Two days before Thanksgiving, the Indianapolis School Board will make a decision sure to be a discussion around the turkey in just about every home with young children. That’s when board members will vote on whether to adopt year-round classes. If the board approves the measure, Indianapolis pupils would go to school in cycles of eight to 10 weeks, with three to five weeks off after each, throughout the year.
That would put them among the growing number of children around the nation who are going to school on so-called balanced schedules. Indianapolis, just the latest in growing list of states adopting the year round school curriculum for a number of reasons. Some that have been received by parents and educators with approving receptiveness, some of the reasons suspect. There are the usual percentages of for and against.
Let’s do a quick study in Year Round Education. Bring your note books and pencils; class is in session
Ten years ago, according to Education Department statistics, about 1.5 million public school children went to class on a “balanced schedule” — usually shorthanded as YRE, for “year-round education.”Six years ago, that number was up to 2 million. By 2008, nearly 2.5 million pupils were on an YRE plan. That’s the last year for which official figures are available, but since then, some of the nation’s biggest districts have adopted or expanded YRE in their facilities, notably the Chicago Public Schools, and others — including Houston and Indianapolis — could join them next year.
The traditional calendar, of course, is divided into nine months of instruction and three months of vacation during the summer. Year-round calendars break these long instructional/vacation blocks into shorter units. You still do the 180 days for the most parts the difference is the long summer break is broken up over an entire year at different intervals instead of the standard three months. The normal breaks (holiday, spring) are still built into this calendar. Of course, there are many others ways to organize the calendar, including the 60-20 and the 90-30 plans.
The major benefit of year-round education is that it facilitates continuous learning as the students are not ever out of school for a long period of time. Another real benefit of year-round education is that schools can offer an extra session of remedial and enrichment classes to some of the students between sessions. The latter really benefits children from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. YRE shows them making just as much progress during the academic year as better-off children whose parents can afford pricy tutors and camps to fill the void during a traditional curriculums 3 month summer vacation. On standardized reading comprehension tests, YRE students improved by about 195 points regardless which socioeconomic background they come from, low, middle or high, the researchers found. Now outside of that there are some fors and against arguments.
Arguments for Year Round Education
- · Students tend to forget a lot during the summer, and shorter vacations might increase retention rates.
- · Schools that are not being used in the summer are inefficient.
- · Short breaks can provide time for students to receive enrichment education.
- · Remediation can occur when it is most needed during the school year.
- · Students get bored during the long break of summer.
- · It’s easier to schedule vacations because not everyone wants to travel at the same time.
- · Other countries around the world use this system.
- · More students can be accommodated at one school through multi-tracking.
Arguments against Year Round Education
- · Studies have been inconclusive to its academic benefits.
- · Students are going to forget information whether they are out of school for three weeks or 10. Therefore, teachers will be performing four beginning of the year reviews instead of just one. · Summer programs such as youth camps suffer.
- · Student summer employment will be virtually impossible.
· Many schools are older and do not have air conditioning.
- · Band and other extracurricular programs could be hurt because of problems scheduling out of school practices and competitions.
- · If the entire school district does not go year round, parents could have students at different schools on different schedules.
What are your thoughts. Please leave a comment.