Danny Westneat had a column in the Times last week about summer vacation for K-12 public schools students. He boos the new initiatives for a longer school year (or even year-round) school on the premise that kids need the "value" of freedom? He says:
Doesn't that value, of freedom, count anymore? Or is it all now about prepping for the 21st-century global economy.
I know, not everyone can go to the San Juans. But we could try to spread summer's spirit, instead of giving up on it.
Give more kids a chance to run free. It may not be "expanded learning time." It can expand you just the same.
Here's the thing. If our schools had direct interventions during the school year for struggling students and enrichment for all and summer school for both remedial and enrichment, I'd say keep summer vacation. But that is not happening or is happening in a piecemeal fashion. Not good enough.
I know a couple of people (out of state) who had kids in year-round schools and they liked it. They said planning any kind of vacation was easier (and sometimes cheaper because they weren't trying to go in the summer like everyone else). Apparently, in some places, you get 3 week breaks throughout the year.
So you would have to do planning for day care if that were the case, there's one problem. On the other hand, there might be far fewer release days for professional development.
What is most important to me (and why, when my kids were in school, I would have been willing to accept the change) is because we have large numbers of kids falling behind during the summer. Most of them are kids who can't afford to fall behind. It just creates a worse strain on the whole system when school is in session.
I believe this is one place the feds could put their money (not RTTT). Fund summer programs for struggling kids. Do something that would really help.
At least Danny was honest about many parents not affording an "educational" vacation (or even wanting to take one). That's why I ask if we, as parents, would look beyond what we would want for our families and think about the system as a whole.