Curtis Martin

Curtis Martin considers Aralessa Bush the Bill Parcells of third grade teachers. “She was really hard on me,” says the famed Jets running back. “At first I thought she was mean. Then I realized she cared. That made me care.”

Behind Every Famous Person is a Fabulous Teacher.

Year-Round Schooling

What’s it all about?
What does it mean for you?
Arguments in Favor
Arguments Against
FYI: Further Reading

What’s it all about?

  • Year-round education is a type of school that holds classes throughout the course of a calendar year rather than taking a long break during the summer months. These schools have the same number of school days as traditional schooling, but are organized differently and avoid any extended vacation time.

What does it mean for you?

  • Currently there are year-round schooling systems in most states except for Wyoming, Mississippi, Maine, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island. For a list of how many year-round schools are in your state, click here.

Arguments in Favor:

  • Year-round schooling boosts test scores and retention rates, and it leads to more effective learning overall because students are engaged in their education all year long.
  • Year-round schooling can be effective in closing the achievement gap between high- or middle-income students and low-income students who usually do not have the opportunity to attend summer camp, or another education substitute, that could sustain and maintain their academic gains from the school year.
  • Year-round schooling is a good alternative to building more classrooms in a school because a multi-track system can be used whereby students attend school at different intervals of time throughout the school year.
  • Year-round schooling is a helpful alternative for two-parent working families who may not be able to find a program or other caretaker for their children during the extensive summer vacation.

Arguments Against:

  • Teachers unions, specifically, often object to year-round schooling as in breach of their contracts because it is seen as exhaustive.
  • The academic benefits of year-round schooling have not yet been proven definitively.
  • Summer employment (and other summer activities such as internships) for students would be virtually impossible.
  • Extracurricular activities such as sports and band are interrupted due to the fragmented schedule.
  • Parents could have children at the same school on different schedules if the school is using a multi-track system.
  • In two-parent working families, it is often more difficult to arrange for a caretaker for a short amount of time, rather then the greater opportunities offered during the extensive summer vacation such as summer camp or summer school.

FYI: Further Reading

  • Education Week has an article from its Research Center on year-round schooling that gives a summary of research on the topic from an unbiased perspective, although it shows that the research has been mixed and inconclusive. It also lists scholarly articles as references at the end of the article.
  • The NEA has an article on its website that gives some arguments for and against year-round schools and then provides links to research on the issue.
  • Year-Round Education Schools On the Web is a listing of all the year-round schools and school districts in the U.S., organized by state. There are also a few schools from Canada listed.
  • The National Association for Year-Round Education is a nonprofit organization consisting of educators, parents, and businesses, which advocates for innovative school calendars. They promote their favorable view of year-round schooling through publications, conferences, and their website.
  • In an article from The Washington Post,  “Summer Vacation of Our Discontent” (7/12/06) , the author argues that summer vacations are an outdated notion that are counterproductive and inconvenient for our modern day society when many children live in two-parent households and must compete with students from other countries who were educated in a year-round schooling system. He also points out that, despite the evidence in support of year-round education, many school districts have not implemented the policy due to the resistance of teachers’ unions and the summer employment industry, which relies on young labor.
  • The Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory has a guide to year-round schooling entitled Scheduling Alternatives: Options for Student Success. It provides background information on the issue as well as implementation suggestions. However, the most useful aspect includes informal case studies from school districts in Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington.
  • Education World has a useful article: Is Year-Round Schooling the Answer? . It is slightly biased in favor of year-round schooling, pointing out that most children in these systems do not actually attend school any more than other children, but simply on a different schedule. They also provide helpful links at the end of the article for more information.
  • Education World also has an article that looks at the year-round school debate in the context of other alternate schooling options, including an extended school day and later start times for high schools. It also addresses the argument that alternate schooling schedules would make students more competitive in a global marketplace.
  • An essay from the Education Resources Information Center looks at the history of the year-round education movement and the degree of its effectiveness in various school districts. The report concludes that there are no clear advantages to year-round schooling, except to reduce the effects of overcrowding. This report must be purchased.
  • SummerMatters.com is a website that was begun in 2001 by a former journalist to provide articles and research against the year-round schooling movement. They contend that summer vacation is necessary to childhood growth and development, family relationships and traditions, learning and enrichment opportunities, and the economy of seasonal communities. There is a great amount of information, although none of it particularly scholarly.