Year Round School? Or Summers Off?

mer2006-03p4bBy Aubrey Murtha — Well it’s summer!  Tough to think about education when classes are dismissed, right? Wrong!

In numerous schools all over the country, teachers continue teaching lesson plans well into the summer season.  I recently had a debate with my family about whether or not all Wisconsin schools should switch to a year round schooling system.  The vote was split, and I was surprised to hear that two of my siblings supported the abolition of the classic seasonal system, one that is rooted in the U.S.’s rich agricultural history in which children were needed to assist during the summer harvest months.

My inner child relishes the romantic three month summer break—hot weather, trips to the lake, sleeping late into the afternoon.  Also, as a soon-to-be teacher, the thought of three lazy, sunshiny months sounds like a glorious dream come true.  However, my realistic self thinks that year round schooling is a relatively sensible idea.

Advocates of this system state that it enables children to better retain the information that they learn in school and therefore allows teachers to teach more information during an academic year.  Rather than spending a significant amount of time reviewing and re-teaching information from the previous year, teachers can move ahead in their curriculum and arguably increase a child’s readiness to move on to the next grade level.  Several schools in Milwaukee are implementing this system, and it will be interesting to see if it pays off for these students.  Perhaps this is a change that all school administrators should consider.

But, as long as there remains the option to have a school-free summer, you can bet that I will make sure to get my summers off!

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