We need school year-round

Elika Beck, Staff writer

President Obama recently announced that he would like to make the school much longer. While this is an announcement that many teenagers probably don’t appreciate, it is an incredibly reasonable and incredibly smart proposition.

“The challenges of a new century demand more time in the classroom” said President Obama. His idea is to make the U.S. school be year-round like the school years in several other countries such as Japan and Sweden. The motivation behind this is the growing concern that America’s youth is following behind those in other developed countries around the globe, and, of course, decreasing our country’s education gap.

The most important thing that needs to be considered is whether or not making the school year year-round would actually help U.S. students learn more, faster. The aim of the education system shouldn’t be to teach children while spending as little money as possible. It should be to prepare students for life and educate them to compete in a global economy and continue to change and advance society.

The goal of this proposed change is not to take away summer vacation from students and teachers, but to have smaller breaks throughout the school year. Because the school year would remain the same number of days, around 180, there would be plenty of room for these smaller breaks, and less room for summer learning gaps to happen. The expected result of this, as seen in other countries with a year round school, is more progress among all students. This way, teachers would not have to worry about allowing time for their classes to review everything they forgot over the long summer.

Having several shorter breaks throughout the school year could also help reduce the achievement gap between students of different races. According to National Public Radio, low-income students “[lose] an average of two months of reading achievement over the summer. The achievement gap between whites and minority children is being attributed to this factor.”

Closing the achievement gap is an important step to catch America’s youth up with others around the world. According to research by Professor Joseph Murphy of Vanderbilt University on the first day of kindergarten 25% of the learning gap can be attributed to information lost during summer break. With no summer, a diverse classroom would be a level playing field, and economic justice would be much improved.

President Obama is aware of this achievement gap. According to the Los Angeles Times, he said, “kids are losing a lot of what they learn during the school year during the summer. It’s especially severe for poorer kids who may not see as many books in the house during the summers, aren’t getting as many educational opportunities.”

While this may be more expensive than the system now, it would clearly be money well spent. Investing in the education of youth is one of the most important things to put money towards. Longer school years would contribute so much to our country’s children and therefor the country as a whole.