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Running head: Year-Round Education

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Year-Round Education
Kennedy Hand
College of DuPage
Introduction to Education
1100-014
Heather Pate
December 4, 2015

YEAR-ROUND EDUCATION

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Abstract

Year-round schools are schools that take a traditional 180-day calendar


and prolong it over the course of a year. They have existed as early as
before World War II, but have just recently been drawing attention.
While growth in institutions across forty-six states exists, there is little
to no statistical evidence to support year-round schools positively
affecting student progress. Numerous pros and cons exist on this topic,
but schools still remain hesitant in changing their traditional calendars
for one that was originally used for young men to work and farm. As it
seems like a beneficial idea, numerically, the statistics are lacking.

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Year-round education has been an ongoing debate since it was


first proposed. The idea is to hold school in session for forty-five to
sixty days with prolonged breaks in between. Instruction periods would
still be the standard 180 days, but stretched out over the course of a
year. Some claim it can greatly benefit schools, students, and teachers
for a number of ways. By implementing year-round education, students
have a higher probability of retaining material and schools can
maximize its capacities with multi-track scheduling. However, as with
changing any traditional system, some kinks still need to be worked
out.
To start, year-round schools by definition are institutions that
recognize a traditional school year of 180 days and redistribute breaks
and instruction days over the course of a year. Another name for this
system is called a balanced calendar (Skinner, 2014, p. 1). Single
track and multi-track approaches are two different ways year-round
schooling can be organized. For schools operating on a single-track
schedule, summer vacations are minimized and additional days are
implemented in between for breaks from instruction. The breaks are
commonly referred to as intersessions, which can be used at
students benefits for extra help outside of the classroom (Skinner,
2014, p. 1). Furthermore, single-track schools have three ways to
structure classes: 45-15 calendar (9 weeks of instruction, 3 weeks
vacation/ intersession), 60-20 calendar (12 weeks of instruction, 4

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weeks vacation/ intersession), or a 45-10 calendar (9 weeks of


instruction, 2 weeks of vacation/ intersession) (Skinner, 2014, p.1).
Contrary to single track calendars, multi-tracking has the ability
to aid in issues with capacity. Due to the fact teachers and students are
divided into groups with their own tracks, it allows the additional
people to attend school at a different time but still in the same facility.
According to Rebecca Skinner (2014), students and teachers in the
same track attend school and vacation at the same time (p. 2).
Calendars for multi-tracking schools are very similar to single track, but
multi-tracks offer a 60-30 and 60-15 schedule (Skinner, 2014, p. 2).
Both have capabilities to aid individuals of the school, but questions
and doubts still exist.
The idea of year-round schools has existed for many decades,
but has just recently been brought to attention. It gained attention in
April of 1972 in the House of Representatives. Rebecca Skinner
mentions (2014) that the General Subcommittee on Education of the
Committee on Education and labor first proposed a hearing on the
year-round school concept around this time (Skinner, 2014, p. 1).
Following those proposals, many bills have been brought to attention
regarding this system. Actually, year-round schooling is not a new
trend; dating back as early as the World War II era, year-round schools
were issued but quickly halted as young men were called to work in
factories and farms during the summer (Schools Without Summer

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2014). It is uncertain if year-round calendars will affect schools


indefinitely in the future. The idea has existed for many years, but only
a select number of districts have chosen to implement it.
The significance behind year-round calendars is its alteration of a
naturally traditional system. It would be extremely different for
everyone involved in a school district to throw away the routine of
summer and winter breaks for a system that could affect extracurricular activities and even personal childcare. In addition to the
alteration of scheduling, many statistics are still inconclusive. Granted,
year-round schooling suggests students will be more apt to retaining
lessons and it could aid teachers who are forced to review material
students should already be familiarized with, but since every school
implements it differently to a certain degree, it is hard to conclude for
sure.
Holding classes year-round imposes a greater uncertainty and
that is with the individuals involved in these changes. It affects people
all across the board: teachers, students, administrators, and definitely
parents. Teachers and students would have to familiarize themselves
with an altered system than what they are typically used to. In
addition, the parents are enduring the consequences of this as well.
Issues exist when not every child of a family attends a year-round
school. For example, if a student in elementary school is following a
balanced schedule but their older sibling is not, parents can struggle to

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find a caretaker to look after them in the hours of the siblings


absence. On a larger scale, administrators would be receiving the
complaints from dissatisfied parents in addition to attempting to
balance extra-curricular activities with coaches and directors of
corresponding schools. Coaches would have to sacrifice and work
around their own vacation days in order for their athletes to practice
and compete.
According to Tracy A. Huebner from ASCD (2010), the statistics
for year-round schooling are inconclusive and suggest poor analysis
that fails to take account for factors such as family socioeconomic level
or parental education (Huebner, 2010). Furthermore, other research
suggests that when enforcing year-round schooling, schools are not
simply changing the calendar but also offering remediation and
enrichment programs to students. As a result of this, data can be
obscured or skewed (Huebner, 2010). However, based on the data that
has been collected, there was a drastic growth from 410 year-round
schools in 1985 to 3,059 schools in the year 2000. These schools serve
approximately 2.2 million students in forty-six states. According to the
National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), there were 3,700
public schools utilizing a yearly calendar, which accounts for 4.1% of
all public schools in the US. As for schools per region, the South had
the most year-round schools taking up 40.5%. The next highest were
the West with 24.3% and the Northeast and Midwest both with 16.2%

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(Skinner, 2014, p. 2). Despite the growth in the number of schools,


there is little improvement in student progress.
Studies have shown that the effects of year-round education are
not as effective as one would think. Skinner (2014) says the research is
actually inconclusive and lacking in methodological rigor (Skinner,
2014, p. 4). In one instance, an in-depth study was conducted in
California, which focused on the outcome of schools Academic
Performance Index (API), and the results suggested year-round schools
failed to affect progress (Skinner, 2014, p. 4). It is surprising to find
that a system thought to benefit many actually has little association
with development.
Year-round education has come a long way since before the
World War II era. It experienced a boom of growth in schools between
the 1980s and 2000s. Some still believe the implementation of a
single track or multi-track calendar will allow students and teachers to
neglect the brain drain of an ongoing year, and breaks in between
will serve as beneficial. However, despite their beliefs, there is little
evidence in numbers to back it. It could be a while until districts start
to reconsider the only system they have come to know in order to
attend school over the course of a year.

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References

Anonymous, (2014), An In-Depth Look at Year-Round Schooling.


Niche.com. Retrieved from http://ink.niche.com/schools-withoutsummer-break-depth-

look-year-round-schooling/

Huebner, Tracy A. (2010). What Research Says About /Year-Round


Schooling. Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
Retrieved from

http://www.ascd.org

Skinner, Rebecca R. (2014). Year-Round Schools: In Brief. Association


for

Supervision and Curriculum Development. Retrieved from


http://www.ascd.org