Back to School Already? Debate Continues Over Year-Round Benefits

Judy Hartnett's picture
Monday, July 16, 2012

Back to school time has arrived for those students on the year-round schedule, but the debate continues over whether learning improves with shorter, more frequent breaks.

By the time summer's over, many families can't wait for school to start. Working parents have struggled to find camps or babysitting, kids are bored and teachers fret over "summer slide" โ€” the academic losses that research shows hits kids from poor families hardest.

Year-round schooling might seem like the antidote, and in some parts of the country, schools with just a few weeks off are not uncommon. In Raleigh, N.C. and other parts of Wake County, for instance, this week was the first week of school for 26,000 students on a year-round calendar.

But year-round schools, which once seemed like a panacea for everything from low test scores to overcrowding, have proven to be a mixed bag. And some places that once embraced them โ€” including Las Vegas, Salt Lake City and parts of California โ€” have returned to traditional calendars.

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