Do you remember that feeling you'd get on the last day of school? Remember how excited you'd be to finally get to do those summer things like ride bikes with your friends, stay up all night planning pranks, and chasing down the ice cream man after dinner? These are just a few of my favorite memories from those long summer days. Now picture this. It's a beautiful July day, perfect to spend a few lazy hours by the pool, but instead you'll be in school. Okay, sure you could come home and relax in the sun or take a walk with the kids next door. Think again, you'll have homework to do and tests to study for. But when will you have time to be a kid? That's what I'm questioning.
President Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan both believe that the school year in America is not adequate enought for kids to catch up to students in other countries where the school year is significantly longer than ours. Last April, Duncan said, "...I think schools should be open six, seven days a week, eleven, twelve months a year." They want to deprive kids of their summer vacation and personally, I think it's an idea that will not only be very unpopular, but should not be put into effect.
When making such a big decision, many things must be put into consideration. One thing, I think, is important is the stress level of kids. I know, from personal experience, that between a seven hour school day, homework, projects, and tests to study for, kids get extremely stressed out. I'm sure everyone can relate to this. Effects of long-term stress on kids can be very harmful. One symptom in particular can be confused with being rebellious, a kid who "blows up" at nothing could be dealing with chronic stress. Other effects of stress include being nervous, jumpy, and having a lack in concentration. Stressed out kids may also stop eating and have sleeping problem. All of this could affect schoolwork, which would have the opposite effect of what the government wants to happen by eliminating summer vacation. That period of time where kids don't have to worry about tests, homework, and reports is when they are relieved of all that built up stress. Doing away with summer vacation would deny kids their time in a stress free world.
Also, the problem may not be the number of days or hours we're in school, it could be the quality of the school we're in. According to a brief written by Pilar Marin, M.P.P. and Brett Brown, Ph. D., kids who experience violence in their school are more likely to skip school which might explain low acadmic scores. Students who attend schools with dangerous or threatening environments are more likely to experience stress, which as I previously mentioned, can affect schoolwork. Maybe if we improved the school environments here in America, more kids would actually go to school. From there, we could work out way up, trying to improve test scores. Personally, I think the environment a student is in effects their ability and willingness to learn. If a kid feels unsafe, they might not even try to apply themselves in fear of being ridiculed or even physically bullied by other students. Before we blame summer vacation on poor academic showing, let's look at other possible causes. The U.S. could get rid of summer vacation, and make every student go to school 250 days a year, but problems like violence will still be present and could still cause America to rank below other countries academically.
Yes, it is probably true that over the twelve or so weeks we are away from school, we forget a lot of what was taught to us. Instead of taking away summer vacation altogether, or shortening it, maybe it would be more logical to just give students mandatory work to do over the break? I'm not talking about so much work that they're just sitting at home everyday doing homework. At the grade school I attended, we had to read two books and complete a fifty page workbook. It's not that much work for twelve weeks, but I did a little bit every night and it kept me thinking. The school had given us a list of approved books, we were required to read two of them, and when we returned in the fall, we would be tested on them. The workbook contained paged of math, science, english, and reading comprehension. Of course, not many of us were trilled with the idea of having homework over the summer, but I realized that I remembered more from the previous year when I had to read and do a little work over the break. If everyone had a small amount of work to fo over the summer, maybe test scores wouldn't be so behind compared to other countries,
On the other hand, I can understand how someone might think it is a good idea to elimate summer vacation. President Obama thinks the traditional school day and year is causing America to fall behind in academics. He wantes to add three hours to the school day, and only have a three to four week break instead of summer vacation. His argument is very convincing, but I think the reasons I previously stated definitely rebuke Obama's reasoning. Stress and violence are big issues that won't go away or even lessen due to the fact that kids will be going to school a lot more. We need to take into account that adding three more hours to the school day would make about a ten hour day for students, longer than an average adult's day at work. Then, kids would have homework to do, adding another couple hours to their day. How are kids supposed to keep all of their schoolwork under control with such a long day and no summer reprieve? At first, the idea of no summer vacation may seem like a smart idea, but in reality it will just add stress to kids' lives. President Obama may think this will help America's youth, but really it might just make a generation of stressed out little people who never had the chance to be kids.
I believe that summer vacation is a vital part of kids lives. During the summer months, they get to relax and enjot being kids. Adults are always telling us that we should enjoy being young, because it won't last forever. Yet, they want to take it away from us. As adults we will have plenty of time to get stressed out and work all day, so let us enjoy what time we have left as kids. Keep summer vacation.
Thanks for reading:D
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Summer: 15 Days or 2 1/2 Months?
The final bell rings. It’s the last day of school, and summer has finally come! Students don’t have to think about school for at least another 2 1/2 months. That is the way it should always be. Schools should continue using the traditional calendar and not a year-round schedule. There are numerous downsides to year-round schooling. It has no positive effects on education, it adds to costs, and it disrupts the long-awaited summer vacation.
Contrary to the well-accepted belief, year-round schooling has no constructive impact on education. Most year-round schedules use the 45-15 method: 45 days of school followed by 15 days off. Because of this, there are many first and last days of school. All those transitions disrupt the learning process. Also, there is no evidence of higher test scores. Due to that, many schools that change to year-round schedules end up switching back. For example, since 1980, 95 percent of schools that tried the year-round schedule changed back to a traditional calendar. It is obvious that changing to year-round schooling does not help students; therefore, why is the change necessary?
Like any other facility, keeping a school open requires a great deal of money. When a school changes to a year-round schedule, the costs skyrocket. Keeping school open in the middle of summer requires air conditioning, and that adds significantly to the school’s expenses. The usual utility bills grow because of the additional open-school time. Finally, teachers must be paid for all the weeks they are working. With all these factors, the cost of keeping schools open becomes immensely high. For example, a high school in Arizona had a cost increase of $157,000 when they switched to year-round schooling. Some schools may not be able to handle such increases, and other schools that can handle these expenses could be doing better things with the money. Is year-round school really where the money should go?
An important part of a child’s life is summertime. With year-round schedules, students would hardly have any time to relax. During the 15-day breaks, they would be thinking about their quick return to school. It would also be difficult to coordinate family vacations with parents’ work schedules. Similarly, children would not be able to go to most summer camps. One expert, Dr. Peter Scales, says, “The biggest plus of camp is that camps help young people discover and explore their talents, interests, and values. Most schools don’t satisfy all these needs. Kids who have these kinds of [camp] experiences end up being healthier and have fewer problems.” Obviously, the summer is crucial to a child’s learning and development. Why should this invaluable part of a young person’s life be taken away?
It is evident that year-round schooling is not the best option for the school calendar. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the traditional school year. Why change something that works so well? The final bell rings. Let’s make sure this bell means that the “real” summer vacation has come.