School's out for summer...but why?
June 20th, 2012
06:15 AM ET

School's out for summer...but why?

By Carl Azuz, CNN

(CNN) The reasons why America’s students enjoy around two months off every summer probably aren’t based on some archaic, farm-based education schedule, as many people believe.

They’re more likely the result of what was happening in American cities.

Flash back to the mid-1800s.  Students in rural communities were needed to help with farm work, to be sure – but not in the summertime.  Spring was the planting season, and fall was the harvesting one; summer might’ve been a great time to study, as it wouldn’t have been interrupted by work involving crops.

But in U.S. cities, where students were taught throughout the calendar year, some of the education experts and doctors of the day believed too much schooling placed a stress on kids.  And there were several factors that made summertime the ideal time for a break.

For one thing, it was hot.  We can just turn down the thermostat today, but imagine sitting in an unventilated, urban schoolhouse without air conditioning or indoor plumbing as the thermometer pushed 100.  Not a comfortable environment for learning.

For another, wealthier families – and some school administrators – took vacations in the summer.  And teachers often used the warmer months as training time.

So organizers of what came to influence our modern school year thought it best to strike summer from the academic calendar and to allow everyone, urban and rural, some time out of class.

But this isn’t to say that today’s summer vacations are good for everyone.  A number of studies have indicated that the summer months can be an educational drain, particularly on poorer students, who may not get the intellectual stimulation over the summer that middle-class students may get in camps, vacations and programs.

Read: Summer 'brain drain' worse for poor kids

The Obama Administration has pushed for longer school days and more of them, arguing that the 180-day calendar is insufficient in making the U.S. more educationally competitive with other countries.

However, Dr. Terry Stoops, director of Education Studies at the John Locke Foundation, says more time in the classroom isn’t necessarily the answer.  “Extending the school calendar without making improvements to the curriculum and teacher quality would simply subject students to additional hours of unproductive instruction,” says Stoops.

A number of studies indicate that year-round school – with short breaks spread throughout the year instead of a long one in the summer – would help prevent summer learning loss in many students.

But there’s a catch:  It costs more.  From summertime energy expenses to potential increases in teacher salaries to the costs of running buses from June through August, the potential price of year-round school may simply be out of reach.

This is a time when the nation’s public school systems are looking to cut costs.  With less money available from states and communities, we’ve seen schools eliminate bus routes, lay off or buy out teachers, and shorten school days and weeks.  So the push for more instructional time at additional cost is exactly the opposite of what many districts are able to provide.

There’s also some pushback from parents, who typically plan vacation and family time over the summer.  And those with younger kids sometimes struggle to find childcare when school breaks are spread out.

So while today’s students may have advantages in technology and organization over their 19th-Century counterparts, it’s likely they’ll continue to share the same benefits – and in some cases, drawbacks – of having summers off.

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Filed under: Carl Azuz • Early childhood education • History • Issues
soundoff (303 Responses)
  1. hannah

    They get summers off so they can annoy adults. Can't go to a mall or a supermarket without someone whining. They're bored and have nothing to do except go looking for trouble. Personally, I think a 12-month school year is a wonderful idea. They get plenty of time off during the year to "be kids" – Thanksgiving, 2 weeks at Xmas, President's week, Easter week, spring break...good grief! It's no wonder other countries are way ahead of us educationally!!! And working parents? What do they do with them all summer, stay home? It's an archaic idea that needs to go away.

    June 20, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
    • Jiovanni

      Hannah I totally agree with you.
      I spend 9 years in Germany, they have year around school and their students are very succesful. As you mentioned they already get enough time off, why the two additional months?

      June 20, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
  2. Slappy_McGiggles

    When you look at Finland. I don't think a longer school year is the answer. We just don't have the quality of education that they have. Every time a town or city needs to cut costs, schools and educational services are the first to get hit. I also think the quality of our teachers has declined. The ones I have come into contact with, just don't seem that bright.

    June 20, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
    • Hadenuffyet

      I don't think it would be longer , just a bit more contiguous. As I recall , the first six weeks were generally a glossing over of the last year. Throughout the year they would actually have the same amount of time off , just less time to forget what they learned from the previous year.

      June 20, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
    • Carol

      You are right. I work in one of the premier school systems in the nation. They are not that bright. I'd love to see the SAT scores of these teachers. And least bright seem to be promoted. I have never seen a Math teacher become a principal, however have seen several Health teachers as principals. Some of my colleagues say the Math teachers don't have time for additional coursework, whereas Health teachers do.

      June 20, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
  3. Lexi

    I'm a rising junior in high school, and I can tell you now that I appreciate the summer months. However, I was also in year-round school in my primary years (the quarter system) and as far as breaks go, it was nice. But what does a child do when they're out for 3 weeks and their friends in other schools or even family members are still in class? What do you do when you're in school in June and everyone else is outside riding bikes and going to the pool?

    I have found that I can learn a concept very quickly when I am focused. AND THAT IS WHAT WE NEED TO WORK ON. FOCUS. It's not the fault of the school system to keep students focused, because we are kids. If we don't want to do something, we won't, and this is more true for high school students. The truth is, if all students were more focused, if education were made to be more important, we would focus on it more. But no. We pay movie stars and athletes millions of dollars, and teachers in the local elementary school are paid close to $40,000 if they're well-qualified with a Ph.D. In other countries, that payroll is switched, and THAT is why students do so well internationally. They see that education gets more money than standing in front of a camera or throwing a ball around.

    June 20, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
    • Hadenuffyet

      Bravo , you've got a clue...all is not lost.

      June 20, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
  4. Shagittarius

    To me the better question is why we as adults settle for 2 weeks of vacation a year.

    June 20, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
    • Par

      Brilliant point! The lack of reasonable time off in the US is criminal.

      June 20, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
    • pablo picasso

      Because your American, slave to the corporations that are in turn slave to the dollar.

      June 20, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
      • huh?

        Say what?! Learn to write a coherent sentence.

        June 20, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
    • John

      Because we're not as lazy as the rest of the world. And you see where that got them economically.

      June 20, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
  5. George

    If the teaching profession were as well respected as doctors and other professionals used to be, we'd have the best and brightest competing for the jobs. Respect the teachers of your children, they are the ones molding the future. No, I am not a teacher, just one that has a couple of good ones while growing up. Force colleges to give one US citizen a free ride for each overseas student admitted. US Schools for US kids first.

    June 20, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
  6. Josh

    "... but imagine sitting in an unventilated, urban schoolhouse without air conditioning or indoor plumbing as the thermometer pushed 100. Not a comfortable environment for learning."

    How about the same urban schoolhouse without central heat as the thermometer dropped below 32. Not a comfortable environment for learning either.

    June 20, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
    • marshoutlaw

      um er, I believe we had heat long before air conditioning....

      June 20, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
    • Jason Willis

      A fair point. However, you can always put on more sweaters, jackets, etc to warm up. There's a limit to how naked you can get to cool down.

      June 20, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
    • Hadenuffyet

      OMG, what did we ever do before HVAC...

      June 20, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
    • Mandor

      the point is, back before air condition, there was NOTHING that could be done to take the heat off of a scorcher of a day. literally the only option was to suck it up and deal with it.

      they WERE able to use fireplaces, wood burning stoves, or even just wear lots of sweaters to take the chilll out of a winter's day. Did *every* classroom have such heating means available, perhaps not. But the basic technology to solve the problem did exist.

      June 20, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
  7. professor

    I want to change our colleges from 2 – 16 week teaching sessions a year, to 3 – 15 week teaching sessions a year. With 7 weeks free, this would still allow 2 week breaks between sessions, and another week for holidays. Instead of students paying rent for 4 years, the exact same education would only take 2 – 2/3 years. Unemployed adults could afford to return to school and quickly retrain for a more in demand careers in 1 -2 years. Colleges could justify paying professors higher wages since they are working most of the year instead of only 9 months. Lets get this done.

    June 20, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
    • Joe

      Most schools offer classes in the Summer and many students can graduate in 3 years. It is their choice.

      June 20, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
  8. bnjmn375

    I'm a teacher and I already teach year round, as I teach summer school. Most teachers do this, or take classes, or work a second job during the summer. We don't take two months off. My colleagues and I have discussed year round school and most of us would not care as long as we get a corresponding raise in pay for more time spent teaching. The problem is the added expense of paying teachers more, air conditioning, and one thing this article doesen't mention the fact that in many parts of the country older schools are still not air conditioned. So you have to replace or retrofit them, for even more money. Which means to do this you are looking at least at a 25% to 30% increase in education funding nationwide, good luck with that.

    June 20, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
  9. Iren

    sorry I don't understand how it would cost more. They are suggesting year-round school – with short breaks spread throughout the year instead of a long one in the summer – would this not mean that they are in school the same number of weeks but instead of 8 weeks summer they would spread this over the term and take more frequent smaller breaks. So why would this cost more in teachers salaries, bus costs etc, same number of hours = same costs. In fact maybe then holiday companies, hotels etc, would stop increasing their prices during school holidays as they would be more spread out. School districts/states etc could vary their weeks making travel easier for many families

    June 20, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • spurdoc

      The cost per month might remain somewhat constant in the northern states,but the electric bill for air conditioning alone would be very expensive in southern states.

      June 20, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
    • KarminaK

      Well, for one, the summer months are the hottest months of the year, so electricity costs would increase due to the amount of time they would be having to run the A/C. As for bus costs, if they are being ran 12 months out of the year, they are going to break down more frequently and require more upkeep. And teachers currently only really work 9-10 months out of the year, even though their salary is split evenly among all 12 months. Therefore, if they are required to work the full 12 months, common sense says they will desire a larger salary.

      June 20, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
    • KarminaK

      Well, for one, the summer months are the hottest months of the year, so electricity costs would increase due to the amount of time they would be having to run the A/C. As for bus costs, if they are being ran 12 months out of the year, they are going to break down more frequently and require more upkeep. And teachers currently only really work 9-10 months out of the year, even though their salary is split evenly among all 12 months. Therefore, if they are required to work the full 12 months, common sense says they will desire a larger salary.

      June 20, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
  10. Slappy_McGiggles

    American parents, you could help out too! Instead of taking your kids to the movies, take them to a museum! When you take them to Disney World, take a day and stop by Cape Canaveral. Take them to a zoo once in a while.
    And more then anything, teach them how to behave in public!!! When he's yelling and screaming, he's not just "being a boy", he's being rude and obnoxious! When she throws herself on the floor and starts kicking and screaming, that's not "her thing", again it's being rude and obnoxious!

    June 20, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
    • Kim

      Oh shut up you fool.

      June 20, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
    • Troy

      Don't forget to teach them the difference between "then" and "than" too.

      June 20, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
  11. David C

    Our system is broken. Teachers lack real authority these days. 20-30 years ago, you didn't get in trouble at school because you didn't want even more trouble at home. Today the parents back their kid and say "my kid is a perfect angel and does no wrong". Back when we had a three month summer vacation, we didn't return to school in September with the intelligence of a goldfish. It only took a day or two to get back into it.

    Now, we spend too much time teaching kids to pass a standardized test to get more federal funding instead of actually educating them. We also need to be willing to fail a child if they can't/don't do the work. Lowering the bar helps no one. Not every child is a future doctor, teacher, or rocket science. Perhaps those that fall behind could enter politics. They can't do much worse than the group of clowns (includes people from both parties) we have now.

    Bottom line: Forcing kids to stay in school longer and keep doing what we currently do won't teach them anything new. Doing more of a failed thing won't make it right.

    June 20, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
    • David C

      *scientist.

      June 20, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
  12. landshark

    Wow! 218 people have responed to this stupid article.

    June 20, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
  13. Rapp

    Over a thirty plus year career in education I have been able to keep track of many former students. Without a doubt the vast majority who have gone on to lead productive lives are those who have parents who held themselves and their children accountable for their education. Homework was always completed (above and beyond what was demanded) attendance was near perfect and behavior was respectful. On the other hand I had many children who were talented beyond belief and their abilities were often squandered due to negligence and apathy. I have done studies on the decline of "academic results" in North America. There are many factors that contribute to our decline but one that always rises to the top is, in N.A. we do not hold ourselves and our children accountable for their education. I work with children today who consider hockey to be more important than school. Depending on the level a child is at in hockey, they can play more than 60 games a year plus practices. Often parents will tell me not to expect homework to be done between October and March because they have practices or games. Absenteeism due to extra curricular activities is huge of course. There are outliers in everything, but overall, if the home is stable and parents are positively involved, children have a great opportunity to develop to their potential and summer holiday has little to no impact on those children.

    June 20, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
  14. willcompleteit

    Kids get summer off because teachers want 3-months vacation.
    During the semester, professors teach 2 or 3 courses; at 3-courses it is 9 hours of lecture. Add 1-2 hours as office hours, 1-2 hour for coffee; still doesn't come to 20-hours per week.
    This is why American schools are failing. It is explained in one of the chapters in "in your face IRS: zero taxes",
    ISBN 978-0-9857370-0-9

    June 20, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
    • cptdondo

      You've obviously never taught. It takes at least 1 hour of prep time for each hour of class time. And that's for a course where you already have the basics worked out. Developing a new course can easily be 10x the number of class hours. Add to that homework and grading, dealing with whining parents and students, and you have a lot more than "2 hours for coffee...."

      If it's so easy, go get a teaching job.

      June 20, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
    • Andrew

      Do you have any idea how busy professors are? It takes time to plan courses and prepare lectures. And they are under pressure to complete their own work and then publish it (which is a lengthy process). And then they serve on various boards and councils, travel to conferences, write grant applications, attend department meetings. The list just goes on and on. There's no end to their work.

      June 20, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
    • Paul

      If you are talking about college professors, education is not their primary job. The primary role of professors at major universities (it can be argued whether this is good or bad) is research, and in particular administering their laboratory, guiding research direction and graduate students, and generating proposals for research grant money. Most professors that I know work year-round, focusing on their research efforts in the summers. Teaching at most might be 40% of their job.

      June 20, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
    • College Prof

      There are some teachers who go into teaching because they want the summer vacation. However, any teacher really worth his or her salt will tell you that the work never really stops. While adjunct faculty may only teach a couple of classes, full-time instructors often are required to teach 5 courses a semester (or roughly 15 hours in class each week). Office hours are often quite lengthy–at my college, office hours are more or less equivalent to the hours spent in class each week. Finally, every teacher I know spends massive amounts of free time–nights, weekends, breaks–grading or planning. Some individuals DO give teaching a bad name. However, please do not discount the vast majority of us who take our jobs very seriously. There are countless educators who will confirm that teaching is the hardest job they've ever had, but that it also gets in their blood. We keep doing this work because we love it and simply can't imagine doing anything else.

      June 20, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
  15. mike the dictator

    We should just adopt China's method of education. When our children fail in school or drop below a percentile they should be forced into a life of indentured servitude to our goverment, or farmed out to the military for experimental testing, or even to other countries to help with manual labor. Then the brightest kids will have the best chance to expand their minds without the hassle of dealing with the dimmer children and those lazy teachers can just be fired. We should have computers teach our kids those are way smarter! Also we should keep the smartest kids in a secure compound away from the out side world or idiots. Sorta like the movie super solider.....but without all the weird anal probeing.

    June 20, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
    • Fragnewton

      Mike,

      I suspect you would have been one of the first "farmed out" for experimentation. Just a hunch.

      June 20, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
  16. WillH85

    Funny that at the same time that Obama's pushing for more school days students lose access to summer financial aid so now many of us college students can't afford to take summer classes. Obama, hypocrite as usual.

    June 20, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
    • cptdondo

      It's congress that sets the budget, not the President. You obviously need to go to school and learn about the US political system.

      June 20, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
    • commonsense2

      Apparently you do need to stay in school over the summer to understand the contents and the meaning of this article. THE ARTICLE IS NOT TALKING ABOUT COLLEGE STUDENTS YOU IDIOT! They are talking about the younger students. College is a choice you make and PAY FOR! They are talking about public education elementary, junior high, and high schools! No wonder our educational system is f'ed up, the people who get into college are idiots too!

      June 20, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
  17. jstandish

    "Spring was the planting season, and fall was the harvesting one; summer might’ve been a great time to study, as it wouldn’t have been interrupted by work involving crops."

    -Wow... this whole article MUST be tongue in cheek... or this author should be glad there are grocery stores out there that understand farmers work all summer NOT just spring and fall. Can't stop laughing at this long enough to finish the article!

    June 20, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
  18. bob

    I am a teacher. At this point, kids are getting summers off because there is no support for the cost of year round public education, full stop.

    June 20, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • bread

      We've allways done it that way, right? Build very expensive schools and let them sit empty, we've allways done it that way.

      June 20, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
  19. ruth

    When we were young in the summer we used to olay school!!!

    June 20, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
  20. bread

    I think they should not get so much time off, but i also think they should graduate when they are 17 not eighteen.
    then they should hang around the house till they are 18, yep...a whole year off, a whole year at home with mommya nd daddy. yep, even the children whose parents are teachers, they should also be home for an entire year, nope-not working, just at home chillaxing.

    June 20, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
  21. Fast Fred

    The Teachers Union damands it.

    June 20, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
  22. SteveOfTx

    "summer might’ve been a great time to study, as it wouldn’t have been interrupted by work involving crops."
    Spoken by someone who has obviously never even seen a farm. Is Azuz really so out of touch that he believes that fields of crops do not need tending during the summer? It's when some of the hardest work is done, especially back in the 1800's he speaks so (un)knowingly of. Weeding, picking off insects by hand, and working the hard sun-baked soil between the rows to keep the crops healthy. Did you bother doing any research at all before you wrote that statement? Obviously not.

    June 20, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
    • UtahProf

      You are correct but the "modern journalist" can't be bothered with the factuality of details in their work.

      June 20, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
  23. UtahProf

    The Quarter System works very well. Yes, it is year round but the nice 2 to 3 week long breaks 4 times a year accomplish what the original intent was – a "break"/time to decompress. It offers flexibility for families, vacations, and prevents "brain drain". I know it worked well for me as a student and also for me as a Professor and I wish my kids were on it. I think if people were open-minded about it and would give it a try, they would like it – a lot.

    June 20, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
    • Duni

      I've never heard of the quarter system, and actually it sounds pretty good to me. I think, as a kid, I would have preferred that. Would have made 4 years of high school float by.

      June 20, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
  24. Slappy_McGiggles

    You people are unbelievable! Every American in this forum had 2 months off growing up! Do you think of yourselves as stupid or uneducated! From 1900 to 2000, we went from inventing the first airplane to breaking the sound barrier to putting a man on the moon! No nation in the world has accomplished so much in so little time as America has! And on 2 occasions we had to stop and keep Europe from self-destructing. And all theses accomplishments were by people who took their Summers off school as kids! Look at your computer and what's it running, Windows or Mac OS, both American companies. Who created the internet? The U.S. military! USA! USA! USA!
    Just because your lives suck and your all miserable, doesn't mean that you have to drag your kids down with you! Let them play and enjoy life while they can, because we all know what's waiting for them down the road!

    June 20, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
    • Hadenuffyet

      I don't think that's the point , I think the point is that we ,as a nation ,are falling behind other industrialized nations in our educational systems effectiveness. This seems to be one possible way to try to correct it.

      June 20, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
    • The Truth

      yeah! THANKS TO THE ALIENS!!!!

      June 20, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
    • Jeff

      Amen. Everybody wants to be a social engineer. If they want to improve the American education system they should concentrate on makeing college more affordable.

      June 20, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
    • Joe

      Yeah and no we have to use other countries to get to the space station oh and how's the economy looking?

      June 20, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
    • archdoogie

      Hey Slappy. Before you get too slap-happy with the current American educational system and America's list of achievements, keep in mind that the rest of the world did not offer quite so much in public education from 1900-2000. From this point onward, can we still compete with the rest of the world with our current system? We have to offer more to our kids than the rest of the world. Is it possible to do that with two and a half months removed fro the year?

      June 20, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
    • Try_European

      Hmmm...really you think americans invented all those things, try people from europe immigrants, god the education system really sucks in the USA!

      June 20, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
    • Mike D.

      Exactly! Well said.

      June 20, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
    • professor

      Slappy, you have many facts wrong in such a short span. The Wright brothers first flew in 1903, not 1900. Neil Armstrong first stepped on the moon in 1969. The events you gave spanned 1903 – 1969 (over 40 years ago). Presently China is flying astronauts into space, while the NASA no longer has the means to do so on their own.

      June 20, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
  25. fromnotingtosomething

    Blame the labor unions and lawyers for messing up the US. Imagine how much of mine and your tax money went to the crooked lawyers to the Roger Clemens case. Imagine the labor unions that hold employers hostage. For example, if you're an employee, you want paid vacations? Who ever thought of that idea. I don't think other countries have that kind of law. If you don't work, you don't get paid. Who's to blame? the Unions and the crooked lawyers. If this doesn't make you mad, then go to the DMV and wait 2 hours just to end up talking to some lazy b lac k person redirect you to someone else just because she knows she can't get fired. Our economy is going no where without innovative people that work.

    June 20, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
    • me

      amen

      June 20, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
    • DeeBee

      The U.S. does not have a law requiring employees to received a minimum number of paid vacation days and is, in fact, the only major industrialized country that doesn't.

      June 20, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
    • What??

      We are one of the very few modern nations where paid vacation isn't a law mandated by the government. Most of Europe mandates time off and even India and China's government mandate at least a couple weeks paid vacation for their workers...please do some research before posting nonsense...

      June 20, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
    • Hadenuffyet

      Absolutely , D A M N those labor unions for prying that cash from the Fords' , Rockefellers', and Gettys' and giving it to the people who actually enabled them to acquire their wealth. Let's do what China does , you work 12 hours a day and you'll be paid $.35 an hour , need more ...bring in your kids , we'll pay them too!

      June 20, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • Suzanne

      You should research laws on paid vacations/holidays in other countries. You would apparently be very surprised! Whereas the US has *no* law requiring paid days off (other than laws that apply to federal employees only), most developed countries *do* have laws requiring a minimum number of paid days off.

      June 20, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
  26. Yep

    Education is for snobs! Bring back the salt mines and put the riffraff to work in them until they learn to respect their betters in the upper classes.

    June 20, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
    • Mike

      Yep,

      Should we implement a caste society as well? This is America, education and an opportunity to succeed is quintessential. Notice, I did say opportunity, success is earned not handed out.

      June 20, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
  27. Disgusted with American parents and this mindset

    The problem is parents, not schools/teachers!!! Put a child in class with a great teacher and they will still do poorly if they have parents who don't value education, don't help with homework, and don't provide them with structure. I feel like people really want to leave child development 99% up to the government. They want kids in school all day and with minimal breaks. They don't want to be parents. And don't give me excuses about both parents needing to work full time. Do what you have to do to give your kids the best opportunity to be successful.... sacrifice so 1 parent can work part time or, hey, don't have kids if you can't afford it! My mom was a single mom and family members all pitched in to pick me up after school and make sure afternoons were spent doing homework, reading, playing outside, and occasionally watching an educational show on TV. That is the key to success. Nothing disgusts me more than this hands-off parenting, put the kid in front of the TV eating junk nonsense. America should be ashamed. We are doomed to fail as long as parents don't make parenting number 1.

    June 20, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
    • Hadenuffyet

      I've done alright , but my parents had few educational opportunities. They could have been lifted right out of "The Grapes of Wrath". As such , beyond about eighth grade they couldn't help at all. Not their fault , they did the best they could and actually fared quite well in later life. Just sayin ...

      June 20, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
      • Elizabeth

        Hadenuffyet, but I bet your parents cared that you stayed in school and did as well as you could.

        June 20, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
    • E

      Spot on. Too many people in this country who have no idea what they are doing to their children. I hope that they at least have the right intentions, which I think most people do, but unfortunately, that cannot cure ignorance.

      June 20, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
    • Mary

      I agree 100%! Parents have left parenting up to the schools. Children's success is now a measure of teacher accomplishment, not parents. When you have a kid who is not doing well in school, you will probably find more answers at home than in the classroom. It is easier to blame the educational system than to actually take responsibility for your own children, though.

      June 20, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
    • zjm555

      WELL IT'S APPARENT THAT YOU TURNED OUT BETTER THAN EVERYONE ELSE.

      June 20, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
  28. sora57

    Currently, the 180 school days per year is a farce. My children in public school have been watching movies and having end of year parties for the past 2 weeks. And the day before a big holiday or long weekend, the teachers don't teach much because they know it will all be forgotten over the break. The system is broken and abused. But extend the school year to 12 months? Watch all the summer camps and vacation-related business freak out. And the expense of air conditioning all those school buildings in this economy? That won't happen either– no town will approve the Board of Ed budget for that.

    June 20, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
  29. Mike D.

    Birth – School – Work – Death....so that's it? Childhood is the only time you ever get to be truly free. I cannot believe the comments I am reading. Just because you have to work and toil does not mean you should make your children do the same. They have plenty of that waiting for them in the future. You only have so many years when you are young to be yourself, not conform and feel alive. Your children will not "fall behind" or work any less hard than people who spend the whole year in school. They may just come out of it with more of an imagination and be able to actually enjoy what they do. The tighter you turn the screws the farther they will move away from you when they get older. Lighten up.

    June 20, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
    • bob

      What about retirement?

      June 20, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
      • Mike D.

        Oh yeah..that's what I want for my kids..wait until your adult depends years to try and have fun, lol. Youth is the time to have fun and enjoy yourself. We put to much pressure on our kids as it is. They have forgotten how to play and just have a life. Maybe I am just a better parent than most, two kids, straight "A" students who also have a lives ans summers off.

        June 20, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
      • MEOOHMY

        You gonna be able to retire, Bob?

        June 20, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
      • Dom

        retirement is for the rich and lucky.... most of us will work until we die since Social Security will be long gone...

        June 20, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
      • George

        Unhappily, retirement for many of us will be in a box 6 ft underground. What about retirement? I was looking forward to working to 66 then retiring but my company is trying to push me out at not quite 62. Wonderful. It's a sad state of affairs for those that tried to play the game right and I feel damn stupid for falling for it all.

        June 20, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
      • Dom

        I think you have to leave the number of days alone. What you could do is change the distribution of the days. Perhaps make it to where there are four four week breaks during the year and have a quarter system. So the bus fuel would be the same. I am not sure about the AC costs – that might go up with this plan.

        June 20, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
    • Hadenuffyet

      I'm not so sure . Einstien spent a lot of time in school and it's hard to find anyone with a greater imagination. Seems more education actually enhances imagination .

      June 20, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
      • Michael Robinson

        As I recall Einstein denounced traditional teaching methods such as rote learning which is still what education is today. He also failed in several subjects, ignored his teacher's teaching of Algebra and taught himself in the summer. Also in the summer he invented and wrote scholarly papers. If given the right motivation summer is not a waste. I always hated grade school because the teachers were boring, the food sucked, and they never made anything fun and stimulating. Memorization, and tests, that's what the current system is. Plus freetime can give people like me time to pursue an instrument which helped my math, and multi tasking schools. If you want to make school more productive get rid of sports and devote the money entirely to education.

        June 20, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
    • Disgusted with American parents and this mindset

      Amen!! They will be better for having a break. Keep them engaged and off TV/computer over summer and you'll be fine. Kids only 'forget' what they learned the last year if they've been allowed to do nothing mentally/physically engaging for 2 months.

      June 20, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
      • sora57

        An English teacher I had in high school used to say "Rest, not rust" when we were leaving for summer break.

        June 20, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
    • D

      Great point – children need time to play and be kids. Summers are perfect for that but it need not be a time for back sliding. With all the concern over the state of public education in our country, the one factor that has the most chance of making an impact (since all the pressure seems to be placed on schools and teachers) are PARENTS. If every parent took to heart their role in the education process we could raise the level of achievement for a large percentage of students. Schools and teachers can't do it alone. If you want your kids to succeed then you need to be willing to go the extra mile. Don't just blame teachers. Read to your child during the summer, play board games with them in the evening (they stimulate critical thinking skills), do fun hands on learning projects.

      June 20, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
  30. Joe Providence

    I'm 45 and my child is all grown up and I have no grand kids (yet anyway) so I think that kids should be forced to go to school year round – no breaks at all (just regular holidays).

    June 20, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
  31. Kris

    The only ones who don't think students should go year round with several breaks throughout the year are teachers-because they are basically getting a paid vacation. My teacher friends and I argue this every year when they complain about going back to school in August...boo hoo–you just got the whole summer off. I'm sorry–I do not think teachers work harder than everyone else in the world (they do work hard though)–but when you choose to become a teacher you know what you're getting into.

    I work in higher education and I'll just say–it wouldn't hurt for kids to not have a few mths off b/c these students are getting more stupid as the years go by when they get to college. Several private schools go all year round and with small breaks inbetween the students are doing great! I think it's something that needs to be looked into.

    June 20, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
    • Joe Providence

      They should drag you back to make up all the time you had off.

      June 20, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
    • Rob71

      If you work in higher education we are in trouble...

      June 20, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
    • jimbo

      I think you are misinformed. Most teachers are paid a salary in accordance to a 9 month work year. Teachers can opt to spread the 9 months of pay over 12, but it certainly isn't a paid 3 month vacation.

      June 20, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
    • jimbo

      I think you are misinformed. Most teachers are paid a salary in accordance to a 9 month work year. Teachers can opt to spread the 9 months of pay over 12, but it certainly isn't a paid 3 month vacation.

      June 20, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
    • SC

      Paycheck are sometimes spread out over 12 months – doesn't mean they get paid for the time they do not work. Some only get paid nine months out of year. Don't know where the misconception comes from.

      June 20, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
  32. SummerFun

    "I never let my schooling get in the way of my education."
    - Mark Twain

    June 20, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
    • bob

      That's a good quote 😀

      June 20, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
  33. Year Round School

    I teach at the college level and our school has classes year round! Let me tell you, it is indeed draining on the students and even more so on the faculty! What is worse, is any holidays we have to make-up! So, 4th of July we have off, but have to make it up the week after....teaching is very tiring! In fact, I am looking to leave this job because of how the faculty and students are not given ample time to rest....okay, off my soapbox!

    June 20, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
  34. Michael

    Kids only get to be kids once. Let them have a life while they can. Summer vacation should be three months – mandatory. And homework should be banned. I refuse to take work home with me. Why should children have to? All you people on here wanting to force kids to be in school eight hours a day, twelve months a year, are just plain mean.

    June 20, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
    • Hadenuffyet

      And what may your occupational aspirations entail? Sounds you may qualify for maybe civil service i.e. dogcatcher, garbage collection , park maintenance.
      Nobody is advocating what you state. 6 weeks on , 2 weeks off or some variant. You might actually like it better.

      June 20, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
    • john

      thank you, I agree (i am a thirteen year old) but a big problem is the fact that the obama administratiobn wwants us to be not outside (which conflicts wigth his obeseity program) and and after the big tests it is just pointless because all we did was sit around and watch movies (all crapy ones) and thank you for ppointing this out.

      June 20, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
  35. BL

    I think that if society saw teachers teaching all year long – then teacher pay would not be an issue. Right now we are facing a major teacher shortage – because teachers don't get paid squat. So we fill teaching positions with uncertified people and then complain when kids don't get the education they deserve.

    Maybe, if they taught all year long people wouldn't have a problem giving them more money to do it. BTW I've been a teacher for 15 years. Kids need some time to veg, I agree, but do they really need 2 months? Can't we come up with a system that works? There are still kids taking 2 week vacations to disney during the school year. People don't reserve summer for vacations only.

    June 20, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
    • dbrock

      And there is the problem: "teachers don't get paid squat". You get paid well. You get medical, dental, vision, paid vacations, and a nice government pension when you retire at age 50. You don't appreciate what you got. At least you have a job.

      June 20, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
      • Seriously

        Paid vacation? Government pension? I would like to know what state/district you live in, that isn't our teacher benefit package where I am.

        June 20, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
      • TxTeacher

        Ha! Retirement is now rule of 90; age plus years of experience=90. Thank goodness I'm grandfathered so I'm on rule of 80. I pay more for my insurance than my chip designer (Masters) husband, for a lower tier of coverage. Continuing education each year is from 5-15 days and going up. Resign at 50, maybe, but not retire.

        June 20, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
      • Louie

        Okay fool, lets take a little looky at my deductions. Have you seen my teacher deductions, I thought not. What a tool. First I pay into every item you identified and point out that my pension is paid into by me, not my employer for 30 + years. Teachers don't retire at 50 because that would be an impossibility due to the requirements of a 4 year degree. On top of which I hold 3 Masters degrees. So in all likely hood I will retire at 60 something with nearly 35-40 years experience. Then I will go work in the private sector and fire you first thing for incompetence and sheer foolishness. Be well.

        June 20, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
  36. Hadenuffyet

    You want better infrastructure , taxes gotta go up across the board. A very bitter pill to swallow , but absolutely necessary.

    June 20, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
  37. MOJO

    These little American snots need to be going to school year round. I am tired of hearing all their screaming and seeing them run rampant throughout the neighborhood, while mom and dad can't be bothered to watch them. American kids are about as stupid as it gets. They need more time in school. Maybe it will do some good. I know it will make my life a lot more pleasant.

    June 20, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
    • Primal 4 Life

      Nope, they don't, period. I will never support year a round school.

      June 20, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
      • Another Point of View

        Maybe have the kids go to school for 3 months, then have a full month off (or maybe 3 weeks cuz there are other days during the tri-mester that they would have off). Same amount of vacation, just split into three different times during the year.

        June 20, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
    • Mike D.

      Seriously? I am guessing your childhood sucked. Life is not about work and study 24-7 and never should be.

      June 20, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
      • Josh

        What he said.

        June 20, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
    • stinger21

      and after all, it is all about you, right? THAT is the problem in America, not the length of the school year. Selfish dolt.

      June 20, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
    • Bradley

      You can't be serious... Americans excel in more categories than any other country. I agree there are things about our culture that even I wish I could change and I'm sure other cultures wish they could change, but hands down Americans have the best education system on the planet... it just costs a ton of money so poor people don't have access to it. We've gone to the moon, and voyager 1 has just entered interstellar space. We have more gold medals at the olympics than any other country, and we have the most diverse and talented actors and musicians than any other country combined. I will own up to our unsavory side, but I absolutely wont accept stupid as a trait of Americans.

      June 20, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
      • jenn

        WAKE UP! Americans DO NOT have the best education system in a planet. Wake up! The people who put this country forward are these coming from another countries because US has money to pay them. Wake up! I do not have a solid statistics but probably over 80% if not more of all graduate students in US are from foreign contires. Here I am talking about techinical fields and BS fields like communications and such.

        June 20, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
      • Jeff

        Bradley, I really hope you are joking about your response, trying to include musicians, actors, and athletes into a discussion about school. First off, you talked about our space program, but you forget that we brought scientists in from all over the world to get us to the moon, and the Russians made it to space first. Secondly, To say that US is at the top in every academic category is just plain ignorant. Test scores in the US rank around 24 for reading, math, and science, at every age group. Now I will not say it's because of the length of the school year, seeing as Finland has the highest test scores of any country in math and science, but they only go to school 10 more days a year. But I am saying that we need better structure on what the kids do during the summer. Summer knowledge loss is a proven thing, but it isn't because of less schooling, it's because our kids aren't asked to use their knowledge productively during the summer, they are told do nothing and play. Well with more TV watching and video game playing, instead of summer camps and structured activities, they aren't asked to use their brains. Which, as the old saying goes, "Use it or lose it", they are losing it.

        June 20, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • slappy_McGiggles

      Well if you went out and got a job, you wouldn't be home to listen to them! Go back to where you came from!

      June 20, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
    • Rob71

      I doubt anything will make your life happier. You sound like one miserable person.

      June 20, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
    • Slappy_McGiggles

      Wow, you really sound like a bitter, worthless old person!

      June 20, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
    • Mike

      Are you, by chance, the same guy who used to scream "get off of my lawn, you kids!" at us in the summer when we were growing up?

      June 20, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
    • RD3

      All of you parents that are ragging on American kids need to realize how you grew up. You had a summer break, a time to relax, play, sleep, whatever your heart desired. But know that you are ADULTS and have an ADULT duty of working to support yourself and/or family, you think that you need to bring it down on your kids. Childhood is the one time in your life where you are free to live how you want, and in today's society, that window is growing shorter. School plus school related activity (homework, sports, clubs, etc.) Takes up usually 12 hours of my day, plus sleeping for a healthy 9 hours, and the 1 hour to get ready in the morning, plus about an hours to get to and from school, that leaves a measly hour of free time a day. Just think about it.

      June 20, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
  38. Paul Willson

    youth must learn at a very young age that happiness and fun are not to be desired but that HARD work is

    June 20, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
  39. Paul Willson

    Give the childrenh 2 weeks off every 3 months otherwise k,eep them in school

    June 20, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
  40. idunno

    That kids jack-knife form is attrocious

    June 20, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
    • Primal 4 Life

      Looks more like he is going for a can opener.

      June 20, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
      • Baxter

        This settles it. I cannot support any policy that would result in a generation that doesn't know what a can-opener is. Ah, now I am nostalgic and aching to go spend the day at a lake with my kids.

        June 20, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
    • idunno

      Jack-knife, can-opener, same thing?

      June 20, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
  41. user88

    It seems no one brought up this - It is all Obama's fault! - now that out of the way to discuss summer fun times.

    June 20, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • FauxNews

      ok, but if we don't have fun this summer, it's Obama's fault, lol.

      June 20, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
  42. Reality

    Here is a reality check.....the Obama Administration will not and can not extend the school hours nor the school days. The fact is the teachers unions, nea etc will not permit this to happen. They are all far too content with the way things are now. The unions have obama and every democrat in their back pocket....that is a fact and that is indisputable. They would never endanger that "Bonnie & Clyde" relationship.

    June 20, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • UTGRAD

      Reality check.. Lets have a reality check...Show me your proof to back up your claims, or stop spewing propaganda that you just heard on the radio....

      June 20, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
    • hey teach

      90% teacher want school year longer than 180 days. States are unwilling to come up with the additional dollars to fund it.

      June 20, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
    • Where's the money?

      Where's the money to keep school's open year round?

      Most teachers I know are starting in the 30-35K range now days and they need the summer months for a second job to keep paying off their student loans. If you want them to work an extra 2-3 months, that means an increase in base salary of at least 15-25%. Where are the states/communities getting that money?

      That doesn't even include building costs, administrative costs, buses, etc.

      June 20, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
  43. North Carolina

    "Flash back to the mid-1800s. Students in rural communities were needed to help with farm work, to be sure – but not in the summertime. Spring was the planting season, and fall was the harvesting one; summer might’ve been a great time to study, as it wouldn’t have been interrupted by work involving crops."

    Apparently the author of this article has never heard of tobacco. It required extensive work throughout the summer and was a big deal in NC and throughout the south. Not too many crops that you can just plant and pick without needing routine work to help them grow.

    June 20, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
    • Texas lives

      it just shows how little these reporters actually know, and try to come off as experts for analysis. Most farm crops in Texas DO come in starting in June and heavy work in July. Then fields have to be tilled and prepped for sitting for the winter during the late summer months. Hay has to be put up as well for all the cattle ranches while pastures are growing grass and other crops used for feeding cattle during the winter months. All the work started in the spring comes to fruition in the summer.

      Besides, when did SCHOOLS become under national domain anyway. What happened to the 10th amendment. The school administration should always fall to the state and local communities for oversight.

      June 20, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
      • GvilleT

        The problem with keeping the school systems entirely state ran, is you wind up with Governors like the infamous Rick Perry who could care less about education and who doesn't want to spend a single penny on it. Rick Perry has been cutting the education budget every year since he's been in office, yet the Texas population is growing by leaps and bounds (over the border that is). You get what y ou pay for. Texas education has got to be the worst of all 50 states.

        June 20, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
  44. blueskiesmom

    Not all learning is done in the classroom. Summer should be a time for parents to be more involved in feeding the poetic knowledge of thier children. I loved summers with my kids when they were young.

    June 20, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
  45. boyamidumb

    Childhood is short and it may be healthier for kids to get the full joy of it.

    But reality hits and you don't get summers off and you learn that a lot of what you were taught is a lie.

    You also learn that education/learning is a 9 month a year thing that ends when you finish your graduate work.

    NOT!!!

    Life is 24/7/12/12 and learning is the same.

    If we teach our children that, we teach them a taste of the truth and help to create a better person, with a healthier perspecitve, and ultimately a better world.

    June 20, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
    • Steve O

      Just like in North Korea!

      June 20, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
  46. sugarmomma1

    We love summers! It's downtime for all of us and we really enjoy ourselves and are much more productive when school starts back because we have recovered from school burnout.

    June 20, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
    • boyamidumb

      Mama, learning is not about burnout unless we make it so. Learning shoud be and IS exciting. Teaching your children that learning is a task and that you need a break from it, is doing them a disservice. Every morning when you wake up you should strive to, hope to, work toward learning something. That is what makes life worth living.

      June 20, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
    • MOJO

      You are a moron.

      June 20, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
      • Mike

        Mojo,
        If that is the best you can do when you disagree with someone else’s point of view, you might want to look in the mirror.

        June 20, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
    • jasoncdanforth

      Want to make your kids smarter? Try this activity. Take a deck of cards. Draw 4 cards. Numbers are face value and faces are 10. Find a combination using each card once with the basic four math operations. First to reach 24 and explain the solution wins the cards. Whoever has the most cards wins.

      Sound difficult? My boss can do this on average within 5 seconds. Why? Because this is what Asian kidsd do FOR FUN!!!!

      And we wonder why we can't compete...

      June 20, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
      • Jeff

        Sorry, common misconception. Being good at math IS NOT being able to calculate numbers in your head quickly. That certainly helps a lot down the road, but being good at math involves far more.

        June 20, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
  47. dike

    Summer is the most expensive months for me with two kids going to camps....

    June 20, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
  48. 12th avenue, 50330

    Just because you write for CNN does not mean you are stupid, but it is a pretty good indicator.

    June 20, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
    • bthumble

      it must be a slow day over at the FOX troll academy . . lol

      June 20, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
  49. OldSchool Banking

    Hey based on my own personal experience... the school system is a joke. A JOKE A JOKE A JOKE. More classes just means more time for stupid teachers to teach kids how to be stupid. Fix the school system and this country might become incredible right now though, just like the justice system., and economy system... it is broken. A few kids benefit from the current one but i talk to too many 4.0 students that are complete morons to make me believe the school system works. Hell get the kids back on the farm so they can waste their own food.

    June 20, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
    • Hadenuffyet

      Ever notice how GPA's and common sense are inversely proportional.

      June 20, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
  50. Don

    I am just glad I grew up in the 60's. There is more to life than working, working, working... The summers were a time to re-charge and socialize with friends... and I and my friends did just fine...most going to college, getting Masters or Doctorate degrees and successful careers. Just saying.

    June 20, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
    • nomad

      I agree completely. Summers as a kid are some of the great memories, and also some of the best life lessons. I want my kid to have that.

      June 20, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
  51. Dudette

    My kids go to a year round school and have since Kindergarten. Basically you go 9 weeks and have 3 weeks off – one stretch is a little longer, but you get the cycle. We have loved it for a few different reasons and my kids know nothing else, so they are completely fine with it. It is nice to go to popular vacation sites like Disney on off peak times. It can work and kids adjust....they get the full "summer time" off – just not in long stretch. They say it does help with retention, but quite honestly, I can't remember back then to compare my experience with theirs as far as retention goes. So far we have great teachers for our twins. I get a little sick of people saying that our low scores in school all come back to teachers. Are there bad teachers out there? Of course there are...there are bad people in business too. But so far, I have seen far more good teachers than bad. More and more I think a lot of our issues come down to a.) the curriculum needs to be corrected, and b.) parent involvement. I am amazed when my 10 year old tells me how many kids never do their homework. Why not – where are these parents and why don't they make them? My kids hate homework and complain about it but I still make them do it and tell them that school and homework are their job right now – just like I have a job, so do they.

    June 20, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
    • David Broadbent

      Dudette, you make a lot of sense. As my mother used to say, "where are the parents?" You make a lot of good points. Thank you for bringing thoughtfulness into the postings.

      June 20, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
    • boyamidumb

      You make learning a JOB????

      You need to think again. Learning is FUN. Learning is amazing. Learning happens every minute of every day. If you don't see that, if you don't let your children see that, you are cheating them out of a valuable part of life.

      June 20, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
      • Dudette

        They do like learning – just like I like my job, but who really likes homework after working in school all day? I really don't enjoy when I have to be up until midnight to get something done for work.....

        June 20, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
    • jhart13

      Dudette, I concur with your assessments. Although my children have the traditional 2 months off for summer, I would not mind having a system where they go for 9 weeks, then 3 weeks off, or something similar. As you say, this would help us take advantage of discounted times for visiting places such Disney, etc., reduce the knowledge drain, and keep them energized for learning.
      I agree, too, about the scapegoating of teachers for all the ills of our educational outcomes. I switched schools 13 times in 13 years of k-12 schooling, and I had a lot of teachers during that time. Some were really bad, but most were good, and a few were outstanding. My parents used to ask why I got a B if I came home with a B rather than an A, and a C was really unacceptable. Ultimately, particularly once I reached a certain age, it was on me to either do well or not do well. Accountability for outcomes on the students would not be amiss.

      I'm afraid that we are losing some of best teachers now due to the riduculous expectations and constant berating of them. The good ones don't have to take this kind cr**, they can use their skills elsewhere, with less pressure, and probably more pay, benefits and respect.

      June 20, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
  52. Nevada President

    Forget it. Achieving kids are already studying until midnight when they get in highs school. Parents never get to see them. And then extra activities like sports and marching band, and there is precious little down time for kids to connect with their parents!
    We excel as adults because of the freedoms we experience (Dougal, Johnson, et.al. 2011) as kids. Just get the government BS out of the way and we will continue to excel as adults.

    June 20, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
  53. Don F.

    When I had kids in public school fad was do away with recess as a waste of time. At the same time came the big push to medicate kids to keep them focused and reduce their energy levels and distractability. Now it will be Ritalin for distraction, zoloft for depression, and prozac for irritability.

    Vacations are actually a way to train students retention ability lest the loose everything they have learned when the leave school for the last time at high/techinical school or college graduation. Seriously, if the supposed loss of knowledge/skill was so severe, we would all turn into the intellectual equivalent of kindergartners within 5 years of graduation.

    Personally I favor a 45/15 plan in which 1/3 of the student body is on vacation at any one time, but I am afraid that the teaching staff would be bonkers with the resulting chaos.

    June 20, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
  54. Scott Pilgrim

    It's easy for all of us as adults to say "Yeah, sure, let's extend the school year." Why? Because we know it doesn't change our lives at all. Think of how furious you would be as a kid or adolescent and suddenly summer break was cut from 2.5 months to 1.

    June 20, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
    • Doug

      Why is that important? Children groan on a whole host of things they dislike. Who is running the household?

      June 20, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
  55. Hadenuffyet

    Farming wasn't a spring/fall thing back then , it was all season. Hay to put up , wheat to bring in , cultivation to maintain. This author really doesn't know what it took to run a farm in the pre-mechanized agricultural times. Granted times have changed but largely within the past 70-80 years. The education system is a carry over from those times and nobody has bothered to try to change it.
    But now, I agree , year round schooling makes perfect sense.

    June 20, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
    • NCFarm

      I agree with several individuals re: farming not being a summer event – obviously the author's missed the concepts of crops to maintain, animals to feed, etc, etc. Farm work only lessens in the winter, when work focuses on repair of equipment, and planning for spring planting. So we, my siblings and I were needed during the summer to help on the farm, now it was not all work, there were play times as well.

      June 20, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
  56. Alaska

    Because my family and I live in Alaska, having the summer months off from school is really important. Especially for people who may not be particularly active in the winter time, which we had snow from October to April, the summer months mean a lot to us in the north. On the other hand, as a parent who sometimes has to shell out big $$$ for summer programs and full-time daycare to occupy the kid's time and energy when we're not out camping or fishing and I'm at work (I know my job would really frown on me being away from my job for the entire summer), so from a personal financial standpoint, it would be nice to have year-round school with a couple 2 or three week breaks thrown in there.

    June 20, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
  57. Jerk

    To quote Jim Lahey: "When you plant $#!+ seeds, you get $#!+ weeds." It all goes back to the parents. If you're tagging along to the shop with mom or dad and doing work over the summer, you see what life is about. If you're sitting at grandma's playing video games, you slide on back. If mom and dad are reading and applying themselves, you learn to do the same. If mom and dad are drinking beer and watching TV, you turn into a joke too. Schools can't overcome a mediocre (or worse) home life. All a school can do is serve up information, it's up to the parents to make it relevant and to provide positive examples. Apples don't fall far and all those other cliches.

    June 20, 2012 at 1:15 pm |
    • Schmuck

      I agree with the Jerk

      June 20, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
  58. Oleg

    Let's not kid ourselves, it's purely a school funding issue. In most households, both parents work and do not have two months of vacation. So children will be in some kind of day camp or childcare, just at parents' rather than taxpayer expense.

    June 20, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
    • GvilleT

      Oleg...this working (40 hour/week; plus 3 hours/week as adjunct; plus my husband works 40 hours/week) parent is the taxpayer. Just who do you think the taxpayers are? The rich? Ha Ha Ha

      June 20, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
  59. B

    Summer vacation is when I got some real learning and life experience in. During the day, I'd do the regular outdoor stuff like playing baseball, hiking, fishing, swimming, etc. Through the night, I spent countless hours playing Nintendo games, trying figure out every little trick and secret, or I would play around on my computer; exercising brain type work. That stuff worked out well for me and my career. And then those dreaded school days returned that which, for me, seem to be more a mind-closing and dull experience. I just made the best of it. Grade school was essential, but I don't think high school did much for me for who I am today. Actually, the experience was probably more negative, for myself.

    June 20, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
    • Ryan

      I agree...High School was a waste. It's just babysitting for teenagers. I think instead of getting rid of summer vacation for kids, we need to change what kids learn and when first. Then once we get that fixed then we can concentrate on giving students the proper education. Get rid of sports as a focus in our education system. We need to give less to sports programs and more money to science and arts. If someone wants to learn team work then put together a team to build a robot or design a scientific experiment. Or you can participate in sports outside of school

      June 20, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
      • Hadenuffyet

        That was the basis of Babe Ruth baseball. No school tie whatsoever.

        June 20, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
  60. Yep

    This is the 21st century, and life is work and work is life. Leisure and luxury are 20th century concepts. Within a decade, anyone who is not independently wealthy will be working a minimum of 14 hours a day, seven days a week. We all know education is for snobs, so let's put the kids back to work in the factories so they can learn about real 21st century life and do something productive.

    June 20, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
  61. jesse

    you need summer vacation, it's something to look forward to. how horrible school would have been if i knew it would continue all year round for 18 years at minimum! that would suck! i'm an adult and i even take summers off from work! i love summer and life is about enjoying it, not just being smarter. school doesn't even make you smarter. i think other than for the first few years of learning the basics students should be learning more specific specialized skills that can actually be useful later on. it's all about money though and if this country got smart we'd make a bunch of fat rich pigs a little less rich and they'd start whining.

    June 20, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
  62. Mathew

    I have a few friends that are teachers, I cannot beleive how much they complain about how long they work, um..excuse me you get 6-8 weeks off in the summer with pay to loaf around, then you get an addition 6 weeks off during the year, with pay to loaf around some more. Then if you take the no pay option in the summer, you get to collect unemployment, loaf around and go on vacation. Sorry this is why our education system is broken, many (not all) teachers are just as lazy and go into teaching because of the benefits of time off, and pay, I might add they all make about 60k per year which isn't bad. So heck maybe I went into the wrong field, I have to work all year and lucky if I get two weeks off. Time for year round school.

    June 20, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
    • Carla

      Teachers DO NOT get paid for all of that time off! Do your homework. Summer break is without pay. A teacher may choose to get paychecks throughout the summer by getting smaller paychecks throughout the entire year. In your job, are you required to spend your own money on your office supplies? Plus teachers are required to take classes over the course of their careers. Get over it regarding the pay of teachers. Generally, it's not great for the amount of training and education and RESPONSIBILITY.

      June 20, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
      • anon

        THAT explains why they seem to ask for so much when parents get the supply lists for that year. I thought they DID get paid for the summer, and only had about a month off for summer vacation before they had to begin preparing for the next class. I admire ANYONE who is willing to put up with someone else's nasty little brats and not be allowed to take a switch to their a$$es.
        Summer vacation is a good thing around my house because that's when the most work needs to be done. Sure springtime is for planting, and some harvesting gets done in the fall, but the bulk of work for a garden happens right in the middle of summer. It's convenient for me because I can put my kids to work mowing lawsn and weeding the gardens. I guess city kids don't benefit from it unless they are ambitious and want to use that time to find work and make money.

        June 20, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
      • Melanie

        Yes actually I am required to buy my own office supplies. Of the 14 years I have worked in the IT industry, I have only had one 10 month contract that gave us office supplies. Despite that, I still think teaching is a hard job and I wouldn't want it even if the office supplies were free. 🙂

        June 20, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
    • Moelips

      This is just to give those of you who think that teachers have it good. I am not a teacher, just a parent. So there is no bias here.
      Typical teacher salary is about 60K a year.
      The number of working days in one year is about 180 (give or take 5%)
      That works out to be about $333/day or about $55 in one hour
      The $55/hr. does not include after school hours (another 1-1.5 hrs.) and work taken home to grade and prepare for the next day’s lessons.
      Split that hour into 30 kids per classroom. That’s about $1.85 per kid in 1 hours’ worth of class time instruction (math, sciences, history, etc.)
      Now, anyone that has had children knows that daycare would cost about $250 to $300 a week. This is just to watch your children…no educational instruction. That works out to be $6.25/hr.
      These people that go into teaching obviously don’t do it just for the money. For those of you that claim your children mean the world to you….you’re entrusting teachers to mold your children, or at least baby sit them, for $1.85 a kid per hour is a bad deal…….your children aren’t as important to you as you think.
      Teachers should get the respect they deserve for at least babysitting your children so that you can go to your jobs. So, if you don’t think teachers deserve what they should be getting….have your kids go to daycare and see how far they get in the world.

      June 20, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
    • Shane

      Shut the F up you old cranky snob. Simple as that. There's more to life than work. We as kids had our turns to enjoy life a bit instead of rushing into the crappy adult life. Let the next generations enjoy it as well.

      June 20, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
      • Hadenuffyet

        Your xbox is calling...

        June 20, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
      • Moelips

        I'll give Shane the benefit of being young and naive. Remember, kid, I was your age at one time (and not too long ago) and F'd around a bunch too. But that's no reason not to be smart about preparing for the rest of your life. I sincerely hope you get that out of your system and prepare yourself for life when you finally head out on your own...looking back, I kinda wished I pulled my act together sooner.

        June 20, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
    • ChrisInCT

      So, Matthew, you'd like an entire nation of children to give up their summer vacations because you resent your teacher friends' time off. How noble, thoughtful, and forward-looking. But who could blame you? 60K! Why, in today's dollars, that's almost $60,000! (Matt, have one of your teacher friends work that math out for you). And for what? For trying to educate the poorly-parented, the troubled, the abused, the learning-disabled with fewer tools and more demanding and unproductive mandates than ever before? It's a crime.
      And by the way, they do not collect unemployment benefits for electing to not collect pay across a 12-month period. Get your facts straight before you start ranting in a public forum, and exposing your lack of education.

      June 20, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
    • Todd

      As a college professor who has worked a "straight job" in the past I can guarentee you that most straight jobs have it easier work hour wise than most teaching jobs. At the college level (and to a degree at the K-12 level) you don't get summers "off". In fact (K-12 and college) you never get time "off". There is pressure on me to be working 24/7/365. Now don't get me wrong, the academic schedule has perks. I'm more in control of my time. If I want to be off at 2 in the afternoon to go to something for my kid, I can choose to do so (working extra late that night). If I need more than a 2 week vacation I can do it.......but whoa am I busy (as in not even a single weekend day off) the rest of summer, and probably still behind the following summer. I'm not saying teachers have it worse, but I am saying that the grass always seems greener. Try walking on both sides before you shoot your mouth off.

      Meanwhile, if K-12 teachers DID have it better off (oh that they did), would that be a horrendous thing? Don't we want to attract the best and the brightest to teach our kids?

      June 20, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
      • boyamidumb

        So?

        June 20, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
      • GvilleT

        Todd...sure but at what expense? It isn't working now yet my kids lose some of their 9 month education during the 3 months they're off. I'm not willing to sacrifice my kids education so the teacher gets more consecutive time off.

        June 20, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
    • Newt

      Sorry Mathew, either you really don't have any friends that are teachers or you never took the time to talk to them and understand what their job entails. Your opinion is typical of the classic ignorant kid who attended school more because of needing to be babysat rather than learning. I have an older brother that teaches high school Physics and I have watched for years the amount of work he puts into teaching that is not at the school (although his hours at the school far exceeds the student hours). At home on weekdays and weekends, he is always working on grading/reviewing papers or preparing lesson plans. During his "goof off" time during the summer, he is working lesson plans for the upcoming year or developing experiments. My job requires quite a bit of overtime but my view is that he works more hours in a year than I do (even with what you think are "goof off" periods) and he does not get paid overtime. And I don't have deal with any clueless annoying students on a daily basis (which you probably were).

      June 20, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
    • Kat

      You are a joke Mathew. "Loaf around"? Seriously? Do us teachers a favor and home school your offspring. Nobody wants to work with a parent who is under the false assumption that our jobs are jokes.

      June 20, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
    • chimei01

      Matthew – i will agree that there are some lazy teachers, but i work seven days a week, often putting in 10-12 hr days. my parents had regular 9-5 jobs all year, with the 2-4 weeks of vacation allotted – but their days were always 8 hrs. i put in that amount of time in the 10 months i work "in school" and "before and after school".

      this year, i spent almost $800 of my own money buying books and supplies so that i could give my students an engaging experience in my classes. my parents never had to buy the things they needed to do their jobs.

      it's insulting to make the statement that teachers are collecting unemployment and traveling on taxpayers' money during the summer. we aren't. and if we are traveling, it's out of our own pocket...which is getting more and more empty as budget cuts occur.

      June 20, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
      • Joe Bob

        complaining about your choice of professions is stupid.

        June 20, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
    • Yep

      Education is for snobs! Bring back the salt mines and put the masses to work in them until they learn to respect their betters in the upper classes.

      June 20, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
      • Moelips

        Yep, I wasn't sure if you were serious or just sarcastic. after reading your second post, I realized that you must be sarcastic. Pretty funny.

        June 20, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
  63. JohnnyC

    As a practical matter, very few schools in New England are air conditioned, and therefore unsuitable for a summer session. (New England summers are hot and humid, and the school buildings become a sauna). No town or city would be capable of financially supporting the cost to retrofit the schools with AC and sustain the overwhelming energy costs. Perhaps newly constructed schools can be designed around AC and summer use, but it would take years to phase-in all these new buildings.

    June 20, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
    • FreeReally

      Nice try, I grew up in Phoenix when school ran from Labor Day thru Memorial Day. Temps were over 100 every day through October and started up again in March. No AC in class rooms, we played outdoors at recess, class hours were much longer than my kids attend now, 7:30 to 3:30. Open the windows and get over it. Kids need more class time with actual teachers teaching, not just wasting their time. Many children are in day care from 6/7AM to 5/6PM around the school schedule, get rid of day care and increase school hours of instruction.

      June 20, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
    • ncsteve

      I find it interesting to compare my school days in un-air-conditioned suburban parochial schools in GA to what my kids have "endured" here in public schools in NC. Most homes in the South didn't have air-conditioning when I was growing up in the 60's, so we didn't know we were suffering at school. There weren't any fat kids to speak of, either, as we played hard outside all year.
      My kids have always had air-conditioned classrooms, although some schools in our county were only recently retrofitted. Unfortunately, they rarely got the State-prescribed PE time due to the administrations' obsession with testing, and how little faith they had in the curriculum to prepare kids for them. Kids are certainly taking more advanced coursework, at any given grade level, then we did, but I wonder if they are any smarter for it.
      As for New England schools being unable to afford retrofitting A/C, that's a lame excuse. Many NC school district have managed to do it, in spite of our unofficial motto: "First in Pavement, Last in Education".
      The 180 day school year, however, is a cruel joke nowadays. These kids take End of Grade tests in early May, and don't get any real instruction after that until school is out around June 10. They also have non-instrutional test days for "Benchmarks" that don't count toward their grade, and they get no instruction on re-test days at the end of the year when the kids who failed EOG's get another chance to avoid summer school. We wouldn't want them to feel any pressure, or be scarred by failure! Sometimes holding a kid back a year is the best that that can happen to them, and their parents!

      June 20, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
  64. Andy Cleven

    I have lived in Europe for about 13 years and have seen the numerous, shorter breaks throughout the year that the students typically get over here. They still receive about six weeks in the summer and two weeks for Easter and Christmas. This provides ample opportunity for families to plan vacations and still prevent an "de-learning" period of time. I support a system that is more tailored to this example.

    June 20, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
    • pockets

      Its time to end this 'summer vacation' and let the kids in America catch up with the rest of the world. The USA has fallen behind in math and the science's, they are falling behind as a Nation. No longer leaders. Education is the key to basically everything. Without out it, your ignorant.

      June 20, 2012 at 1:15 pm |
      • Historian

        *you're

        June 20, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
  65. Quinsha

    Polio was more rampant in the summer. I wonder if this could have had an affect on students being out of school during the summer.

    June 20, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
  66. Former Teacher

    People! It's not like they'd be in school 24/7 – 365! They'd still have roughly 3 months off during the year. Just spread out! There is still plenty of time for them to be kids. Parents just need to get their priorities in order, lest we fall further behind the rest of the world, and fall deeper into debt as a country as more production of goods and services shift elsewhere.

    June 20, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
    • Sheelasub

      Very well said!

      June 20, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
    • GvilleT

      Yes, yes, yes. 3 consecutive months off is just too much any way you look at it. There's no way to rationalize it.

      June 20, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
    • clem

      Gi see the world, then tell me we are behind everyone else

      June 20, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
  67. Claude

    Growing up on a farm in the south, we planted early spring and started harvesting by June. I always ended up working my tail off all summer.

    June 20, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
    • ncsteve

      Harvesting what, in June?

      June 20, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
  68. tRAVIS

    I am going out on a limb and stating that the author didnt grow up on a farm or in a farming family. For anyone that knows better, yes, spring and fall are planting and harvesting, typically requiring 12 hour work days, but its not like you plant it and let it sit for the summer. There are a lot of other things to do including monitoring, irrigating, spraying, etc. Let's not forget that summer is outdoor project time. If everyone realizes that the same theory holds true for projects in that people who live in summer/winter (real winter snow, etc) areas do projects in summer, the same things holds for farming, except projects are much larger and take more time.

    June 20, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
    • ncsteve

      And there's more daylight to get that work done. In the Cotton South, chopping (weeding) cotton was done all summer, until the end of July. By then, the cotton plants shaded out the weeds, and they had "Laying By Time", waiting for the harvest (and praying for rain). That's why our family reunion was traditionally held the first Sunday in August, to celebrate the end of field work until October.

      June 20, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
  69. Nonsense

    All this junk about letting kids be kids is just nonsense. This isnt the 60's and 70's. There is no time to cater to kids these days. Families are working more and harder just to keep congress in their neat tailored suits so they can look good at the shareholder meetings.
    Kids arent useful today. The thought of procreating because you are in love is just stupid. Face it, you have no fields to require 10 kids to work on. It costs $200K plus to raise a kid to age 18-20 and then there is college which he probably wont complete anyway because there is no need for another failed musician in this country and if they want to be an engineer, they will probably flunk out anyway because nobody knows anything in this country anymore.
    The world is dying around us and all we think about is the kids. Its all for nothing if that is your concern these days.

    June 20, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
    • Cynthia

      Where would you be if your parents felt the same way? I quess you don't have children?

      June 20, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
      • Nonsense

        i was born in a much better age for a kid.

        June 20, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
    • stellar

      I'm a "kid" who is in college for engineering, and I'm not failing. In fact, at age 16, I was working for NASA and had a college degree before graduating high school. And if people don't have kids, who is going to work and keep industry alive as people grow old and die? There has to be kids to grow up and take over for the next generation.

      June 20, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
      • Nonsense

        What industry (American industry) are you referring to exacly? The only industry gigs in this country are brought BACK to america from other countries. Write your congressman and president and thank them and the last 3 administrations for all that.

        June 20, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
    • Tough luck

      I left college and now work as an engineer for a Fortune 200 company...

      June 20, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
      • Nonsense

        yeah – me too...

        June 20, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
    • Jay

      Nonsense: Gee, I though I was a pessimist. Perhaps you might look into some therapy. Or are you just having an unusually pessimistic day?

      June 20, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
  70. jmcondreay

    The best way to prevent brain dumping by students is actually having parents check in and keep them working through the summer. Make your kid read a book each day, or write sentences 2-3 times a week. My son is going into 2nd grade, and we have him learning his multiplication tables this summer. Force them to use their creativity and get them off the XBox, PS3 and Wii. Get outside and explore! Imagine not only what the kid will learn and retain, but what the parents will as well.

    June 20, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
    • GvilleT

      Give me the paid time off and I gladly will.

      June 20, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
  71. Dan

    My youngest daughter just graduated from high school. Our education system is completely broken. Short of a complete shut-down and total reorganization of the system I only see it getting worse. Having the kids stay in that system several more months per year is not the answer. In fact I see it as detrimental.

    June 20, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
  72. Joe Mama

    Dr. Terry Stoops is spot on.

    June 20, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
  73. TERRY

    Our kids need more break + better education. They are SO busy...what is childhood?!

    June 20, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
    • latuya83

      "What is childhood?" A kid from India or China studying all year around and taking your kids lunch when they grow up, we are in a global economy and the rest of the world isn't pampering or worry about little johnny and his childhood, plus kids finish school at 2:40pm they have the rest of the day to be kids and get their school work done.

      June 20, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
  74. GvilleT

    Yes, we must protect little Johnny from the real world as much as we can. The youth of America just keep getting lazier, fatter and expectant. I'm not a teacher, so I don't have summers off. I don't bend over backwards to make sure they're entertained the entire summer. I try to make sure they realize that in the real world...you don't have summers off. We go on a family vacation and they each attend a couple of week long camps. By August, they're ready to go back.

    June 20, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
    • yeahalright

      Because they're KIDS. And by the way there's no 2 weeks of summer camp and another of vacation for most of the "real world" either, so spare your high and mighty faux "get tough with em this isn't the real world" spiel.

      June 20, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
  75. KO

    Regardless of the school schedule and the economic demographic of the family, the kids only get out of the experience what the kids and their family put into it. Kids that have involved parents, either in school as volunteers or at home after work, do better work, receive higher grades and are better adjusted. Kids that don't have that advantage struggle. Some still succeed but others fail in dramatic ways. This hasn't changed in a hundred years, and I would suspect that the % of overall students that struggle would be comparable to 50 years ago. It isn't the curiculum, the teachers, or the weather. It is the family.

    June 20, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
    • Just Starting

      I have to agree. My Girls are just starting school and everyone says how smart they are but truth be told they didn't just "get smart". Between my wife, sister in law,mother in law, and myself we have many, many hours reading with them teaching math, etc. I guess if you wish to have brilliant or "smart" children, you need to start at home. Too many people are expecting the system to do everything for their children and complain when they are not at the top of the class.

      June 20, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
  76. AJ

    I'll agree with President Obama insofar as we need to rethink the way we educate our children. Longer and more numerous school days is, however, not the answer. We need to radically break away from traditional thinking. Using the technology we current have and / or will have in the near future, we need to craft the learning process to the individual student. Encourage their natural inclinations toward, for example, science or music, while still providing them with a well-rounded general education. We also need to remember that children are CHILDREN and not miniature adults. We forget that fact far too often. Who of us hasn't heard a parent exclaim "act your age" to a young child throwing a tantrum and thought "But, aren't they?" The school year of our future must be a blend of peer-interaction, 1-on-1 (or close to that) targeted instruction, more flexible school calender (vacation and sick days without penalty), and time for the child to be a child.

    June 20, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
    • craisch

      How about using technology to allow children to learn and keep costs down? I have my kids do a summer program where they review the reading and math that they have learned from the previous year and do the work on their own time. It's called GRASP. We take a vacation when we want. They work on it when they want as long as goals are met, i.e. get a packet of work done per week per subject. I wish the school system would extend these kind of programs so they could perhaps be done online and more challenging, but it has to be done without a teacher. That would requires school to use creative teaching methods!

      June 20, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
    • mr

      well said

      June 20, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
    • ProudUSMCVet

      I think you have the right idea but are being way to lenient with your thoughts. I have children with one in high school and one in college. I believe in letting a child be a child but at the same time, that should not be an excuse to allow them the opportunity to have so much free time. Facts are that there is quite a bit of difference in the amount of child issues with law enforcement in the summer when children have so much extra time versus the amount of activity when school is in session.

      Another point I would like to make is that it really isn't that far back in our history where 15 and 16 year old boys and girls were getting married, having children and supporting themselves so growing up to function in society was acceptable. I do not believe we should be quite that archaic but we have young adults ranging from 18 – 20 who still believe the DESERVE time off and they have the RIGHT to do as they wish without remorse or consequence.

      Children need to be taught the meaning of hard work which brings reward, discipline which allows for success and respect which leads to satisfaction by their parents. That is the problem we face. We as parents do not take the time anymore to teach our children and want the government to do it for us instead of doing it themselves. And a argument of making a living is an excuse. My wife has not worked since we had children and I am not overly educated by any means, (only a Associates Degree). We made due with what we had and struggled for many years so she could be at home with our children and the rewards eventually paid off.

      I am very proud of my children and their drive to succeed but my wife and I gave them that desire. We took the time to keep our children engaged to use their minds when not in school and to stay off of the couch to maintain health and fitness. Point refuted.

      June 20, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
  77. Farmer Boy

    Have you ever farmed? I'm seriously doubting it. I, however, have. Summer is NOT a slow time when children of farmers could ideally be in school. Winter, however, is.

    June 20, 2012 at 12:41 pm |
    • Classy J1zz

      My only question is this:
      Do you watch your sister bend over when she slops the pigs?

      June 20, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
  78. Dan

    Kid's are not adults. Neither are they slaves to be trained year-round so that they can be productive cogs in the machine. Also, the public school system is in deep financial trouble. How do you expect to pay for several more months each year of school? Having the time off from school in the summer to do the myriad of things that make childhood special is what they all deserve to have. The things I did and what I learned during summer vacation were worth more than I can begin to calculate. Back off. Getting "ahead" in life is not what it's cracked up to be.

    June 20, 2012 at 12:40 pm |
  79. Kid Rick

    When the heck else would us kids be able to bang around under the boardwalk with tight unbroken babes? and fumble around too much....and get her pregnant...after only banging for 22 seconds...and not knowing what would happen if you didnt pull out....Ahh yes, the good ol days

    June 20, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
  80. Toto

    Some parents would be happy to have their kids go to school all year long because they absolutely don't know what to do with them. How many times have I heard parents dreading the end of school year?

    June 20, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
  81. Maggie

    I wish everyone could have summers off. Granted there would be no grocery store workers or wait staff at places to eat, but maybe we would all stop being so burned out all the time. I want to pull my hair out by summertime and wished I had more time to enjoy it!!

    June 20, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
  82. Sheelasub

    America is the only country that practices summer breaks. Look at where the US is in terms of education. Compare it to the education systems and school breaks practiced in other countries and you will find that the kids do a lot better in school then kids in the US. I understand the need for a child to be a child and have fun. Spreading vacation breaks throughout the year is not going to take that freedom away and neither is it going to stress children from having to attend school most of the year. Besides, how many employees get to take long vacation breaks during the summer. And parents are also having a tough time finding childcare throughout summer. What makes it worse, childcare and summer camps during summer months are ridiculously expansive! So spreading vacation breaks throughout the school year will be a welcome change.

    June 20, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
    • Jock For Sale

      umm...Europe shuts down for half a day every day...just to drink and eat

      June 20, 2012 at 12:40 pm |
    • Vickie

      The U.S. isn't the only country to practice summer breaks. Many other countries do, just not for as long. Students in the U.K., for example, have 6 weeks off during the summer.

      June 20, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
    • andrea man

      America is the only country that practices summer breaks? What a poor knowledge or other country's education systems. Many countries have longer summer breaks and kids are more educated that in US

      June 20, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
  83. Sara

    Even if schools went to year-round chances are they would not increase teachers' pay accordingly. In the past few years pay has not only been cut, but paid teacher work days have been cut. Teachers don't have less to grade or prepare for, in fact they often have more as schools cut teachers resulting in larger classrooms, so they essentially have to do the same, or more, work without commesurate pay. Until schools get back on their feet financially in a way that allows teachers to receive the compensation they deserve, spending more money by extending the school year is ridiculous. Use that money to compensate faculty well and you will attract the best teachers, who will have a more significant positive impact on our students.

    June 20, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
    • Jock For Sale

      Technically, teachers would make less and work more since their yearly pay would be for 12 months of work and not 9.5 so that would stink for them...especially with having to deal with the little jerk-lings of today

      June 20, 2012 at 12:41 pm |
      • Kevin

        Teachers are paid for the days they work. Each day added is another day of pay. Educating these kids should be the highest priority. Education is the way out of almost any problem.

        June 20, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
  84. GvilleT

    Stoops is ignorant himself. It's people like this that will keep our education level at an all time low. There's nothing wrong with a summer break, but when you use that education and add up the days, going to school only 180 days makes your summer longer than 2 months. My kids have 3 months off for summer and it's just too much time. They lose some of what they learned the year before and I make them do worksheets and reading over the summer. Most parents don't. I'm fine with 180 days of school, but I would rather see the days out of school spread out a little more. An eight week summer (no more) is plenty of time off and they would retain information better.

    June 20, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
    • jimdog33

      Ouch... 2 wks off? Guess you prefer the kids at school more than home....

      June 20, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
      • GvilleT

        I said two months, not two weeks.

        June 20, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
  85. Thomas

    i think everyone missed the most glaring item in this story - a kid in that picture is diving from a 3 meter board with a mask on. bad idea! face injuries for sure!

    June 20, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
    • Jay

      That photo is from the SAR Tech class.

      June 20, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
  86. Bruce

    Most kids are bored beyond belief by the third week of summer vacation.
    Year round schooling with interspersed week vacations during the year and the month of August off (European model for business) would be the optimum solution.
    Children need to remain intellectually engaged, it stimulates their emotional growth. and yes, play and socialization are critical to that growth. The primary source of productive socialization is the school environment (not he "hood").
    It is affordable, it just needs to be amortized over time. The teachers union will howl of course, but they have always been part of the problem not the solution. They are our children and we should take the responsibility for their well being.

    June 20, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
  87. kidkopf

    I believe that regular breaks from school are great for kids and families. BUT, I do think the summer holiday is too long to be beneficial for learning over the long run. I have friends who live in the U.K. and their school terms and holidays seem ideal. They only have 15 more total days of school that the U.S (195 v. 180) but they spread the breaks out throughout the year, with the longest one (6 weeks) in the summer. They have a week off in the middle of each of their 3 terms, then 3 weeks at Christmas and 2 weeks at Easter, plus the occasional bank holiday for long weekends. I really think the U.S. should consider such a model!

    June 20, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
    • GvilleT

      That sounds perfect.

      June 20, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
    • Classy J1zz

      They know how to live in Europe for sure

      June 20, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
  88. Thomas

    if the problem with kids from low income families is that they are not engaged in productive activities during the summer, then let's address that problem - and not consider that a longer school year is the answer. it doesn't cost a lot of money to find productive things to do during the summer. it takes a little creativity and some planning.

    June 20, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
  89. Burbank

    I was born in Burbank (that's why the screen name) in 1950 when most schools did not have air conditioning. In SoCal September is often the hottest month and with no air conditioning in my 1950's era grade school classrooms, it made it very difficult to stop fidgeting and focus enough to learn anything. This article makes a lot of sense. I agree also that people need time off to just play. Our society is too work focused sometimes. Life and people's health in general is better if things are kept in balance.

    June 20, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
  90. Rev.Christie Bliss Ley

    Having had learning difficulties, I would say a shorter summer vacations might have helped to keep my brain engaged.I struggled to get myself back in gear after three months of doing nothing that was mentally challenging.
    Before the end of summer, a lot of parents and students I've known are looking forward to the end of vacation.

    June 20, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
    • clem

      That's what summer school is for.

      June 20, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
  91. MYP

    School may be out but community education centers make sure that learning continues. We work with students and parents to create summer programs that build on academic skill sets thru enrichment activities that are fundmental to learning, fun, and family-friendly.

    June 20, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
    • Josh

      Is that like free childcare, or do I have to skip work and go with my child?

      June 20, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
  92. anony

    Kids today hmph, need more schooling and education for the ignorance thats spreading around. I'm going to send a letter to congress demanding that Summer be now used for education purposes and this will also decrease crime rates and bullying. YOU WATCH

    June 20, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
    • Rock

      Congress wont be available – they're all out at the Mercedes dealerships counting the middle classes money.

      June 20, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
  93. carlyjane6

    http://www.Hear-The-Truth.com

    June 20, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
  94. Samuel R. Preston, III

    K through 6th grade, yes - have summers off. High school should be all year long, and more like college scheduling not a 8am to 3pm full day. High schools should totally redo their curriculum and mode of teaching, too. Kids should begin specializing much earlier than when they hit college. If a 15 year old kid has a predisposition to math & engineering then why not let him "major" on that in H.S.? I was building my own computers (I'm talking soldering iron and wire-wrapping) when I was that age, and it was pure torture sitting through four years of English, History, "home economics", Health, etc. Thank God my H.S. had "electronics shop", otherwise I probably would have dropped out of school.

    June 20, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
    • Adam

      agreed

      June 20, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
    • Dirk Dank

      School all year-??? But then no-one would want to be a teacher. That is the benefit of becoming a teacher. A few months away from those nasty, disrespectful children of today’s ME society. Besides, then possibly our kids would become as smart as the over seas kids and who would want that.

      June 20, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
    • Nic

      Completely Agree!

      June 20, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
    • b2ccatcher

      You express your point eloquently. Perhaps those english classes paid off after all.

      June 20, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
    • Josh

      With college-like scheduling, HS students could work part-time year round, like college students can. This makes sense economically, compared to a glut of cheap labor available for 2.5 months every summer.

      June 20, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
    • Elizabeth

      That makes sense, Samuel. That could go a long way towards alleviating problems with dropping out (although I'd have been in English, Choir, and History all day and know nothing about algebra).

      June 20, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
  95. Dionysus86

    I frankly don't care how or why it originated. Having summers off is important because it lets kids be kids. They'll have the rest of their lives to work around the clock all year.

    June 20, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
    • The Truth

      Yes, kids need time off to be kids. You learn mental skills and knowledge in school. During summer vacation children learn life.

      June 20, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
  96. Dave

    Screw it, everyone should get a summer vacation.

    June 20, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
    • weiland

      Dave- You are wise beyond your years. The average employee in the U.S. works longer hours, for less pay, and MUCH less time off than any other developed country.

      June 20, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
  97. Adam

    Pretty soon, our kids are going to be so stupid that we will have to make them go to school all year long. So it really doesn't matter that little Johnny has headache... WAAAAA!

    June 20, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
  98. Jonathan

    It's too bad this article did not speak to the all-too-apparent lack of vacation/time to self offered by the typical American employer. Time away from work or school is important for development and mental health and for family and social relations. The word "relaxation" carries too much of a stigma in America as being close to 'laziness'. The benefits of time away from work and school can in fact work toward creating a healthier individual, and resultantly a more productive, and active student or employee. Quite the opposite of 'inactive' or 'lazy', if you examine it from the long term.

    June 20, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
    • Dave

      I don't think you could be more correct. American's are overworked and in this economy employers take advantage of the poor job market. If you're not willing to work yourself to death, there's no shortage of people who are.

      June 20, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
    • Burbank

      I agree, in fact I think the standard work day should only be 6 hours. Studies have shown that after 6 hours a person's efficiency and productivity goes down. I have even noticed that within myself. After 6 hours I am getting tired and try to save the "idiot work" for the last 2 hours of my day so I can be more productive overall.

      June 20, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
  99. KC

    You obviously have never lived or worked on a farm. Summer is a Very busy time of year. You can not simply plant the feilds and ignore them until harvest!!! A farm/ranch is non-stop busy from early Spring until late Fall. Get your facts straight!!

    June 20, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
    • Thomas

      the point is still the same - the farm work rationale for explaining the origins of summer vacation are false.

      June 20, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
    • DDL

      You are so correct. Obviously 98% of the population has no idea what kind of work it takes to run a farm/ranch. Fact – 2% of the population (farmers/ranchers) feed the world. It is never M-F 9-5. Teachers have no idea what that kind of work entails. They want full time pay for a part time job – working only 180 days a year. Nothing wrong with year round school. Make the teachers earn their pay.

      June 20, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
      • Louie

        You are not a farmer, otherwise you'd be bright enough to know that teachers teach farm kids to you moron. They might know a little about who they teach... Ya think???

        June 20, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
  100. dude

    Kids need time to be a kid and schooling does place too much stress on them. If I didn't have summer vacation growing up, I would have gone crazy.

    June 20, 2012 at 12:14 pm |
    • Luis Wu

      Wow, when I finished reading the article, I had exactly the same thought. Kids need to have fun while they're kids. As the saying goes – All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Absolutely true.

      June 20, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
      • GasPredictor

        But the present system, whether too much work or too much play, is making Jack a dull boy anyway.

        June 20, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
    • andrea man

      I agree, kids need more time off. I think three months would be even better. I don't see that classroom hours added to my ability to be a better educated person or to perform better in the marketplace. In fact I don't think I was prepared for life in school. Real training with real working people helped me succeed. I don't even have a college degree, yet I'm supervising office full of people with bachelor's and master's degrees and they report to me.

      June 20, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
      • Hadenuffyet

        But then , why is every other nation that implements year round schooling bypassing us academically?

        June 20, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
      • hannah

        Kids already have way too much time off. Clearly you are not a working parent.

        June 20, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
      • hannah

        You have nothing better to do with your time than stay home all summer and watch your kids?i

        June 20, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
      • Jay

        That kids need a certain amount of time off during the year doesn't seem to be in dispute. The dispute centers on the total number of days off and how long any single block should be. One month? Two? Three? The secondary issue is teaching content, but that's not the focus of this article (neither is how few days off American workers get/take).

        Advocates of a three-month summer break need to provide a basis for this claim, because studies consistently show that a two-month block (or longer) is detrimental to learning progression. Those claiming that kids shouldn't work 24/7/52 are trolling–no one here is advocating that schedule. But year-round schooling is not synonymous with slavery.

        As KO alludes, the responsibility for educating children falls to the children, teachers, parents, and society, because learning is a holistic process. For example, during prolonged breaks, parents should be engaging their children in some form of learning activity. I don't mean flash cards (does anyone still do that?), but something fun, interesting, and intellectually stimulating (look to jmcondreay and craisch for some great examples).

        The solution may or may not be less or more time in the classroom. But, as Dan mentions, without a thorough system overhaul, things won't improve. If the current system isn't broken, it's something that looks and acts a lot like broken.

        Part of being a child is aimless time, when they learn as they go. But part of being a child is learning what it takes to become a functional and productive adult (lessons taught in an age-appropriate manner, of course). Achieving this goal is not accomplished by extremes, which in the case of this article concerns classroom time.

        My belief is that a functional educational system can be had with the current resources (teachers, facilities, funding), although more funding would be benficial. How? Adopt a more appropriate curriculum and annual teaching schedule (see Andy Cleven’s comment for a workable example from Europe).

        The current American educational system was made for children but not by children. Maybe this is why the current system isn’t working for the children.

        The issue regarding teacher work load and pay is a digression to the topic of this article.

        Farmers: the farming reference was simply a segue into the classroom heat issue which was a segue into the main article. The author shouldn't have made either reference because they're both incorrect and both irrelevant.

        June 20, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
    • Burbank

      I think for just about all of us, our fondest childhood memories involve the long, lazy days of summer.

      June 20, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
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