Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Year-round Education

Year-round schooling is a hot topic among school districts across the United States, although it’s not a new idea. The first year-round school in the US opened in Indiana in 1904. What is not considered the traditional school-year calendar was designed to allow children to help their parents on the farm.

In recent decades, overcrowding, high drop-out rates and low standardized test scores have brought about a return of year-round school calendars, increasing from 410 public schools in 1985 to 3,095 in 2000.

Advantages includes: improved achievement test scores, reduced drop-out rates and more high school graduates going on to college, fewer discipline problems, improved teacher and student attendance, reduction in teacher stress, and reduction in class size. Another advantage is that minority youth tend to take advantage of educational opportunities provided through school activities occurring over breaks.

Disadvantages include findings that multi-tracks do not divide students and teachers equally in terms of ability. Also, year-round school calendars result in increased administrator and clerical burn-out, scheduling conflicts, siblings placed on different attendance schedules, less teacher enhancement opportunities and increased costs of operation.

As the debate continues, proponents honestly state that year-round schools are hard work to institute and that calendars don’t teach kids. Teachers do!

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