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May 11th, 2011
11:42 AM ET

Should schools be year-round?

Out of 34 countries, America ranks on the lower end in reading, science and math. Is year-round schooling a solution?
CNN’s Ali Velshi speaks with LZ Granderson who thinks summer breaks are a thing of the past.

Filed under: Education
soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. John Doxtator

    I've taught 2nd-8th grade over 15 years and have won several awards for teaching. Let alone parents fight to get their children into my class every year. Lastly, my classes' test scores are considered great...80+ percent. What I've seen is that the students realize there is no consequence for Not Trying on these tests. We waste all this time and money testing and when it comes down to it the child doesn't try. I give my testers in between tests pep talks. Just to make sure the child is trying and focused...and I still have a few not read the questions, but they're done first. There is no pressure by the parents either. Students and parents have this attitude of I don't have to do anything...society owes me. This attitude is called ENTITLEMENT. It seems to be all over America right now. So due to parent pressure and demands...homework, challenging a student, punishing class disruptions, and giving the child the grade they deserve is out the door. Oh and how dare anyone mention a student's "Work Ethic" or "Character". It's an easy target to blame just the teachers. The admin is also feeling the pressure demanding teachers to only teach to the test, test taking strategies, and ONLY GEAR the level of instruction to the lowest achieving students. Why might you ask? Well to play with test scores... the idea is to bring up the lowest 5% of scores and the overall score will jump, which makes your school look better. But the fact is you’ve just held the rest of the class from reaching their potential. Unfortunately developing a work ethic or a challenging classroom environment is frowned upon and reprimanded by the Administration. What is not being stated is how much time we spend not teaching in order to prepare and test our students? Twelve weeks wasted on testing and preparing for the test for 4th grade teachers, which could be instructional/actual learning time. Yes 1/3 of the year with nothing but test focused days. The pressure is so great on Administration that at our school science and social studies is not taught, because it's not tested. How bad is that! We don't need more school days. Even though, I wouldn't mind it. We need to maximize our time to teach, challenge, and develop an intrinsic work ethic into our children. Remember the pressure on the children and parents from these other countries is far greater then our welfare/entitlement nation we have turned into. Imagine if living in India and witnessing the slums daily, but you get the gift of an education…or China where you constantly hear about the sweat shops for non-educated children. I’m guessing living in a country that does not put up or support lazy, non caring parents or children would be a more motivational environment. But don’t worry overtime; lead by our Government, society will drive all the teachers out of the profession after years of blaming them for our country’s demise.

    May 11, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
  2. Hamoodi

    This is STUPID! Students NEED A SUMMER BREAK!

    May 11, 2011 at 5:45 pm |
  3. Tim Grady

    Racism?!? You don't get it! Look at the facts! Inner city kids perform worse in school (it's the schools – not their color). Inner city populations are more black than white – read the census! Look at the inner city home – usually an unmarried female with two children, more often black than white, more often poor than middle class or upper middle class; no father around, putting all the pressure on a working mom. Get off your color issue and deal in facts if you want to solve problems. The schools around the world that perform higher are usually homogenous populations, not mixed populations. Many are far more regimented than our lenient, PC schools (can you imagine what would happen to a Chinese student who slugged a teacher?). Even the picture you used is of a school where all the children are in uniform! Racism is a pushback cop-out to ignore the facts, and whites, who want to help solve these issues, are sick and tired of the race card. Get into the 21st Century...

    May 11, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
  4. el compay

    Lots of kids are already in year-round school. Are there any studies showing a statistically significant improvement in test scores for kids in year round school? What about kids who participate in summer school? Does it actually help?

    I personally think that all the other suggested methods of improving the school system are more important and should be implemented first. I had the advantage of attending a public high school in an affluent area. The difference that supportive parents and interested, well-trained teachers can make is astounding; these were common where I grew up and it shows in the success my graduating class has had. These are the changes we need to make.

    Extending the school year will just raise taxes and bog down our ever-diminishing culture. Some of my greatest childhood memories come from summer vacations! Don't take that away from my kids. What's more, I don't feel like I forgot hardly anything over the summer months. Sure, you are rusty the first week or so, but if you learned something well the first time, it comes back quickly. Make the other changes first, and we'll see that extending the school year would just be a waste of time.

    May 11, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
  5. tommas

    Almost, give1 week for the 4th of july and 2 weeks off in August and that is it.

    May 11, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
  6. irahstoday

    YES! We had summers off when we were an agriculturally based society and farm families needed to work all summer, not to mention wives and mothers weren't working and were home. That isn't needed now. My Mother was a principal for years and told me the first month to 6wks of every new school year was spent re-teaching what the kids forgot over the summer anyway. Then there's the consideration of the buildings being vacant for 3 months. That's just stupid. What are kids doing these days in summer? Video games? Sitting around eating? Going to the mall? At a sitter's? I was fortunate enough to live in a rural setting and had a great time exploring and being outside. And when I was older I worked summers.

    May 11, 2011 at 4:22 pm |
  7. K. Wessell

    While I would support Year-Round schools, it all comes down to the teacher. Just wish our teachers had the support that is needed to reach all types of students.

    I have seen the miracles some of our teachers have done with students especially those with LD issues. I have also seen the destruction of students because a teacher doesn't have the training and/or patience to deal with LD issues. By the way, it takes 3 years and a lot of HARD work to rebuild a child's confidence that was taken away. I know this from experience.

    It's a sad day when the amount of IEP's being put in place for LD or AG children are growing in leaps and bounds just so our students needs can be met. It tells me something's wrong with the way we as a nation are supporting and helping our teachers to be the best they can be.

    They say Finland only goes to school 10 more days than American students. Yet, they are #1 in the World in Science and Math (according to "testing"). One of the reasons they are #1 is the education, training, and support their country gives their teachers. Why do we as a country refuse to do the same for our teachers?

    My children were privileged to have amazing, top notch teachers this year and I feel blessed to be in such an amazing school system according to the Nation's standards. Even then, our school system is greatly flawed.

    What comes around goes around. It will only be when our nation starts to take pride in the Teaching profession and the training that is needed for Teachers to be successful that our education system and students will be successful.

    May 11, 2011 at 1:27 pm |
  8. DAS

    Somehow I think the issue is valuing education and not time spent in a classroom. I would also suggest that for our kids, education is a broader term and committment then simply time in a classroom.

    The notion of year around school is disturbing to me because it pre-supposes that school is all that is required for education. Further, it completely ignores the value some kids get from their summer "break." Our daughter is an athlete in a sport not supported by the public school system. Her "big" events like national team training camps, national championship and world championships are all keyed to summer vacation. The public school system makes an absence for any of these events something just shy of a criminal event.

    Her sport has taught her many, many things. She has to manage time, respect authority, manage her schedule and practice. She also has to watch her diet handle the odd injury and get along with friends and competitors. Noe of these can be reduced to test scores, all are valuable.

    To me, the fundamental mistake in this article is that it assumes the tool to reverse the downward trend in test scores is more time in school. The real issue is why have test score declined within the existing school program. I submit that this has a lot to do with parents and communities not emphasizing the value of education and standards of behavior.

    May 11, 2011 at 1:23 pm |
  9. JC

    Year-round school wouldn't help as much as changing the curriculum. We shove too much information on kids at too young of an age, so they don't retain it (which I feel is more the case than due to a long summer break). If we would simplify the curriculum and focus on only a couple of concepts each year and really engrain it into the students, they'll know if backwards and forwards for the rest of their life (hopefully). Then you build on that the next year. Let's be real, should we expect fourth graders to learn and remember biology? Save that stuff for later on and focus on math, reading and writing during those crucial development years.

    May 11, 2011 at 1:03 pm |
  10. iroshi

    If our schools are failing to educate students in 9 months per year, why would anyone think they could do better in 12 months?

    May 11, 2011 at 12:09 pm |
  11. Monique

    No I totally disagree, breaks are essential in all matters of life. With all things we need to have proper balance, otherwise other areas in our lives as proven in history will always suffer. Work on creating better educational standards, methods and training for our teachers. This is how to create a more effective educational system.

    May 11, 2011 at 11:46 am |