Year-round schools provide numerous benefits

Callie Frank, Columnist

Year-round schooling verses summer vacation has been an intriguing educational debate for some time. In many Asian countries, children are taught all throughout the year with smaller, but more frequent breaks to allow for student relaxation. In America, however, children learn for around nine months with sparse breaks, and a long summer vacation. In this case, the Asian countries might have it right. While children are enrolled at school, a common priority is for them to get the best education possible, and to do the best they can.

To ensure success, theoretically schools should be putting forth as much effort as practical to make their students succeed to the best of their abilities. This is where cutting the summer could be useful. In low-income families, summer learning loss preys on students’ success cumulatively, according to Oxford Learning. Additionally, the article notes that two-thirds of the achievement gap is attributed to summer learning loss, something that drastically hurts low-income students. As year-round schooling doesn’t have any opportunity for a summer gap in education, it is likely to reverse this trend. This shows in research, too, though not drastically. So far, year-round schools have proven to be at least equally as good as schools with summer break, and the Educational Research Newsletter reports a small academic increase in ability for minority students.

While the effects are minor academically, the financial impact could be larger. A reason Year-round schools are praised for their cost-effectiveness is that it’s better for the property to be used all year than for it to have a break of being completely useless in the summer. By using it all year, taxpayers are getting more schooling, education, and use for their tax dollars. This also means that if there are problems during the school year that janitors need to take care of, they could respond immediately (depending on how the system is implemented), potentially making environments more safe and comfortable. This cost-effectiveness is something that the Congressional Research Service backs up.

The effectiveness of how much the school can save or how well the school would be able to repair itself during the year would be based on how the system is implemented, however. By using the 45 on-15 off day calendar (one of three common methods), the school would probably be in the best repair. This would also have to assume that the school is not multi-tracking, or that there aren’t enough students to affect anything.

A final interesting benefit to year-round schools is the fact that you can stagger learning periods to serve more students in one school, also known as multi-tracking. The Educational Research Newsletter explains that this is effective in cases to avoid crowding or postpone the building of new schools. Less crowded classrooms can increase the quality of education, allowing for students to potentially ask more questions and expand their understanding of topics. It also may allow for more one-on-one time with teachers and students, allowing for personalized clarification on topics they may be struggling with.

Additionally, the ability to serve more students can help small, growing towns adjust to more children and have time to build better schools, or even just avoid it for awhile until their economies are more stable. Year-Round schools can be cost effective and help with low-income students. Though results in educational advantages aren’t very conclusive or dramatic, these schools can help bridge achievement gaps little by little in the educational system. Year-Round schools can also be implemented in growing towns to allow a staggering of students so that they can serve more kids at once or provide children better education. In short, Year-Round schools seem to have no intense educational problems or disadvantages, and they could be a real cost-saver.