Opinion: Is year-round school a better option?

Sixty day summer break or thirty day summer break, which is better? For the majority of people attending school in the United States, they start somewhere in August or September and end in June with almost all of the summer off. However, a small percentage of students attend school year-round with breaks every couple of months. As of 2017, about 10 percent of the United States students follows this year-round schedule. Both methods have relatively the same amount of days off, so this raises the question of whether this method should be used in place of the current one.

How this year-round school would work is that summer break would be about twenty days shorter but spring break and winter break would be longer and there would be a fall break. A  benefit of this is that there is time to go on vacation at any time throughout the year instead of being forced to go in the summer or having to miss school.

Embed from Getty Images

One of the main reasons people consider the year-round schedule to be beneficial is because students will retain a lot of what they had just learned. In the traditional format, students have over two months off where they lose some of what they learned the previous year. This causes teachers to spend a big portion of the beginning of the year going over what students had already learned the previous year. Having year-round school would give students a nice break but they would better retain what they learned so teachers would not have to spend as much time on review.

This format also creates a rhythm for students and parents. Instead of having a huge break in the summer and losing that rhythm of school, you have shorter breaks more often during the school year, allowing for a much needed rest, but not breaking the overall rhythm of learning. Having a couple months of school then a break knowing that you are going to have some time off in a few weeks can keep students motivated and is something students can potentially look forward to.

Embed from Getty Images

Although there are some benefits of having school year-round, there are many drawbacks. The long summer break is used for summer school, educational camps, or original credit classes that they wouldn’t be able to take during the school year as it is. This long break allows them to make sure that they are going into the next year prepared and to get caught up on things they did not understand. 

The year-round schedule also has the potential to create problems for teachers. Too many breaks can disrupt the flow of learning. Teachers cannot create in-depth lessons because they will be interrupted by these more frequent breaks. The traditional schedule allows teachers to make lessons knowing that they have a good amount of time to cover all of the material. It may be more difficult to get teachers for those positions, given that many teachers use their summers to recuperate, or take classes to get better at their profession.

The condition of the school itself could be problematic. Many schools do not have air conditioning so the conditions in the summer could not be a healthy way for students to learn. Also, schools using plan renovations during the summer months when the school schedule is not going to be impacted. What happens to all of those plans for upgrades, renovations, and capital projects? The space and the availability of the space needs to be considered.

Another reason that year-round school seems problematic is that kids need to be kids. I think they need a long break to just enjoy themselves and not have to worry about school. They need to be able to go on long vacations and stay up late not having to work about going back to school in a short time. 

Embed from Getty Images

When taking a quick look at it, the year-round school might look beneficial. However, when you look deeper into it, there would still be many problems that you would encounter. Year-round school could create more problems than the current format and people are already used to the system that has been in place. It will be interesting to see if more schools start adopting this year-long format instead of the current one. 

Sean Thompson is a senior member of the Multimedia Journalism class