By the time students reach the 6th
grade they have lost two years of cumulative schooling and it only gets worse
as they get older. Students who attend traditionally scheduled school years
have suffered significantly from brain drain. Brain drain is a term for having
lost the previous year’s skills due to the long summer break. In most every
schools the first six weeks of the new school year is review of the previous
year. If public school systems transitioned to a year-round schedule, there
would be a verity of benefits. These benefits include higher teacher incomes,
since they are working more, greater educational opportunities, and of course,
lower levels of student brain drain.
year students lose 2.6 months of the previous year’s math and 2 months of the
previous year’s reading. While these losses get recovered throughout the
following year the amount of time spent recovering the lost data is outrageous.
Students who suffered from severe brain drain can have a hard time retaining
the new information because they are constantly having to go back over the work.
Math is where most of the losses exist because as students get older the math
gets more difficult. Some parents do not
see math as an essential skill outside the classroom, so they do not
proactively keep their child’s brain from losing the information. This is the
number one cause for brain drain according to gse.harvard.edu. Reading is the
next area of study to take a big hit. Students do not lose the ability to read,
but their reading comprehension and fluency decreases. This is due to the lack
of reading over the long break. Now this is not the case for all students.
Students preforming in the upper quartile did not show signs of lowered reading
skills in a study conducted by Reading Rockets, they actually showed signs of
slight improvement. Unfortunately, they higher performing students only make up
a small percentage of an average student body. The average students showed a
decrease in their reading abilities but they were minor in this study. Now,
that is not the same for every school as each school has a different student
make-up. Where the significant loss occurred was in the students performing in
the lower quartile. These students lost a large amount of their previous year’s
teachings. In total, by a student’s 6th grade year, they has lost an
average of 2 cumulative years of skills. This is holding students back. Because
English and math are built upon each year, if a student loses too much of that
skill they could be misplaced. Children could be held back or put into a remedial
class that they do not belong in, all because they hit that summer slump.
Alongside the lowered brain drain,
there are many other benefits to year-round school not all pertaining to the students.
Teachers benefit greatly from year-round teaching. They are more capable of
helping students one-on-one because they have less students at any given time
due to the staggered breaks. They also make more money because they are working
more hours throughout the year so their income increases. The staggered break
system works like this: certain group of students goes on break at a different time
than another given group. This keeps the teachers busy and the school
facilities are constantly in use. This means the school gets used to its full potential
and saves resources that are used to maintain the school over the long breaks.
The most common form of school scheduling is a 45-15 plan. Students attend
school for 45 school days before going on a 15 day vacation. This gives
students the refresher they need so they do not become school zombies. This
also keeps the school less crowded and calmer. Due to the shorter, more frequent
breaks, the students come back refreshed instead of being mentally over loaded.
Retention rates notably increased with this new form of scheduling. If students
are not losing the information they learned, than more time can go toward
teaching students more intricate concepts instead of reviewing old ones.
The national government has no
authority to implement a year-round school law but the states do under the 10th
Amendment. If the state feels its people are best served by a year-round school
system, it has the jurisdiction to do so. The 10th Amendment reads, “The powers
not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to
the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
This means that since the U.S. government has no authority over education. The states
do, giving them the power to structure their public schools however they want.
In a state where the economy is struggling, year-round school could be a big
benefit to working families by reducing their daycare costs. Under the 14th
Amendment every child must have equal access to education so a year-round
school system with equal access to all children could be a huge economic
benefit to the people.
Students in the traditional school
system, not homeschooling, would highly from changing to a year-round school schedule.
Students would retain more of their learned skills, so teachers would not have
to spend as much time reviewing. Teacher incomes would increase and the school
resources would get used to the max. Although year-round schooling does not
seem like a very appealing idea to current students, but the long term effects
would be useful and appreciated. It opens more opportunities to those who would
not have had the chance otherwise.