Friday, May 4, 2012

Year-Round School

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Lengthening the school year, and the hours the children attend is something that should be weighed and considered. It would academically benefit the children because the longer time spent at school will result in the children learning more. Working parents will not be faced with the dilemma of childcare, especially in the long summer months. Also, children would not be left alone in an unsupervised home during parents work hours. Extending the school year will solve these problems. There are more pro’s then con’s when it comes to year-round, extended hour schools.

Year-Round schools do not take away the summer months breaks they space them out over the calendar year. There are many different ways of making schools year-round and extending the hours. There are also schools that have hours of 800 am-500 pm. Instead of the traditional calendar where students go to school for 180 days with a summer break, there are calendars set up to 0/0, 45/15, and 60/0 (Year-Round Schools May 1). For example “In the 0/0 calendar, … students attend school for 0 days, then are on vacation for 0 days” (Year-Round Schools May 1). There are also multi-track systems, where students are divided up into different tracks. “The tracks rotate in and out of school with one track always on vacation, theoretically enabling a facility to accommodate more students”(Year-Round School May 1). Using year-round schooling can also help in reducing the overcrowding that some schools face.

Year-round schools would reduce the burden of finding childcare for parents who work. Some children are too young to stay at home alone, and must be placed in supervised care. Extending the school year would eliminate the costly expense of childcare, when it comes to the three-month summer break. Childcare expense can then be stretched out over shorter period then over the long summer months. Children should not be placed in daycare, or be at home alone when they can be in school learning. Many parents have also discovered that childcare providers will not accept children after they have reached a certain age. Just because a child reaches a certain age does not necessarily mean they are ready to stay home alone, even if it is only for a few hours until the working parents return home. These parents are left without a choice regarding who will take care of their children while they are at work. Many people do not have family that can help then with childcare. “Our society has changed, often becoming less friendly and more dangerous” (Year-Round Schooling ). Working parents often worry about the safety of their children who are home alone.

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Another problem with families is the dilemma with latchkey children. A latchkey child is one who receives no supervision at home after school hours because their parents are working. The extended school year would keep the kids in a supervised environment. Unsupervised children can fall victim to more dangerous situations, “such as drugs, sex, and violence” (Ellers ). When young children are home alone, they are not always responsible enough to motivate themselves to do homework and stay out of trouble. Even for the most prepared child, a dangerous situation can arise that the child might not be able to handle (Ellers ). There are not enough after-school programs designed to fit all of the different school age children. This makes year-round school with extended hours a better solution for those parents who are still at work when school is dismissed.

Furthermore, students would gain more knowledge with the increased class days. More time can be spent on core courses, which then brings increased learning. Studies mentioned elsewhere have shown that students learn more with increased school time. When vacation time comes around, year-round schools are flexible by letting the family plan according to their needs (“School 1”). Children can take vacations during school hours without missing schoolwork, since it can be made up when they return. Students over the summer vacation loose about a month’s worth of learning. It has been found when students miss no more then a month’s time they retain more of what they have learned. Taking shorter breaks would prevent that loss from happening. Another advantage with multi-track classes students could then take accelerated classes over the break time if they wanted to or have the choice of going on vacation instead. Michael Sadowski states, “According to the San Diego-based National Association for Year-Round Education, there are now ,460 year-round schools in 41 states”(). The increased in number of year-round schools is a most convincing piece of evidence, this proves the year-round schools work and provide children with a better education. Also, children would be able to get their homework done on school time with the proper instruction. Homework time can be very stressful for parents who do not understand the assignments. This would give the parents more quality family time at night.

Year-Round schooling does not seem to be the answer for everyone. Teachers have the hardest time with loosing the summer break. Without the break they have little or no time to take to prepare for the next lesson. This leaves them feeling overwork and this causes teachers to burnout fast. Teachers would also be unable to attend school themselves to further their education. Another problem teachers would face is without the summer break they lose their second income. Furthermore, the students would not be able to work over the summer time. “With children in school year-round, many businesses loose money and a labor force” (Year-Round Schools May 6). This also prevents students from getting valuable work experience they need. The buildings and furnishing in addition would have to be replaced more frequently due to more wear and tear from excessive use. In California, “it cost Los Angeles $4. million per year to operate their year-round programs” (Year-Round Schools May 5). While this does not seem like a lot of money, some counties just do not have it to spend. Another costly expense that would have to be considered would be putting air conditioning in all the schools for the hot summer months.

In conclusion, parents and students will benefit from year-round extended hour schools. Parents who work would be relieved of additional stress and worries about their children. The children will receive a better education with the extra time in they spend in school. Keeping them in a supervised environment diminishes the risk of children getting into trouble. We can see result of year-round schools with better-educated children who would fulfill the desires of their parents. These small minor problems that the teachers and maintenance experience can be worked out over time. They are a small price to pay for something that will benefit our future with better-educated children.

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