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

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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!

jbk13 said...
Jan. 3, 2010 at 12:18 am:
It would be devastating to lose summer break for a society like America that allows extraordinary opportunities for students during summer months. As a vocal group, students must stamp out this thought from the minds of the government.
 
i<3steven! replied...
Feb. 26, 2010 at 4:07 pm :
i agree very much so, and i have to i will skip school
 
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Everett11 said...
Dec. 30, 2009 at 8:37 am:
Yes, I agree with hardy12. It's not the amount of time we spend in school that's broken, it's the lack of discipline in the classroom and the pushing through curriculum for standardized exams. Such 'low-level' thinking on the part of government. If you want to raise the level of a class, do it with creative curricula, get the noise makers out of the class and group them all together. If they don't want an education, put them somewhere they can't hurt those of u... (more »)
 
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hardy12 said...
Dec. 30, 2009 at 8:34 am:
I agree with this article and with what your teacher says. Our teachers will be more miserable about teaching than some of them already are. We have something that has worked for generations. Why fix it if it's not broken?
 
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luddy said...
Dec. 27, 2009 at 9:59 am:
This is the second most important article up on line, because there are a lot of us in high school who think this non-summer thing can become a reality. Just be ready for it, guys.
 
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jeremander said...
Dec. 21, 2009 at 9:56 am:
I agree with guerillawriter; our educational system looks to make changes every decade or so regardless of what's broken. You know, at some point we'll realize that things worked really well back in our parents' or grandparents' time and then we'll switch back to those pedagogical tactics. The on thing they all had in common was that there was a summer break in which to recharge and explore.
 
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guerillawriter said...
Dec. 21, 2009 at 9:54 am:
I love this article and I love all the ballsy comments. I'm so sick of being compared to other nations that have no creativity and little sense of the freedoms and chances for betterment that the USA has. Why are we second guessing ourselves?
 
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campbellbell said...
Dec. 19, 2009 at 6:49 am:
And I think what would help our math and science classes (not to mention our English classes) would be to have designated weeks in which the principal and school superintendent sit in on each teacher's class for a week and enforce high standards in the classroom. Then you'd have more getting done and need fewer days of instruction.
 
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chloepen said...
Dec. 19, 2009 at 6:45 am:
What would help us catch up in math and science to the Asian countries is if we would stop hiring inexperienced teachers fresh out of community colleges who have no idea how to get the subject matter across, and if we save the toughest courses in high school for the experienced, highly expert teachers...and PAY THEM MORE. Everyone needs incentive to work "better."
 
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garland13 said...
Dec. 16, 2009 at 3:42 pm:
I like the way you point out all the pertinent facts that would concern us as high school students without a summer to be creative in.
I can't imagine a worse change than taking away our summers.
 
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michiganman said...
Dec. 16, 2009 at 8:42 am:
They better not take away our internship time. The colleges will not like that, and who suffers, as usual? Those of us who have worked hard all our lives to make an impression on the top colleges.
 
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coops said...
Dec. 16, 2009 at 8:34 am:
I'm sitting in journalism class right now and am getting sick to my stomach thinking about losing my summer vacation just because our gov. has no clue about how to revamp the educational system. We're with you, Urbs. No summer school!
 
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marcusaurelius said...
Dec. 16, 2009 at 8:31 am:
No summer school!!! We work like dogs all year to be the best we can be in the top classes. What...now we're supposed to burn out by having to continue all summer? I don't care how many little breaks they give us in between. The whole point of working nonstop, is to know there will be a STOP at tome point in the year.
 
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andyK said...
Dec. 16, 2009 at 8:29 am:
Believe me, no one wants Americans to become what Josiegirl calls "learning bots." We wouldn't like ourselves very much.
 
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andyK said...
Dec. 16, 2009 at 8:28 am:
What teachers in their righ tminds would want to give up their summers? Just what we'd need as students sitting in a hot classroom in the summer--- pissed off teachers!!!
 
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michwong said...
Dec. 16, 2009 at 8:26 am:
Oh, they better not take away the freedom of summer for high school students. What'll be next? I'm with you, Urbs!
 
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Rich4pres said...
Dec. 15, 2009 at 10:30 am:
If America wants us to be Asia there are several liberties they could take away from us and after a while, I'm sure all of the kids would be scared to death to open up their mouths in protest to having school all year long. But for now, we are still America, and kids enjoy their summers and use them fruitfully.
 
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jaylibird said...
Dec. 13, 2009 at 10:36 pm:
Love this idea! No 'learning bots' for America. Leave those on the front lines of the communist countries. Here we should be learning for learning's sake, and becoming scholars, not robots who can take tests and then have nothing interesting to say at the end of the day. That's not an American.
 
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jessie'sgirl said...
Dec. 13, 2009 at 10:33 pm:
Oh please, no one in America wants to live the kind of lives they're living in China and Korea. That's why we're here and they're there. If we want to continue to excel as idealists, free thinkers, scientists, artists, we have to have time in which we can create our fantasies. Without that, we'' become "learning bots" --not acceptable.
 
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PrettyLittleProblems said...
Dec. 13, 2009 at 6:25 pm:
WHAT!?! A 12 month school year!?!?!? AHHH! That would be jank! Plus, take a closer look at China and Korea. No offence meant, but do we really want to model our government after that?
 
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