Letter: An argument for year-round schools

Graphic by Lori Deaton

Research shows that the average public school student loses approximately 25% of the previous year’s reading skillset during the three months of summer break. For math, the loss is 30%.

American students spend approximately 180 days a year in structured instruction in our public schools. In Japan, the figure is 220 days. Those 40 extra days of instruction per year add up to over 500 days in a kindergarten through grade 12 public education. These extra days in Japan are part of an instruction model that lasts all year long, with breaks in a trimester system that are significantly shorter than in the United States.

The research on the Japanese model demonstrates significantly greater retention from one break period to the next. For numerous reasons, this is a model that should be followed by public schools in the United States.

First and foremost is the increased quality and quantity of learning that would take place among American students. Second, because most public school students have working parents, it reduces the amount of time that parents need to find alternative supervision for their children. Third, the physical facilities, primarily in the form of classrooms, would be better utilized, as opposed to long periods of dormancy. Fourth, it would make the teaching profession a 12-month rather than a nine-month job and therefore significantly increase the remuneration rate for educators.

Currently, college-educated licensed professionals are on the low end of this pay scale compared with individuals in other professions with similar requirements. With competitive salaries, more individuals would choose education as a career,  and the five-year attrition rate would significantly decrease.

Our local public schools in Asheville and Buncombe County need to be at the front of the pack when it comes to best practices. Providing a new model of year-round schooling with more days of education and shorter breaks is a good place to start.

— Richard Boyum


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One thought on “Letter: An argument for year-round schools

  1. Jim

    I attended Asheville City Schools for grades 1-12. I read at least 6 books every summer including virtually all of the old Landmark Series.. Every other summer Mom, I and my brother took a month long trip by train to west Texas where Mom’s mother, sister, and brother lived lived with their families. We took side trips to Carlsbad Caverns, Ruidoso, White Sands, El Paso and Juarez, and to Fort Davis and the McDonald Observatory. Those trips would have not been possible with 12 month school In David Millard and Lee Edwards I was the accelerated cohort in both Math and Core (English and Social Studies) and went on to earn a PhD in Math. All of my friends accelerated or not did fine in College.

    I propose we bring back summer school as well.. Make the kids take standard tests in reading and math every year. Enroll those not performing at grade level in summer courses specifically designed to help students who have fallen behind.

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