Whether you call it “summer learning loss” or “the summer slide” the bottom line is this: our most vulnerable youth cannot afford up to 12-weeks of summer vacation with no access to educational experiences or learning opportunities. That is to say, this is the bottom line according to David Von Drehle as published in the August 2nd issue of Time Magazine.
Up until the time I graduated from high school, I attended summer school every year. Did I want to? No. Did I need to? No. Did I have to? Yes, actually. As my mother succinctly explained it to me, “You’re going to summer school to stay ahead.” Her perception correlates with the message of Time Magazine‘s article “The Case Against Summer Vacation”. Simply put, “test scores show that all students’ learning skills improve at similar rates during the school year, but higher-income kids keep up the pace during the summer while lower-income kids plateau or lose ground.” Want a visualization of why adding educational opportunities for lower-income youth to summer vacation is so important? Take a look at the Two Steps Forward video posted on YouTube by the National Summer Learning Association.
By no means is anyone advocating that we do away with the summer break in between school years. However, since summer school is no longer an option whether our youth want it or need, the information put forth by Time Magazine gives us even more impetus to work together in creating lasting solutions to increase educational competency and graduation rates. This article reminds us not to focus all of our attention on the school year, but to include opportunities that will occur over summer vacation as well. If the children are still our future, let’s teach them well (all year long) and let them lead the way.
Von Drehle, D. (2010, July 22). The Case against summer vacation. Time, retrieved from http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,2005654,00.html
August 10, 2010