Throughout the last two centuries the United States has led the world as a premier industrialized nation. Citizens enjoy premier transportation, cutting edge technology, a reliable government, and access to ample employment opportunities. Even though the U.S. enjoys privileges envied all around the world, the kindergarten - twelfth grade (k-12) education calendar is stuck in the stone ages. Composed in a time when children were relied on to work on their families’ farms during the long months of summer, the traditional school calendar did serve a purpose. However, lifestyles have radically changed from the times of the countries’ early development, and it is only rational to adopt a school schedule fitting for the times.
Despite being labeled the land of opportunity, current U.S. education is plagued with mounting limitations. Due to the economic downturn, education funding is being reduced all across the country. At the same time, schools are suffering from overcrowding and academic achievement is falling behind the global standards. It is time to address the existing issues within the education system in order to promote future success. A good place to start is implementing a year-round education system which reduces the summer break in order to allow shorter, more frequent breaks throughout the school year. Although parents and administrators are reluctant to forgo the tradition in the existing K-12 school calendar, year-round education should be implemented across the U.S. due to the ample benefits it provides the students of today.
The long summer break that exists in the traditional school schedule is detrimental to students’ learning. Due to length of time out of the classroom, students suffer from “summer learning loss.” This refers to a diminished academic ability stemming from a lapse in learning in which students forget information. Furthermore, studies show that math and spelling skills in particular require practice or they are susceptible to being forgotten (Cooper). Because of the learning loss teachers are required to spend ample time at the beginning of the school year reviewing the previous year’s material. In fact, it is estimated that the first 4-6 weeks of a school year are dedicated to covering information that should already be known (Shields 4). According to Kim Sheane, “the traditional six week review of previous years’ curriculum in the fall is reduced to one week,” by adopting a year-round schedule (7). Clearly classroom time is far too valuable to lose even a fraction of it to waste, thus saving five weeks school time can translate to a number of benefits.
Further research indicates that economically disadvantaged students are more susceptible to summer learning loss, as they make equivalent achievement gains during the school year; they tend to lose more information during the summer (Huebner). Cooper further contributes, “Differences between classes contribute to the findings, due to middle-class students...