Year-round School is a Given

The KSL esitorial board is supportive of a move toward year-round school. They manage to demonstrate a crucial mis-characterization of childhood education:

As Governor Huntsman put it in his recent State of the State address, “It is amazing to me that, in this age of innovation and education, we have students, buildings and teachers sitting idle for three months every year. . .”

This very statement assumes that children do not learn when they are outside the classroom. Anyone who has watched children knows that they are learning machines. There are a wide variety of lessons they are learning during their summer breaks that could not effectively be taught in a classroom setting.

The proponents of year-round school would also ignore the fact that there is a loss of academic effectiveness for every transition back to school from a break. With a traditional school year there is one major break and a large number of small breaks where students must navigate that transition. Year-round school has all the same minor breaks plus two extra major breaks to interrupt the academic progress of the students. All this is in addition to the standard complains about conflicting tracks within families and interruptions to the established patterns in family scheduling.

Many of the troubling aspects of year-round school can be mitigated, and there are some benefits (which are widely publicized), so the idea of year-round school is worth exploring but the decision cannot be safely made while we turn a blind eye to some false assumptions during the debate. These issues must be a part of the discussion if we are to come to a solution of any lasting benefit.

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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Comments

2 Responses to Year-round School is a Given

  1. Reach Upward says:

    My children do recieve year-round education. But not all of it occurs within the purview the education industrial complex. The grasp to exert increased government control over the lives of children and their families should be seen for what it is.

    Teachers are not idle during summer vacation either. I have a number of personal friends that are teachers that run Boy Scout camps during the summer.

    It hardly matters that we have buildings that are idle. Major repairs, maintenance, and upgrades occur chiefly during the summer shut down. It is far more expensive to reduce these to smaller projects that are done during smaller shut downs throughout the year. Ramp-up and cleanup costs are multiplied.

    Even if this weren’t the case, it hardly matters that buildings sit idle during the summer. Schools were created for children, not vice versa. Gov. Huntsman and his friends on the liberal KSL Editorial Board seem to misunderstand this simple principle.

    More government control of children does not necessarily translate to better education.

  2. David says:

    My kids get a year-round education as well, and they start receiving an education long before kindergarten (without the aid of head-start or pre-school).

    I had not considered the implications for the cost of maintenance on school properties. Yet another reason to look before we leap deeper into a society where government is the default solution to every problem.

    Thanks for sharing.

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