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Alexis Avila Founder/President of Prepped & Polished reacts to Time Magazine’s recent cover story, “The Case Against Summer Vacation”.
What are your reactions to this Time Magazine article? Do you think school summer vacation contributes to learning loss?
Post your questions/comments below.
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I agree with you that students need a break, but not all students have access to museums and can afford enrichment tutors during the summer. What about the other half of students who don’t have parents who encourage them and set them up with activities to learn year round?
I get your point Allison. But what do you do then with this other half of students? Put them inside a classroom year-round. Sounds brutal.
Ingenuity, creativity, and innovation are born from the presence of idle time, or what we commonly call “boredome”. Daydreamers are inventors. Yes, one needs time to learn. But one also needs time to process what is learned; imagining the possibilities of what was learned, so to speak. Further, one then needs the opportunity (time) to experiment and create. Idle time may quite be the devils playground, but it may also be the calm before the perfect, “innovative storm”.
I am a big believer in unstructured, “down time”. Not that it needs to go on for 4 or 5 months. But every kid should have a few weeks of down time to sit, think and process.
After some down time, all kids should do something in the summer. If it isn’t academic in nature, it should certainly be something that stretches the mind and strengthens one’s character.
I blogged about this last summer:
Thanks for the question.
I loved my summers as a kid. Of course, my family had the money to put me into camps, spends weeks away at our “summer home,” and hire a tutor one summer to teach me all of Algebra so that I could skip a year of math.
Now, I live across the street from a public housing complex (i.e. “The Projects”) in NYC. While there is a community center down the street with a summer camp, certainly not all the kids from this complex are enrolled. There must be 100 kids, if not more, sitting inside all day while single parents work two jobs in order to pay the bill, which don’t include bills for camps, etc.
The issue of summer school, for me, is that I think private education will do it best, and public education will do it very poorly. I would rather see Federal Grants created to support financial aid to established, privately run summer programs than see public schools add more days to their calendar (as if teachers’ unions would ever allow it without a HUGE pay raise).
I think a change in environment is really important for kids, so to go elsewhere for summer, even if it is structures/supervised, it a good thing. While I think unstructured downtime is important developmentally, especially for the creative impulses, I think there is a way to nurture that within a program. i.e. Kids don’t need to sit at home alone watching TV in order to become innovators, but they should have “downtime” on the campus of a school with resources to support them in their creative endeavors.
In short, my answer to this issue is for the gov’t to award grants to private summer programs in order to enroll those who cannot afford it. Incentives should be created for corporations to donate to these programs as well (beyond the usual tax breaks). States should grant $ to smaller programs. Fed should grant $ to larger, interstate programs.
In a way, this already happens, but not in a programmatic manner. It could be more streamlined and focused.
I DON’T think the answer is to require students to be in school for more time. Students and teachers will not conform well to “requirements.” Choice and competition is the answer–and I voted for Obama.
I love summer vacation, and i don’t wnat it to go away!!!
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