School Year Extension

April 7, 2011
Think back for a second, can you remember what you learned last year? Or is your memory a bit fuzzy? The school year should be longer. There is not enough time to learn and lot of the educational gain is lost over the summer ; because of this we cant keep up with other countries.
There is not enough time to learn in the traditional school year. Everyone is rushed with a short school year. The kids are rushed and over worked. In some math classes, especially the advanced ones most of the learning is done during the student’s hour of math homework. But it is not only math, a student, Tanner Shioshita said “I spent over 25 hours on my history project that I had to do all at home”(Shioshita). In fact if a student needs help on their home work they have to get help all on their own time before or after school. Same as students teachers are rushed to. My math teacher, Mrs. Newbury said “I have 9 months to teach a 12 month class.”(Newbury). Most teachers would agree, they want to make sure that the kids get the concept but they have to move on or else they will run out of time at the end of the short school year. Mrs. Newbury barely has time to go over homework. The time when everyone is most rushed is at the end of the semester. The kids are rushed to get their work done and the teachers are rushed to squeeze in the last bit of curriculum, and grade all their papers by their deadline. For behind students it is worse. For example a 4th grade student who is intellectually on the 1st grade level just because he is slower. With the rush there is no time for him to catch-up he will be behind for a very long time. That was me and this should not happen to anyone else. Rushing can’t help anyone.
Lots of educational gain is lost over the 3 and a half month summer. “If you don’t use it you lose it”. This is true. Studies show that over the summer the average student loses 2.5 months of academic progress in math, 2 months of progress in reading, and one month of progress in everything else(“Summer Education Loss”) but that is only the average student, disabled, ESL, and low income students lose even faster. ESL students speak their first language a lot more over the summer because they will spend more time at home with parents that will not always be able English. The less they use English the more they will lose the ability and for most of them it is to hard as it is. Low income students can lose 2 months more in every subject.(“Summer Education Loss”). If you can’t afford a book you will not read over the summer; therefore a student falls behind in reading. With all this progress lost lots of time is needed to review at the beginning of the year, which gives you less time to learn during the school year.
The United States is falling behind educationally because there are not enough school days in the year. We were one of the richest most, and educated countries not so long ago, but things are changing and we are falling behind. Secretary of state Duncan said “the latest scores of the worlds 15-year-olds on an international test of reading, writing, math, and science show the United States as a merely average performer” (Duncan). We went from best in the world to average in 5 years. What we did before no longer works. Other countries have changed their school year length. Countries like Chile, and Columbia have 200 days of school,(Realidades) we have 180. Is that enough?
The school year should be longer. With not enough time to learn, academic loss over the summer, and the failure to meet academic global standards, we need more school days. Should we add school days? The diction is up to you, it will only solve all these problems





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