The issue of year round schools has for a long time been hotly debated over the past few years. While many students are spending time at home or on trips with their families, some are in school learning all summer long. According to Pierson (1), this situation is not so because they have summer classes, but because their school have switched to the year round-school schedule. Approximately 3,000 schools make use of this system in the country. Even though the traditional school system is considered to be better, year round school schedule has its pros as well as cons.
So, what precisely is Year-Round Schooling? Children in year-round schools go to classes for about six to nine weeks consecutively, broken up by a two to four-week vacation. At least 2.3 million students in the U.S. public schools attended the year-round schooling system during the 2002-03 school year (Editorial Projects in Education Research Center). In contrast to the well-accepted idea, year-round schooling does not have any beneficial impact on education. Many year-round schedules utilize the 45-15 approach; that is, 45 days of school which are then followed by 15 days off (Daniels 1). As a result of this, there are a lot first as well as last days of school and all those transitions interrupt the learning process. In addition, there is no proof of higher test scores resulting from year-round schooling. Due to that, most of the schools which change to year-round programs end up switching back (Grescoe 1).
Towler asserts that according to a Congressional Research report, the number of year-round schools have been on the rise, having increased by 27% since the year 2007. Most of these schools switch to the year-round schooling system so as to decrease student as well as teacher burnout, along with maximizing the use of school and their facilities. Nevertheless, extracurricular activities such as sports may be hard under the year-round schedule. In addition, there is a lot of pressure when it comes to setting up the classroom for the children to learn, making staff development not to be fully utilized by all teachers (Mathews).
According to Dessoff there are different types of year-round education, which includes; Single Track, Multitrack, as well as Extended Year. Most of the schools adopt the Single Track due to its popularity. This type of education has no additional days and schools have short breaks so as to prevent loss of learning. The Multitrack type of education divides students into groups where one group is on vacation whereas the other group goes to school and it helps the district to save money on building extra schools. The Extended Year type of education adds between 15 to 20 days per year, making it to be costly since staff members require to work more. President Obama has called upon schools to adopt the year-round schedule so as to enable U.S. children to compete on a global scale with other children (American Library Association 2).
According to Portland Press Herald, the reasons that schools get shut down for 10 weeks each summer is not a good one. This is because so much that has changed since 1910 hence making the continuity of the school calendar to be insensible. As a result, the traditional school system is hurting both the children and their families, in addition to wasting that tax payers dollars each year, when schools are shut down for the summer. Learning ought to be a year-round activity and schools should be a component of the lives of students even during the summer. After students return to school in September, they will have lost a period of two months which is worth the grade-level proficiency in computational skills in mathematics. As a result, the long summer breaks are responsible for the increasing discrepancy in the level of education over the years.
The major advantage of a year-round education is that it makes it possible for learning to take place continuously since the students are hardly out of school for a longer time period. As a result, students tend to forget the classroom material less over the shorter breaks, whereas teachers spend less time in reviewing pre-vacation material. In addition, another real advantage of year-round education is the fact that schools may offer an additional session of remedial as well as enrichment classes to some students between sessions.
The year-round school schedules offer numerous benefits to the teachers. One of the benefits that teachers derive from this schedule is that they get an improved pay and they as well have a better work schedule (Sadowski 1). The year-round schools are capable of meeting of teachers who wish to have extra pay days. Most teachers believe that the education quality in year-round schools is much better in comparison to that of traditional school programs as a result of the continuity of education. These teachers in the year-round school programs as well believe that it has a constructive impact on the manner in which they think about as well as plan for instruction due to the organization of the educational time. Because of the regular intervals all through the academic year, most teachers find it to be more efficient and useful to plan curriculum for a shorter time.
Most parents are however against the year-round schedules (Fleming). This is because they feel that the summer vacations help their children to be with families and work for summer jobs, which enable them to receive excellent value from the breaks. In addition, at the commencement of the summer breaks, children are messed up by the examinations that they just finished and they need an ample time to relax. Fleming asserts that the year-round school schedule is designed to cut down on student overcrowding. Such a program increased the class occupancy of District Schools in Los Angeles by 50 percent without the need of constructing new classrooms.
Similar to any other organization, keeping a school open needs a great deal of funds to finance its activities. When a school makes a transition to a year-round program, the expenses which it incurs skyrocket. Keeping a school open during mid-summer requires air conditioning, which adds significantly to the expenses of schools. The typical utility bills increase because of the added open-school time. Teachers must be paid for the service they offer for all the weeks that the schools remain open. Considering all these aspects, the cost of keeping the schools open becomes very high. Some schools might not have the capacity to cope with such increases. It is imperative to comprehend the fact that most students who are in a year-round school system attend school for the same number of days as the students who are in the traditional nine-month schools. Therefore, for most of the students, there is no benefit of additional time within the classroom environment. What is different regarding year-round school schedules is that the days are prearranged differently.
According to Lynch, he argues that year-round schooling is not beneficial as it leads to rising costs of utilities such as energy consumption in schools. He states that having empty classes during the summer holidays imply that less money will be spent by the schools it funding air conditioning costs as well as other expenses. In addition, Lynch asserts that time that is spent by children while they are on summer holidays is very imperative in their development. The pleasant summer’s weather offers a perfect opportunity for the children to spend time outside so that they may experience childhood. As a result, year-round schooling denies children this opportunity to experience their childhood and enjoy themselves.
Portland Press Herald recommends that a better solution to the traditional schooling system would be adding the length of the schools’ academic year. A shorter summer session would stop children from backsliding in terms of academics. It will as well offer more opportunities to advance faster in their academics. Melissa refers to studies which make comparisons between year round schooling system with the traditional schedule as being problematic because they are not conclusive. This arises from the fact that it is difficult to segregate the year round calendar for any advantage or disadvantage that they have. Even though students can utilize their summer break to attend important activities such as camp tuition, most parents cannot be able to afford such expenses (Portland Press Herald). As a result, students whose parents cannot afford such expenses get bored at home which may result in an increment in issues such as childhood obesity. The problems which result from these long summer breaks are not new to educators.
In conclusion, even though year-round school schedules have numerous benefits such as solving budgetary, population, and academic issues, there are as well numerous disadvantages to this system. The same applies for the traditional schooling system. Many district school districts select the year-round schooling schedule as a measure of cutting costs. Nevertheless, summer period is an important part of every child’s life. With year-round schedules, most students will hardly have any free time to relax.