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!

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 »)
havehadit replied...
Dec. 23, 2010 at 11:10 pm
You make a really good point. It's humilaiting, what's happening to the US school system. #30 while England is #10. Are you kidding me? We should be leading in arts and sciences. Makes me sick; but I agree with the article, taking away our only chance for summer jobs adn internships is not the way to go.
Ariveria This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Nov. 6, 2010 at 6:23 pm
Excellent article, and I completely agree! I'm one of those teens who has to work during the summer, and even that's barely getting the bills paid. If I can't get a summer job... Ugh. I don't want to think about it.
lph6605 said...
Oct. 26, 2010 at 2:09 pm
There are some reasonable advantages to the 12-month school year, but none of them override the advantages of our current school year. The 12-month school year would not allow students' brains to "fall asleep" over the summer break. However, as you said, students also sometimes have to support their family. Obama has good intentions for it, but part of the American life is to have freedom and happiness. The new school year could interfere with that idea. 
agricola said...
Oct. 18, 2010 at 7:52 am

i am for year round schl and am offended by your bigoted statistics i am not for obama but im for year round school


ClarinetPower replied...
Jun. 25, 2012 at 12:48 pm
how is she being a bigot? it's called a persuasive essay!
immyself777 said...
Sept. 8, 2010 at 6:29 pm
I can't believe this!! I mean, my whole family has a reunion every summer break. Not to mention most activities are summer only activities. Kids enrolled in all year round school would not be able to participate in these events. We really need to speak up on this!!
Aleksandra said...
Aug. 27, 2010 at 12:29 am
I think that our school system is fine. We had some pretty good test scores in my school in my native country. The only difference was that we took school more seriously. I literally could sleep in class when I first came here. So the problem is not how long we are in school, (in fact in my old school we spent less time in school per day, but had less vacation). The problem is what we do in school. At least twenty minutes of at least half of my classes are wasted on the teacher talking to us abo... (more »)
Enoughisenough replied...
Sept. 9, 2010 at 8:31 pm
Yes, yes on all counts. You just verbalized what most of us feel like in US schools. And the gov. walks around scratching its head as to why our numbers are falling? They should be flies on the wall in random classrooms around the nation. The entire tone of the classroom needs to change to a more disciplined situation, with anyone who speaks out of turn, getting detention. Teachers should be respected and then maybe they wouldn't stress us with exams as much as they do. There's more testing than... (more »)
abey2012 replied...
Nov. 9, 2010 at 8:24 pm
I completely agree with both of you butwe really need to start paying our teachers more afterall aren't they the ones teaching the future doctors, scientists, engineers. etc..? The Chinese school system take better care of their teachers then the US school system. And they keep taking away money from schools then they wonder why we do so bad on tests?
aduke9 replied...
May 12, 2012 at 3:08 pm
My Civics teacher had a tantrum yesterday about how many people failed the Civics SOL.Coincidentally, he was hardly ever at school and when he was there, spent considerable amounts of time in class talking about how much he hates teaching middle school, how much he loves football, and making fun of the kid who was held back in sixth grade. 
purplecat said...
Aug. 13, 2010 at 11:04 am
I love school, but I love my limited two month summer as well. The pace my school goes at as far as studies and national testing is stressful enought. I cannot even begin to think of 12 months instead of 9...
annexgrey This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jun. 23, 2010 at 12:24 am
Wooh! I live in China, and one of the problems with the education system here is that sure, kids are smart, but they memorise things, not really learn them, and they just perform extraordinarily well when it comes to tests. I think there's a secret underground course or something ;) The problem with this cram-it-down-your-throat, you're not gonna get into college, edu. system is that kids here end up not being very creative or passionate in comparison to their western counterparts. Sure, in the ... (more »)
polipoints said...
Jun. 6, 2010 at 12:24 am
This article brings up such an important issue, and none of us should take it for granted. It's easy to be complacent when you have a school schedule you're used to...but that's going to change and we won't even know what hit us.
purpleink112 said...
May 30, 2010 at 2:27 pm
I agree with you that the 12 month school year is not a great idea. However, the American government has a system of checks and balances that makes sure that the President or a particular branch of the government doesn't have too much power. So, Obama doesn't actually have the ability to just snap his fingers and make that happen. It would take many years, trying to get Congress to agree, and then all the individual governments inside the states. So, it's fairly likely that it will never happen.... (more »)
ConnorB replied...
Jun. 3, 2010 at 3:40 pm
What is happening behind closed doors in our government is very different from what the public has knowledge of. Watch what happens to our educational system within the next two years. It will not be the same, and we'll wish we had all started a protest earlier.
Thinker said...
May 17, 2010 at 12:24 pm
What we need is not more school, but a better school system. As my father has always told me, "Work smarter, not harder". We should find ways to better teach all of our students, teach to more than just the visual/auditory learners. I went to a tech school by choice because I know I learn by doing with my hands, kinestetic learner, since this decision my grades have doubled and so have my standardized test scores!! Just goes to show that there is more than one way to skin a cat.
Sarahcuda said...
May 15, 2010 at 10:09 pm

Why summer is GREAT!
1. I've learned a lot more on my summer RVing trips around the country than I have in school.

2. Summer is the time for decompression...stress levels for high schoolers are extrmely high as it is...

3. Even if students lose some of their knowledge over the summer, many don't retain it anyway...

4. Summer is a time for working...gaining money through jobs for college

5. Summer is also a great time to explore the nation for great colleges...... (more »)

Tellitlikeitis said...
May 3, 2010 at 9:13 pm
Excellent article! No one I know wants to be in a high school classroom in the summer. Does the gov. actually know what goes on in classrooms, and how it takes the teacher at least 15 minutes of the period to stop people from talking and acting out? Who needs more of that in the sumemr?
Uniteorfry replied...
May 13, 2010 at 1:01 am
Can we pleased band together on this issue if it cecomes a serious threat to us, and unite?
Sandiego replied...
May 14, 2010 at 12:39 am
Yes unite! You've got my vote!
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