A Different Angle on year-Round Schools: Education Benefits

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Fast growing school districts in North Carolina are faced with the obstacle of over flowing classrooms and not enough space to teach our children. Drive by any school in the Triangle and you sill see mobile units being used as classrooms on a daily basis. The growth issue has caused many to propose year-round schooling. Besides the money issues being made, there are numerous educational benefits for year-round schools.

The world in which we live is changing at such a rapid pace that today’s technological innovations could become tomorrow’s antique collection. In order to prepare our nation’s students for the fast paced economy, it is essential that schools begin to embrace a calendar that goes beyond the traditional requirement of 180 days of instruction.

The new information based economy requires that workers from the United States compete with people from other nations. The nation with the best educated and multi-trained work force will see its position in the global economy expand and will be elevated to a position of leadership. If the United States wants to continue to be seen as a super power, its schools must adapt an information-age school calendar and scrap the traditional 180 days of pupil instruction .

The traditional calendar is based on an agrarian economy that required children to be at home working on the farm. When this calendar was adopted by the overwhelming majority of American schools, 98% of American families lived on farms. The farm provided the family with their livelihood and children, as a source of labor, were a necessity for its success.

In 2006, less than 2% of all American families live and work on farms. Yet, the school year calendar is still based on a time when 98% of Americans lived on farms. Today’s school calendar should reflect this change in the demographic make-up by increasing the amount of school days in the calendar to allow teachers further instruction time with students.

By increasing the number of days in the school calendar, a school district will be able to provide the student with necessary skills that they will need to be successful in the work force. Students in other industrialized nations already receive more instruction time than American students and many researchers point to this as a major reason for these nations’ increase in global productivity.

The changing world requires schools to adapt in order to produce an educated workforce that can compete with the world. By changing the school calendar, the student in the United States will receive more training and a better chance at success in the future.

As a teacher, I am very supportive of year-round schools. I would welcome a 6 week instructional period followed by a two week vacation period. I feel this calendar would allow necessary breaks for students, while having less of a leave time before the next instructional period began.

Thinking outside the traditional norms when it comes to education is not always popular, but neither is failing to prepare our next generation of leaders for life after high school.

Comments

These are good points.

But isn't one of the rationales for year round schools the fact that it allows basically two shifts of students . . . 180 days each, broken into interchangeable chunks . . . so school facilities can be used continually and not left sitting idle so much of the time?

Yours is solid thinking about the benefits of more continuity, yet I don't see much of that thinking in the current debates.

Teachers would have more time

But is that the only benefit to year round schooling? Your point is valid, teachers do need more time to reach out to their students.

However it doesn't answer how it is cheaper than 180 tradition calendar. Or the fact that our system is broken in regards to testing, structure, and who makes the rules. Nor does it address shortcomings all around in the level of education required for each level.

What about teacher retainment? The fact that all teachers are paid squat will now be required to work all 12 months. From what I hear the 3 monthish break is a big draw for young teachers with families.

I can see perhaps a larger Winter Break and a shorter summer break. Maybe add a few days to the calendar. But year round schools are a short cut answer to a long term problem.

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