It's time for the United States to join the rest of the world. When schools reopen for in-person learning, American children should go to school year-round.
Like daylight saving time, the agrarian school year has passed its prime. As a percentage of the population, few children are needed to help on the farm for three months.
There are fewer summer jobs for teens. Flipping hamburgers increasingly is a job adults fill. Resorts dependent on underpaid teens for grilling and lifeguarding don't justify insufficient education. Yes, children need a good work ethic, but building businesses on child labor is not a good look for us.
Our children need to learn more in this complicated world, and they get out of the habit of learning and lose momentum over the summer. They need a break, but not for three months. Look how many now are eager to go back to school and their friends.
American children are falling behind their counterparts who go to school on Saturdays and all summer.
American children now rank 38th out of 71 top industrialized countries in scores on tests in mathematics and 24th in science. Twenty years ago, American high school and college students were No. 1 in the world in both subjects.
With education in complete turmoil because of covid-19, now is the best time to discuss what is wrong with our education system and decide to fix it. Now, with millions of students struggling with inadequate online courses, with others not even able to do that and with most of them unable to continue school until the end of summer, if then, now is when we should plan what comes next. Who knows how virulent the second wave of the coronavirus will be.
Millions of parents would be ecstatic with year-round schools. They would no longer have to scramble during the summer to find affordable activities or day care.
Vacations could be staggered. Camps would have to adjust to different schedules. Perhaps schools and camps could work in tandem. Few families take three-month vacations.
Teacher union opposition could be overcome with planning, if teachers were paid fairly. Professional development shouldn't take three months.
But states would have to act to make year-round schooling happen and, not surprisingly, lobbyists for special interests would fight it tooth and nail.
In America we always say our children are our future. Do we really believe that?
Editorial on 05/22/2020
Print Headline: Time for year-round school