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!!”

Join the Discussion

This article has 158 comments. Post your own now!

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?
Urbs2013 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Dec. 14, 2009 at 5:29 am
Well, you know, that's kinda the whole point of the article, do we really want to be like all those communist countries? I think the answer is plain to see, we all agree, no.
i<3steven! replied...
Feb. 26, 2010 at 4:09 pm
yes we all do. like i have said before i would skip school during june thru agust....
birdsong said...
Dec. 13, 2009 at 10:15 am
Yes, yes, yes...what's next...mandatory military service before college? Some things are just not broken in our society and need to be left alone. Agreed?
folly said...
Dec. 13, 2009 at 10:12 am
You know, I heartily agree with the article. What is this business of trying to make Americans into other "peoples?" First they'd take away our summers of enrichment, then who knows what would follow?
lawman said...
Dec. 13, 2009 at 10:09 am
Great article! Absolutely no school in summer! thinks of all the money schools will have to spend on air-conditioning every area of the building!
Jessejames said...
Dec. 13, 2009 at 9:43 am
Yeah, I would agree with the survey you mentioned--that high school students are not going to quietly give up their summer experiences, whether they be travel, internships or courses. They can't take that away from us without a fight.
jerseyguy said...
Dec. 13, 2009 at 9:37 am
This is a topic that needs further discussion in the White House. I don't think our President had a panel of teachers and students in front of him when he asked for advice on the issue. Why do people who are not in the classrooms continue to make policy for those of us who are?
jensong said...
Dec. 13, 2009 at 9:34 am
I agree 100% with this article, and I don't think our teachers would like a year round school session either. They love to travel during their summers while we're spending 6-8 weeks in internships that will help us figure out what we want out of life and what will make us more attractive to colleges. No summer school!
anjelfreed said...
Dec. 13, 2009 at 12:12 am
If the US is looking to become a robotic people like those in China and Korea, they'd be happily on their way by stripping American kids of their summer break. After all, we couldn't do research, get important jobs, shadow CEOs and physicians, spend time writing that book we all want to write, or that film we want to make. Nothing that is important to our personal growth could happen without summer break. Do I hear petition here too, please?
Wethepeople said...
Dec. 10, 2009 at 10:15 am
People stopped talking about it because the President has too many other pressing issues at hand--like accepting a Nobel Prize today for having done nothing. Believe me, it won't be considered doing something "positive" for the youth of America if he officially does away with our summer break.
Liberty said...
Dec. 10, 2009 at 10:12 am
This topic was actually a big deal in my school in September. We were all talking about it, but things seemed to have quieted down. U think that's trouble? Maybe the school board is getting ready to let us know that next year there's no more summer break?
Urbs2013 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Dec. 4, 2009 at 8:22 am
Exactly the thoughts I would have expected of my generation. Thank you all for the comments.
allyowest said...
Dec. 3, 2009 at 4:59 pm
Not a teacher or student I have spoken to would go quietly "into that good night" if the government decided to end summer vacation. Enough is enough.
bhlawrence said...
Dec. 1, 2009 at 4:39 pm
Absolutely nothing is worth losing the possibilities and travel and pre-college programs of summer. This is a worthwhile article.
Urbs2013 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Dec. 5, 2009 at 11:49 am
Thank you. All of you are right, and that is what inspired this article
debater1 said...
Dec. 1, 2009 at 3:25 pm
Excellent article. Everyone I know feels the same way.
joshing said...
Dec. 1, 2009 at 12:13 am
I'm with you. With the economy the way it is, we have to have a few months to make some money and have some life experiences. This year round school is one bad idea.
micophone said...
Dec. 1, 2009 at 12:01 am
Can you imagine having to go to school year round without time to make some money for college? It's too hard to put in lots of hours of work at a job during school; our grades would go down. This plan by Obama is one of his worst ideas yet.
mandelbread said...
Nov. 30, 2009 at 8:30 pm
I think this is a really important issue, and I'm glad to see it discussed in Teen Ink. My debate club at school made this an issue in October and there was absolutely no one who voted to give up their summers just to appease the government.
coolhandluke said...
Nov. 30, 2009 at 8:27 pm
This is a topic that we should talk more about in general. We have to make sure that the government doesn't take away the little freedom we enjoy in the summers. Good article.
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