In 1996, a meta-analytic review in the Review of Educational Research journal found that students lost one month on a grade-level equivalent after the summer holiday (Cooper et al. 264). This phenomenon was named summer loss or summer slide and has raised a critical debate concerning the ideal school program up to date. On one side, a group of educators, school management, parents, and students propose that instead of having a long summer break, students can have short, evenly distributed breaks throughout the year. The schedule is now popularly known as Year-Round and has been implemented in some schools. However, the opposers of the Year-Round program justify the importance of traditional schooling from its based on its merits. It has been challenging for all schools to unanimously change to Year-round schooling since each schedule has its pros and cons, affecting teachers, school managers, parents, and students differently. Nevertheless, a year-round schooling program is better because it has better educational outcomes than the traditional system. It is more suited to the needs of the current society than a traditional school system, despite reducing the interaction of students with the world outside the classroom.
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One of the advantages of a year-round schooling program is that it improves educational outcomes for students. The goal for every student, as it is for teachers, school managers, parents, and ideally everyone in society, is to come out of school with academic excellence. That is why students who score excellent grades are cerebrated in that those who fail by society. The main disadvantage for traditional schooling is brain drain or the summer loss, which the year-round system has eliminated (Cooper et al. 264). While Cooper et al. reports observations done a long time ago, recent studies have found that a year-round system is associated with better educational outcomes compared to the traditional system. According to Fitzpatrick and Burns, “students at single-track YRE schools show modestly higher achievement in both math and reading “(16). High performance is associated with increased opportunities for students to interact with teachers, ensuring s consistent support system for the student, and eliminating students’ and teachers’ boredom during long breaks, among other reasons. Besides, another study has found that a high school dropout rate is associated with long break and transitions, such as the summer holiday in the traditional school system (Vinas-Forcade et al. 16). After such long breaks, students often feel demotivated since they have undergone the summer loss, and thus, they are more likely to drop out to other opportunities such as arts and sports. Notably, a year-round system allows students to improve their learning consistently and allows more time for teachers to personalize help to students (The University of Texas at Arlington para 5). In the end, students can improve their grades and overall academic performance. This also motivates them to continue learning, which reduces the rate of student dropout. Therefore, the year-round schooling system improves educational outcomes compared to the traditional schooling system.
The year-round schooling system is more suited to the current society than the traditional school system. First, it is important to have a brief background about the origin of the summer holiday, which is the major setback for the traditional schooling system. According to Pedersen, the traditional schooling system was widely accepted in the 19th century because, at that time, long school calendars were perceived to be effective (56). Therefore, it seemed that the nine months calendar for the traditional schooling system gave students more benefits than other systems. Besides, the summer holiday was an ingrained system in American society, which seemed right to have (Pedersen 57). In addition, Lynch explains that in the 19th century, American was an agricultural society, and thus, the summer break was advantageous to farm owners who needed extra help from the students (para 2). Pedersen backed this idea by claiming that some states had changed the holiday’s timing to meet their harvesting season (57). However, the current society is no longer agricultural, and the American culture is not developing as independently as in the past. The current state of globalization necessitates keeping up with other societies, which might cause a compromise such as losing ingrained societal practices. Such compromises are adopting the year-round schooling system used by academically successful societies like Korea (Lynch para 3). Besides, digital integration in the education system has enabled access to education anytime and at any place. This is particularly important since students can work and study through remote classes, and they can shorten their schooling period to begin adding value to society by working. In such a scenario, where students are closer to educators and students’ resources more than ever, the summer holiday is rendered redundant. The current American society demands fast-paced processes while maintaining a high level of performance. The year-round system is ideal for this need since students take less time to complete their studies, access classes remotely through digital platforms, and improve education outcomes.
Nevertheless, the year-round system does reduce students’ interaction with the world outside the classroom, which is critical for educational outcomes and bad for society. Examining the effectiveness of the year-round educational system, it is evident that students have increased time with their teachers but little time with their parents or other guardians. This has been reported by Finnie et al. that the year-round system “may lead to reduced family vacation time and interfere with extracurricular activities for students, job scheduling for parents and students, and difficulty arranging childcare” (3). In that perspective, a year-round educational system may potentially lead to adverse educational outcomes in the long run since the quantity and quality of childcare are proportional to educational outcomes (Blanden et al. 33). Childcare is also important for society since parents can teach their children values that are not taught in the class, yet they are critical for society. This has been confirmed by a study that found the quality of parents’ relationship with their children reciprocally related to children’s behavioral problems (Goldberg and Carlson 762). Besides, Finnie et al. found that the year-round system has “potential for increased teacher turnover due to burnout” (3). High turnover reduces the consistency in learning, and in the end, the educational outcomes are affected adversely. In that perspective, although the year-round system has many benefits regarding improved educational outcomes and suits the current society, it might lead to behavioral problems by disconnecting students from their guardians and has the potential for poor academic outcomes in case of student’s and teacher’s burnout.
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To sum up, a year-round schooling program is better than the traditional school system because it has better educational outcomes and suits the current society, despite the potential adverse issues related to burnout and childcare. The advantages of the year-round system are primarily based on the disadvantage of the traditional schooling system – the summer loss phenomenon. The year-round system increases interaction between students and teachers, ensures consistency, and shortens the schooling period, among other advantages that are suitable for the current society. Nevertheless, the year-round system significantly reduces the time students should interact with the world outside the classroom, denying them the benefits of increased quantity and quality childcare. The year-round system should be optimized so that in the end, America can enjoy better educational outcomes for sufficiently cared children.
Blanden, Jo et al. “Quantity And Quality Of Childcare And Children’S Educational Outcomes”. Journal Of Population Economics, 2021. Springer Science And Business Media LLC, https://doi.org/10.1007/s00148-021-00835-4. Accessed 16 Nov 2021.
Cooper, Harris et al. “The Effects Of Summer Vacation On Achievement Test Scores: A Narrative And Meta-Analytic Review”. Review Of Educational Research, vol 66, no. 3, 1996, pp. 227-268. American Educational Research Association (AERA), https://doi.org/10.3102/00346543066003227. Accessed 16 Nov 2021.
Finnie, Ramona K. C. et al. “Examining The Effectiveness Of Year-round School Calendars On Improving Educational Attainment Outcomes Within The Context Of Advancement Of Health Equity: A Community Guide Systematic Review”. Journal Of Public Health Management And Practice, vol 25, no. 6, 2019, pp. 590-594. Ovid Technologies (Wolters Kluwer Health), https://doi.org/10.1097/phh.0000000000000860. Accessed 16 Nov 2021.
Fitzpatrick, Dan, and Jason Burns. “Single‐Track Year‐Round Education For Improving Academic Achievement In U.S. K‐12 Schools: Results Of A Meta‐Analysis”. Campbell Systematic Reviews, vol 15, no. 3, 2019. Wiley, https://doi.org/10.1002/cl2.1053. Accessed 16 Nov 2021.
Goldberg, Julia S., and Marcia J. Carlson. “Parents’ Relationship Quality And Children’s Behavior In Stable Married And Cohabiting Families”. Journal Of Marriage And Family, vol 76, no. 4, 2014, pp. 762-777. Wiley, https://doi.org/10.1111/jomf.12120. Accessed 16 Nov 2021.
Lynch, Mathew. “Top 3 Reasons The US Should Switch To Year-round Schooling – The Edvocate”. The Edvocate, 2016, https://www.theedadvocate.org/top-3-reasons-the-us-should-switch-to-year-round-schooling/.
Pedersen, James. “The History Of School And Summer Vacation”. Journal Of Inquiry & Action In Education, vol 5, no. 1, 2021, Accessed 16 Nov 2021.
The University of Texas at Arlington. “Should We Consider Year-round School In The U.S.?”. University Of Texas At Arlington Online, 2021, https://academicpartnerships.uta.edu/articles/education/consider-year-round-school-in-us.aspx.
Vinas-Forcade, Jennifer et al. “Beyond Academics: Dropout Prevention Summer School Programs In The Transition To Secondary Education”. International Journal Of Educational Development, vol 70, 2019, p. 102087. Elsevier BV, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijedudev.2019.102087. Accessed 16 Nov 2021.