Year Round Education

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Many people are promoting new fads in education. It seems as though the subject areas that are most important on a global scale, such as math and science, are the subjects where qualified teachers are the scarcest. Is an inadequate education in these disciplines part of the reason why fewer pre-service teachers choose to specialize in them? What is the next step for American education? Year-round education could have a part to play. Proponents of year-round education argue that the key to success in school is continuous learning. They also argue that the traditional calendar works against efficient learning by sending students and teachers to months of school without significant breaks and sets students back significantly during a 60-70 day summer vacation. On the other hand, having a longer summer vacation is a tradition that is firmly entrenched in many communities. Is there really solid evidence to show that moving from a traditional calendar to a year-round calendar increases student achievement? Vanessa St. Gerard writes about the many benefits year-round schools purportedly have to offer in her article, Year-Round Schools Look Better All the Time.” St. Gerard references increased efficiency in year-round schools: “the end result which is achieved by making this change is usually a better use of time and resources for all of the stakeholders who are involved here” (St. Gerard, 2007, p. 56). Teachers and students are able to make better use of their time and resources in year-round schools because they don’t have to fight “summer learning loss” (St. Gerard, 2007, p. 57). St. Gerard notes a 1996 study by Harris M. Cooper in which all of the observed students lost skills in math and spelling and many also lost reading skills during their traditional summer vacations. The alternative, year-round schedule promoted by supporters such as the National

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