School’s Out for Summer-A Good Idea?
The school day in the United States is the shortest among its international peers. The world’s average school year is 200 days; the average school year in the United States is 180 days. Does that account for low academic achievement compared to those nations as well?
Since the 1980s, educators have debated the question of whether increasing the length of the school day and year would have a measurable impact on student achievement in the United States. Scholars and academics disagree, and will continue to do so.
So what’s a parent to think? Most teachers will tell you that the first few weeks of school are spent in review. Logic dictates that the skills we acquire get rusty with disuse. Most adults would go one-fourth of a year without reading a book, a report, a newsletter, a magazine, or writing. Yet, for some reason, we think that giving our children a three month break from intellectual activity is desirable or even necessary.
We all need a break. The winters in the Midwest are too long, and the summers are too short. However, summer is also a time that students can use to their academic advantage. While scholars and statisticians may differ on the benefit of year-round school, they do agree on one important point. The summer months play a significant role in closing the achievement gap for students who lag behind their peers.
As a teacher and tutor, I firmly believe that more of the same does not translate into higher achievement. If a student is struggling in the classroom, more hours in the classroom will probably not have a significant impact. Quality, one-on-one instruction, on the other hand, may just be the answer.
The benefits of summer tutoring are immeasurable. Not only does it ensure that skills gained over the course of the academic year are not lost, it allows the student to develop and hone the skills necessary to achieve academically. It also provides the time to master the curriculum that previously eluded them. Most importantly, the student is able to approach the new term with confidence and self-esteem. And that, as the commercial says, is priceless.