All primary and secondary schools in the United States need to change from the traditional schooling system to the newer educational system of a year-round schooling system. A traditional school system is one where students go to school for nine months out of the year and receive a three month summer vacation, whereas students in a year-round school system follow a cycle of forty-five days in classes followed by a fifteen day period of rest, for the entire calendar year.
Students in a year-round school system get days off for holidays, too, such as Thanksgiving and Christmas, but often the breaks are much shorter and their summer break is only a month and a half long instead of three months. However, the advantages of attending a school with a year-round schooling system by far outweigh the disadvantages. Some of the advantages that will be discussed are retention of learned material from the whole school year due to a shorter summer vacation, reduction in disciplinary problems, and increased motivation among teachers and students.
The number one benefit of going to a year-round school calendar is that students are not as likely to forget the material they have learned over their summer break since the break is only six weeks long instead of twelve weeks long. In the traditional schooling system, teachers “spend up to six weeks in the beginning of the school year just going over what was learned the year before, refreshing the students and sharpening the skills previously introduced. ” (Boeye 1) Since the traditional schooling system spends so much time reviewing old material, traditional American schools “do ot score as well on tests because of the wasted time relearning old material and not receiving enough time to learn the new material” (Heinzman 3). Although many believe that reviewing old material can be beneficial, the fact remains that, regardless of the amount of time spent reviewing old material, a student outside the classroom for three months at a time is likely to forget much of what he or she learned. This presents a problem for teachers when there is a significant amount of new material that must be covered in the new school year.
Another benefit for students going to school all year is that they have less time to be bored over long summer vacations. Being in school year-round “keeps (students) off the street so they are not vandalizing folks’ property, and they are not doing things that otherwise, during the summer months they have a tendency to do” (Mack 10). In the classroom, teachers have seen a drastic change in the behavior of students who attend year-round school, and experience fewer disciplinary problems.
Although most kids do not enjoy school, there are always times during the summer break when kids wish they were back in school to see friends and have something to do. The shorter summers lend a positive aspect to year-round schools that both teachers and students benefit from. Due to the frequent short breaks all throughout the school year, students and teachers from year-round schools come back refreshed and more motivated to work in between vacations.
Year-round schools “experience less burn outs by teachers and see fewer high school age students become dropouts due to the frequent breaks” (Jones 2). As a result of the shorter, more frequent vacations, students are able to maintain better grades by not getting burned out as quickly. In addition to having the students return to school refreshed and motivated after their breaks, schools are also seeing fewer teachers quit their jobs due to the stress of long periods of teaching without breaks. Teachers have more patience and are more willing to spend time with those who need extra help.
The breaks that the teachers receive every forty five days seem to refresh the teachers and help to motivate them to keep going for the long haul. While some might enjoy a three-month long summer break, it is in the best interest of the students’ grades to attend school all year long since this leads to a more motivated classroom atmosphere. Also, the students are more likely to remember material covered in class better if they are only gone six weeks instead of twelve weeks for the summer. As a result of retaining the material, students will benefit from better test scores.
According to the NAYRE, “of thirteen studies of year-round-education performance since 1985…ten favored the year-round system over traditional schools and of those, seven found statistically significant learning gains by the year-round students” (Harp 2). The world we live in is becoming more of a global market, and American students need to be able to compete in the job market someday with people from all over. Their test scores and skills need to be cutting edge in order to be an active participant in this global market. One disadvantage of attending a year-round school is that it complicates family life.
This is due to the fact that in a family where “one child is at a year-round school and his or her sibling is at a traditional school, they may have separate days off of school. Then the parents may have to get one kid ready for school and prepare activities for the other child, who is at home. This also makes it very difficult to plan family vacations. ” (Rauh 2) For instance, a student who lives in a place where their only option is to attend a year-round school might have a cousin who lives in a different place where there are only traditional schools, making it very hard to plan vacations together.
However, these difficulties can be addressed by individual families and are not beyond coping with. Vacations may have to be planned out further in advance than the family may be used to, but the summer vacations given to year-round students do partly coincide with the summer vacations of students in traditional schooling systems, so planning vacations is always possible though these vacations may take more time and effort to plan. A second disadvantage for students that are enrolled in a year-round school is that the opportunity for a typical American teenager to get a summer job is slim to none.
There are very few places that will hire someone who can only work as a full time employee for a month and a half over the course of a summer. When students can’t get a job, they miss the opportunity to learn responsibility as well as make money to spend on the various activities they want to be involved in over the summer. With the economy being at its lowest state since the Great Depression, many parents, even the more well off parents, are not able to just give money to their kids to spend at the kids’ leisure like many parents would want to or did in the past.
Those are two of the major disadvantages that would most likely cause parents to fight changing over to the year-round schooling system from the traditional schooling system that has been most well known up until the recent years. There are many additional benefits to support year-round schooling as an effective way of learning for the primary and secondary levels other than the three primary benefits discussed here.
The students’ ability to retain more material due to the shorter breaks in the summer, reduced disciplinary problems, and greater motivation among both the teachers and students are just a few of the numerous benefits. According to Aristotle, “education is an ornament in prosperity. ” Because people in America are given the right to receive a public education and be successful, it is important that schools have the best standard of education, and year-round schools are noted for this high standard.