By Nick McDaniels
This summer, a number of my students are participating in summer internships at law firms and a public agencies. These students, from the sound of the messages they have sent me are learning a ton, working harder than they have ever worked, and generally, having a good time.
Some students received internships through the prestigious Law Links Summer Internship Program, a program that should be duplicated in every city and state. Others made connections on their own or through relationships they built through my classes.
Of course, I am very proud of these talented young men and women. But the big picture is this: my students are spending their summer Learning extremely valuable skills in a professional environment while improving their legal knowledge and Earning cash.
And we read this time of year, every year, about Summer Learning Loss. It is real. It happens (to teachers as much as students). But when students become teenagers, the learning loss often is more voluntary, or rather a result of a carefully calculated cost benefit analysis: The more time I spend in the library, the less time I can spend making money to buy my school clothes. The choice for most high school students is clear. Work Now; Learn Later.
We change the choice, however, by providing more professional summer internship opportunities for high school students. The more we can provide paid internship opportunities for students in work environments that will tap into a student’s learning potential as much as a student’s earning potential.
It’s time to ask our professional businesses around our schools to hire one of our students every summer so students have the choice to learn while they earn.