Is summer vacation really the culprit behind our children falling behind in school?
We’re worried about our kids not learning enough while in school, but what about those blissful three months of summer vacation? Sure, some children have access to summer camps, enrichment programs, or fun and educational trips with their parents. But what about low-income children, who might have to spend their summer playing in the yard or watching “Hannah Montana” re-runs, rather than a trip to the Getty? Many educators are worried about the “summer slide,” which might be the reason why thousands of kids are behind in school. A study at Johns Hopkins found that low-income students are retaining less over the summer than their more privileged classmates, which could add up to them being behind three grade levels by the time they're done with grammar school. So is the blame all on summer? What about our stumbling public education systems, where funding is scare and teachers are continually laid off? Should there be longer school years, so that summer won’t be turning all of our kids’ brains to mush?
David Von Drehle, editor-at-large for TIME magazine
Ron Fairchild, CEO of the National Summer Learning Association