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Year-round School Pros and Cons

Year-round School Pros and Cons

A critical evaluation of year-round schooling pros and cons can help you figure out whether it is ideal for the development of your child or not.
Abhijit Naik
... challenges of the new century demand more time in the classroom. - Barack Obama

When President Barack Obama came up with the aforementioned statement hinting on the fact that he is in favor of the year-round schooling system, it raised some eyebrows and reignited the age-old debate on this issue. In a bid to join this very debate―with a neutral stand though―we decided to evaluate the pros and cons of this concept.

How Does it Work?

Contrary to the popular belief, year-round schools do not operate on all 365 days of a year, but operate on 180 days as in case of the 10-month system. These 180 days are spread over the period of a year, with several short breaks instead of the regular 2-month long summer vacation break in the 10-month schooling system. This system can be implemented by resorting to various plans such as the 45-15 plan, 60-20 plan, or the 90-30 plan. In case of 45-15 plan, which is also one of the most-followed plans in the world, the school is operated for a period of 45 days followed by a 15-day break in a cyclic manner. The same procedure is followed in case of other plans, without excluding the normal holidays and breaks from the calendar.

Pros and Cons

Shorter vacations result in higher retention rates; this is one of the most prominent arguments put forth by those in support of year-round schooling system. They further argue that short breaks give students more time to receive enrichment education by doing away with summer learning loss―the loss in academic skills and knowledge over the course of the 2-month long summer vacation. Studies have revealed that students with low grades do well when they are subjected to proper instructional teaching on a regular basis, and year-round system serves the purpose.

It also helps in doing away with the need of inculcating re-teaching skills after long vacations. Short breaks spread over the course of year will help families plan vacations, which, in turn, will help children (as well as the working professionals in their family) regenerate before getting back to their routines. When putting forth their arguments on the need of implementing this system of schooling in the United States, those in its favor also cite the successful implementation of this system in various parts of the world.

Everything has a positive side as well as negative side; year-round schooling system is no exception. The critics of this system often state that the studies pertaining to this system are inconclusive and unreliable. They argue that students will forget some part of what they have learned irrespective of whether it is a 15-day break, 2-month break, or a 6-month break. In such circumstances, the authorities will have to take at least four sessions to sharpen the re-teaching skills over the period of year as opposed to only one session in case of 10-month schooling system.

Children learn a lot at summer camps and other such recreational programs. Implementation of the year-round system will reduce the time of such developmental programs, owing to which these children will lose out on some important lessons of life. Those teenagers who take part-time jobs during the summer breaks and earn something on their own will not be able to do so in a 15-day break. At the same time, the schools will also bear the brunt of this system as their maintenance costs will shoot up by a significant margin.

Statistics suggest that 60 - 90 percent of the teachers support this system, as it makes sure that they (and their students) don't suffer from the burnout of continuous school. Parents, on the other hand, are left confused. If all the schools opt for year-round system it would be of great help. In contrast, if half of the schools opt for it and others continue with the 10-month system, it will be a problem, as parents who have their children going to two different schools will have quite a few adjustments to make.
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