The Greatest Struggle: Vacation VS Education This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

October 22, 2009
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Oh, the misguided, overexcited hand of government falls once again, this time on the overworked, glassy-eyed American high school student, who trudges through the school year, waiting for the moment when the fetid, festering pile of standardized tests that will determine their future can be graded, leaving them two months to recuperate before the year begins once again. A survey that I gave to my fellow classmates shows that 95% of students would prefer to keep the current school year, as opposed to joining Obama’s year round plan.

Despite this and other arguments, the fact that Indian and Chinese schools are producing more doctors and scientists than we are, causes us to lose jobs; Obama has recognized this threat to our economy, and has decided that we should have the same sort of education as China and India. He believes that by imposing a 12 month school year, we could catch up in terms of jobs, and stimulate the economy.

Even if students could be assured that a relaxed, fascinating learning environment could be established within a 12 month calendar, how would high school students participate in one of the most worthwhile, inspiring and educational experiences presently available to them: the summer internship? Whether it be an internship with a lab, or a film crew, these internships all take place over the summer break from school. Now one might say that students could take on internships all year, and that would be true, but no year-long internship can match the rate at which a student learns or the total concentration and relaxed focus the student can achieve while working in a summer internship program. Another problem facing the plan is that those kids who have to work summer jobs to support their family will have to drop out of school. As a fact, the 12 month school year intended to help America’s economic status will most likely begin to hurt our professional futures.

In a survey conducted on over 30 high school students and 30 college students, all reported that the reason they like their current schedules, is that they are able to do summer internships and programs. Another universally accepted truth amongst the participants was their disdain for the fact that if school is forced to close, then the schools will be forced to open on Saturdays or vacation days due to the lack of a longer summer break.

When I included a teacher in the survey (Mr. V., of Roslyn High School), the ideas drastically changed. When asked about the schedule, he replied “I think that the idea can be positive if an alternative curriculum, encouraging social abilities, abstract testing, and alternative subjects will be introduced.” However, his attitude changed once again when asked about the possibility of school being able to open on Saturdays or on vacation days… “I don’t mind giving up my Saturdays, but I would not break up my vacation plans. Most kids would not be in school, so it would only be beneficial to a small group. This definitely dampens my view of the proposed schedule”

Are there really any advantages to a 12 month school year? It looks like most students agree. They all scream “No!!”

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This article has 158 comments. Post your own now!

NicholasMaurer said...
Feb. 14, 2013 at 7:18 pm
What you fail to mention is that most "12-month" plans do not increase the total number of school days. The learning advantage is expected to come from the lack of a long break during which many students forget what they learned the previous year. Regarding internships, I would say that just as our culture has adapted to long summer breaks, it would adapt to year-round schooling. Shorter internships, or internships that take place over multiple breaks, would simply become the norm. ... (more »)
ClarinetPower said...
Jun. 25, 2012 at 12:45 pm
This really opens my eyes to what our world could potentially be like. Please send this to governent officials, along with a few of the superb point making comments down below!
Golfish said...
Jun. 3, 2012 at 12:05 am
We cant be china, because chinese schools except cheating, and are over competetive to the point that suicides are more likely for students there. Do some research into the life of a student liveing in china,terribly controversial. Anyways this is a very good essay.
Katierainbows said...
Apr. 20, 2012 at 11:34 pm
i have to say love it my bros goin to the marines so duhhh
Genya This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Mar. 16, 2012 at 4:54 pm

If we actually had a 12 month school year, I would be first to rebel. I would have a nervous breakdown right around the time summer came around, and I would seriously consider doing something drastic... like dropping out of school as a protest.

I don't think teachers would like a 12 month school year either. No time with family or friends.

Dreamer21 said...
Mar. 7, 2012 at 1:33 pm
This made me think. Nice job.
Lillie M. said...
Feb. 14, 2012 at 2:09 am
Pretty good essay! You're so lucky to have gotten the Editor's Pick on your first submission, too. I think you're right, though. I don't go to school in the US, but summers are important for that reason: internships. It helps out the family, your savings, and gives you experience in a work environment.
iamheretolearn said...
Feb. 8, 2012 at 6:58 pm
wow... your first article on teen ink got is the editor's choice...
publicdomain said...
Jan. 1, 2012 at 4:02 pm
I agree a 12 month school year will have its pros and cons but for students and teachers alike the cons seem to outrank the benefits in American society. What works in India and China is something that indeed may hurt the American economy rather that stimulate it. Thanks for this article :)
CarrieAnn13 said...
Jul. 31, 2011 at 2:30 pm
I agree with this!  As well as an internship, some of us have to pay our own way to university and working eight hours a day in summer earns way more money than working three hours after school every day, which is exhausting.
Celia said...
Jun. 30, 2011 at 4:34 am
can you send me a link to a news story about this? because I've never heard about it at all. thanks :)
memoimi said...
Jun. 17, 2011 at 9:34 pm
i agree. making the school year longer does not necessarily mean that grades will improve and that the US will catch up with Asia. Some people do no take school seriously, so a longer school year will just be more slacking time. Lengthening the school year will not insure success.  
RockGirl182 said...
May 4, 2011 at 11:29 pm
we are still just kids, yeah, even in high school, if they ask for 12 month we won't be students but robots !!!!!
the_critic_is_in said...
May 4, 2011 at 9:34 pm
I agree! Summer winnows out the slackers from the real students who do more than what is required. A good work ethic and a love of learning can't be forced on you by a twelve year school plan! If you truly want to become successful, go to an internship, take a summer course, or practice a sport! Do it because you want to! Not because it's part of a twelve month plan! Great article! Thanks for the insight!
myopinion said...
Feb. 27, 2011 at 7:15 am
 12 month school year won't give the experience gained from a summer interenship, 2 skilled workers are better than 20 workers who are unskilled (just know the books)
MetallixRose said...
Dec. 23, 2010 at 9:16 pm
I'll die if we have 12 months of school. This article was well written and proves a very good point.
Hawthorn replied...
Feb. 23, 2011 at 9:51 am
If we get 12 months of school I will not only die I will come back as a ghost/zombie/vampire and haunt my school FOREVER!!! MUAHAHAHAHA!
happyboat replied...
Jun. 6, 2011 at 9:16 pm
but, if you read up on the rebuttle, you find that you get the same amount of vacation time, its just split up more evenly throughout the year, rather just in a three month chunk
Silver_Heart said...
Dec. 22, 2010 at 9:56 pm
I agree that it isnt how long its what u do in the time. in my 3rd period classs this year ive learned NOTHING and it december.... we've had a sub the whole year. not one real teacher EVER.
jimmydane34 said...
Dec. 6, 2010 at 4:23 pm
i agree in keeping with the same school schedual. number 1 problem we do not take school seriously what so ever unlike other countries who have summer break. its not how and when we should use our 181 days of school. the question is how do we motivate US teens into learning.  personally since im a teen who does not work and just plays sports all year round. i would like 12 month cycle just because i get to overwhelmed waiting for summer. having week off every month or however they do it wou... (more »)
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