the VOA Special English Education Report.
school year brings fresh reminders of what educators call the summer learning
gap. Some call it the summer learning setback. Put simply, it means the longer
kids are out of school, the more they forget.
thing they might gain is weight. Recent studies show that children gain weight
more quickly in the summer than when they are in school.
American schools follow a traditional nine-month calendar. Students get winter
and spring breaks and about ten weeks of summer vacation.
schools follow a year-round calendar. They hold classes for about eight weeks
at a time, with a few weeks off in between. The National Association for
Year-Round Education says there were fewer than three thousand such schools at
last count. They were spread among forty-six of the fifty states.
experts point out that the number of class days in a year-round school is
generally the same as in a traditional school.
McLaughlin is research director at the National Center for Summer Learning at
Johns Hopkins University. She says studies of year-round schooling have not
found strong learning gains.
year, a study at Ohio State University reported that year-round students did
not learn any more than other students. Lead researcher Paul von Hippel said
"year-round schools don't really solve the problem of the summer learning
setback. They simply spread it out across the year."
the country, research shows that students from poor families fall farther
behind over the summer than other students. Experts say this can be prevented.
They note that many schools and local governments offer programs that can help.
calling them "summer school" could be a problem. The director of the
summer learning center at Johns Hopkins, Ron Fairchild, recently wrote about
this issue on his blog.
that in American culture, the idea of summer vacation is connected to beliefs
about freedom and the joys of childhood. He said research with groups of
different parents in Chicago and Baltimore found that almost all strongly
disliked the term summer school. They said it created an image of children
being forced to do work they missed during the school year.
parents welcomed other terms like "summer camp,"
"enrichment," "extra time" and "hands-on learning."
And that's the VOA Special English
Education Report, written by Nancy Steinbach. Join us Monday for a
back-to-school report on THIS IS AMERICA. I'm Jim Tedder.