Another Year-Round Idea

The Spectrum did a good job in Year-round Advantages of listing pluses and minuses to the idea of year-round school. Though the title says this is about the advantages they are good enough to acknowledge the well-known drawbacks. I also found the comments of stgeorgeteacher interesting in highlighting the difficulties that teachers can face with this kind of schedule.

As I read the article I began to think that while we are considering major changes to the structure of our education we might as well go all out and consider all the possibilities. What if we not only changed the schedule to have four separate blocks of classes each year but also changed the classes so that we have a higher degree of granularity in our grade levels. What if we replaced grades k – 6 with grades A – Z and students would have the chance to advance one grade during each block of classes. In one year a student could advance from grade D to grade H. There would be room for a student to be held back twice over 7 years and still get through all their grades before they arrive at middle school.

I leave it to readers to decide how serious I am about that particular proposal, but I’d like to know if there is any reason that we should not consider other proposals to change the system while we’re in the mood to discuss the issue of primary education.

About David

David is the father of 8 extremely organized children (4 girls / 4 boys) who is constantly seeking answers to tough questions related to parenting, education and politics while moonlighting for 40 hours each week as a technology professional. He also enjoys cooking, gardening, and sports.
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2 Responses to Another Year-Round Idea

  1. Reach Upward says:

    The Spectrum article is long on what would be good for the construction fund (note that they did not talk about the maintenance fund), but it is awful short on discussing any kind of improvement in real education outcomes. In fact, any pro-year-round tripe glosses over this completely. They frequently talk in platitudes of how this must be better, but nobody ever offers any real proof because it does not exist.

    The Spectrum article also seems to treat the problem foisted onto families as more of a child care issue than a family time (parental rights) and educational quality issue. Since children are in school the same number of days, parents still have the same number of days of child care issues, but instead of it being in a single large chunk, it is spread out into smaller chunks. I’m not seeing how this is better for my family.

    When it comes to teachers, STGEORGETEACHER’s comments are good, but miss a significant point. Many teachers choose the profession BECAUSE it gives them a significant chunk of time off work. Many that work summer jobs at higher wages would hae to take a pay cut to teach year round. Those that accept lower pay for the long break for personal reasons (vacationing, time with children, etc. — just having time away to return refreshed) would be forced to give up that valuable break.

    When all costs and benefits are considered (without glossing anything over), I do not believe that year-round school makes sense. The only way it makes sense is if you are a government control freak that wants more power over the lives of schoolchildren and their families.

  2. David says:

    It’s funny how our discussions about public education universally revolve around the financial impacts and rarely discuss the educational impacts (positive or negative). That should tell us something about our focus. I have argued before that spreading the school out for year-round school has academic drawbacks. Part of the reason for my post was to suggest that we look for some changes for academic reasons rather than financial reasons.

    If year round school is implemented where I live the financial benefit to the schools will include the near certainty that my children will not be attending.

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