not be cut to balance the budget[???]), one of the benefits of the summer break is that it provides the large block of time that is more desirable for teachers expanding their skills (and required to have “continuing education credits”). Of course, the district CAN allow mid-year leave time with a replacement teacher, but there is a downside to that move–as a substitute teacher (working by state law no more than 10 consecutive days in one class room) I earned about $75/day. At the times that I was a “leave replacement teacher,” I earned $375/day. A significant difference. Allowing for every teacher needing one educational leave replacement every 5 years, most schools would need about 15 leave replacements every academic term. Big bucks (but still less than administrators make).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  18. Just 'nutha' ig'rant cracker says:

    @superdestroyer: At last, you said something worth an upvote. Downvoters: consider what he actually said, rather than the source. It is an interesting point.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  19. Grewgills says:

    @superdestroyer:

    Does anyone really believe that Harvard Westlake, the Dalton School, or Sidwell Friends would go to year round school?

    I have worked at relatively high end private high schools ($20K+ tuition) that did move to a more year round model. It may not be Sidwell, but the parents were mostly quite well of and involved. This isn’t a conspiracy to deprive anyone of anything.
    @superdestroyer:

    How do you fit high school sports into a school year where people are taking off six weeks at a time?

    Sports can and should be fit around academics, not the other way around.

    How do middle class and above students add things to their college application resume when they are in school in the middle of the summer and the private school kids are not?

    What are these things that will be missed by spreading breaks out more evenly over the year?

    What is the point of having six weeks off in January or February? What benefit does it do the kids then (except for those who ski?)

    The 6 weeks generally start in December. A lot of people like to spend time with their families then.

    There is more reasons for a summer break than just agriculture.

    What is that, that could not be accomplished over more shorter breaks?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  20. Sherparick says:

    Another benefit of year round schooling would probably help working class and lower middle class families, who have tremendous child care problems over summer vacations when the parents are working and you will apparently go to jail if don’t have constant adult supervision of any child twelve and under with the current zeitgeiss. See the Harrell case in South Carolina.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  21. superdestroyer says:

    @Sherparick:

    How does it help to have to find full day child care for six week periods every couple of months? With no summer camps, no day camps during the non-summer months, there will actually be fewer opportunities for parents to find good day care.

    Also, what are junior high aged students suppose to do in October or February to fill the days during the few weeks off?.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  22. grumpy realist says:

    Maybe we’d do better to provide cheap or free day care for kids during the summer.

    We’re still working on the assumption that every household has a SAHM to take care of things.
    (I’m also rather ticked at SAHMs–if all the self-professed mommybloggers in the US stopped posting on Facebook about their children and instead started really pushing as a lobbying group for political action, all the stuff they keep bitching about (lack of Social Security for housewives, better rights under law for dependent spouses, school hours more commensurate with work schedules, etc.) would be solved. But no, it’s easier to bake cookies and keep on complaining…..)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  23. Just Me says:

    @superdestroyer:

    Agreed-I actually think having to find child are for a couple of weeks every few months more difficult than child are for the summer. But once again I think it is a mistake to set educational policy based on what working parents need. Set educational policy based on what’s best for the child and then let smart, creative people come in and figure out how to bridge the gap between educational policy and parental needs. This is why many schools have before and after school care programs and summer rec day camp programs. Yes there are still gaps but school isn’t glorified daycare or free public care for working parents.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  24. wr says:

    @Tyrell: “Where would the money come from to pay not only the teachers, but bus drivers, janitors, and lunchroom workers?”

    Raising taxes back to the level where they can actually pay for the nation we claim to want.

    Not that I’m arguing for year-round schooling — just funding what we have properly!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  25. wr says:

    @superdestroyer: “How do you fit high school sports into a school year where people are taking off six weeks at a time?”

    It doesn’t matter, because once we’re a one-party state the democrats will steal all the money from high school sports so they use it to entice more scary brown people to come over the border.

    Don’t know how you missed that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  26. wr says:

    @Just ‘nutha’ ig’rant cracker: “Downvoters: consider what he actually said, rather than the source. ”

    Too late!

    Sorry…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  27. superdestroyer says:

    @wr:

    What are you willing to give up for pay higher taxes? Unless someone who says they want higher taxes answer than questions, they are not serious.

    Also, image trying to operate a day care center where the surge occurs for a couple a weeks every couple of months instead of one time in the summer? I thought progressives were against more party time jobs?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  28. DrDaveT says:

    @superdestroyer:

    six week periods every couple of months

    Well there’s the problem — you’ve been working on the assumption that summer vacation is 9 months long. (6×6=36 weeks ~= 9 months)

    In reality, summer vacation in my neck of the woods is 10-12 weeks, depending on which school district you’re looking at. They also get a week at Christmas winter break, and a week at Easter spring break. Call it 13 total weeks of “block vacation” over the year.

    I really don’t see the inevitable calamity of breaking up those 13 weeks as
    3 weeks in late December / early January
    2 weeks in late March / early April
    6 weeks in midsummer
    2 weeks in September

    From a retention point of view, this is orders of magnitude better. You still get a 6 week block for touristy summer fun, at the time of peak A/C need (in the south) — plus you also get a 3 week break at the time of peak heating oil expense in the north. Organizing curriculum from semester blocks into quarter blocks is trivial. Sports are not seriously affected, even if you think that’s more important than academics.

    Add or subtract a week here or there, if you want more or less total block vacation. Where’s the problem?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  29. Pinky says:

    Is that correct that 10% of public school kids are on a year-round schedule? If so, that’d be a really big sample size. There are something like 50 million public school kids.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  30. Ben Wolf says:

    @James Joyner: You’ve hit on the real problem in public education, that is parents. Kids with a lousy home environment face an enormous barrier to learning and the capacity for schools to compensate is limited. In that sense keeping children in school and away from their parents more of the time is probably going to be a net benefit.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  31. superdestroyer says:

    @DrDaveT:

    Summer camps and summer programs cannot exist for a six week program. That means that only the very expensive programs for the rich, private school kids will exist. The two weeks in September means that high school football along with Marching Band, Cheer-leading, etc is eliminated since you are eliminating three weeks out of the fall semester. Also, try to find full time day care for just two weeks in September.

    Extended Christmas just means that one gets to vacation in Florida or California but no taking your family anywhere else. It also makes springs sports other types of inter-school competitions harder. Once again, it punishes the middle class kids and benefits the rich kids.

    Why punish the middle class kids whose parents (plural) can afford out of school programs just so the single parent poor children do not slide as much. My guess is that July/August classes will be a waste and many kids will just not show up much like they do not show up in the middle of August in schools in Texas (and other states).

    A quick rule of thumb for looking at education proposals: Does it make school more or less like the schools the Obama girls attend. Anything that makes public schools less like Sidwell Friends should be avoided.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  32. Grewgills says:

    @superdestroyer:

    Summer camps and summer programs cannot exist for a six week program.

    Nonsense, most of them are 6 weeks or less. Every boy scout camp and summer program I have ever been in was six weeks or less and none that I ever taught in was more than 8 weeks.

    The two weeks in September means that high school football along with Marching Band, Cheer-leading, etc is eliminated since you are eliminating three weeks out of the fall semester.

    BS. HS sports are on the schedule they are on because of the school calendar. If the school calendar changes the sports calendar will change with it. Do you really think that HS football teams will collapse with two weeks off? If you see that level of drop off with sports in two weeks, why can’t you see the problem with academic retention with near 3 months off?

    Anything that makes public schools less like Sidwell Friends should be avoided.

    Public schools cannot be like Sidwell or any other exclusive and very high end private school that limit enrollment to only a vanishingly small portion of the populace.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  33. Just Me says:

    I don’t think a couple of weeks in September is the horror for sports you think it is.

    Many schools around here actually start fall sports before the school year starts (in NH sports that are outside need to be done by November so they often have a game or two before classes start). Practices begin before school as well.

    In the spring there are softball, baseballs games and track meets over spring break. Do some students miss them? Yes but coaches deal with those things.

    Schools can work these things out.

    I am not sure I like the idea of year round schools, but I like the idea of a shorter summer vacation during the hottest months and a few more breaks spread over the school year.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  34. DrDaveT says:

    @superdestroyer:

    Summer camps and summer programs cannot exist for a six week program.

    So I guess that 2-week state arts camp I attended for 4 years was a figment of my imagination? Along with the Boy Scout camp that was open for 8 consecutive one-week sessions every year? (Which works because not every school district will take the same 6 weeks off…)

    The two weeks in September means that high school football along with Marching Band, Cheer-leading, etc is eliminated

    Come on, not even you believe this. See other replies. Extracurricular activities aren’t tied to the classroom schedule.

    Extended Christmas just means that one gets to vacation in Florida or California but no taking your family anywhere else.

    So three weeks is worse than one week? Care to unpack that?

    Everything you assert here is pure crap. I’m sorry that you have so little imagination, but all of the things you say are impossible are already happening in various places around the country.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  35. bill says:

    @James Joyner: your secondary argument is actually the primary one these days, however unfortunate. they have 3-4 yr olds lining up for pre-k in Htown, and most don’t speak english so it’s a double whammy- and a free breakfast/lunch.
    the secondary would be the teachers union, i don’t see them budging without massive concessions. and somewhere in there there’s the actual process of “learning” which seems to take a back seat the the former 2.
    i won’t even dwell on how the inner city wealthy send their kids to private schools……oh, just did.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  36. wr says:

    @superdestroyer: “What are you willing to give up for pay higher taxes?”

    What do you mean? I’m willing to give up the money the extra taxes would cost me? It’s not like they’re going to start collecting in blood.

    I’m sorry, but that question is as insulting as it is silly, because it only makes sense it I’m advocating for higher taxes with no idea that if they’re passed I’ll have to pay them.

    Since that’s not the case, the question answers itself.

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  37. wr says:

    @superdestroyer: “Also, image trying to operate a day care center where the surge occurs for a couple a weeks every couple of months instead of one time in the summer? I thought progressives were against more party time jobs?”

    And if you’d actually made it through all two sentences of my message, you would have read my statement that I’m not in favor of year-round schools, just for taxes high enough to actually support or improve what we have now.

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  38. Pinky says:

    I think that superdestroyer’s saying that massive, near-100%-of-all-kids summer programs can’t exist because they’d be economically unfeasible. That’d be consistent with the rest of his position.

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