Traditional School v. Year-Round School Essay

All over America schools are changing to a year-round school calendar, even though most kids and parents are against it. The usual year-round school system consists of little breaks every three weeks called intersessions (Ruggiero). School districts have made this switch because they think it will raise student achievement levels, even though there is no scientific data to prove this (Ruggiero). “These schools are often located in under-resourced urban settings with low-income and a minority population” (Dion V.). The traditional school calendar has been around for a long time and has a lot of great things that come along with it that a year-round school does not have, such as summer break. The traditional school calendar is better, because the year-round school system can really hurt a child’s mental abilities, summer vacation is a cherished family tradition that allows a child’s brain to rest for the new school year, and there are a lot of cons about the year-round school system for the teachers, students, and parents that are not even an issue with the traditional school calendar. Studies have shown that the year-round school system has a negative effect on a child’s mental abilities. For example, “many experts believe that students have trouble remembering material they have learned in the short-term” (Carter).

This may hurt a student because with the intersessions a teacher may try to cram a test in one something they just learned right away, even if the students have trouble remembering the topic that was taught. In this case a long break would be beneficiary to a student’s brain, because it allows the teachers to lay a chapter out over a period of time that allows the new material to sink into the student’s brain. Also, “a student’s performance level solely rests on the quality of the teachers, the involvement and support of the parents, and who the student is as an individual (Carter). If any of these components are not there then the student is almost guaranteed to have poor grades. Also, if a student is not getting enough rest or is learning too much at one time that can really affect their grades. A child’s brain is a very fragile thing that can only handle so much at one time, and would not be well suited for a year-round school system. Summer break is a time filled with joy and laughter and is always the best part of a kid’s year. For example, this break is a cherished family tradition, but is necessary for the physical well-being of a child (Matthews).

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Every student looks forward to summer break from day one of the new school year. This break allows a student’s brain to rest, but is not long enough to allow a student to forget most things that they have learned from the previous school year. “Also, the poor quality of a school and the heat of the summer can really have an impact on a child’s physical ability” (Matthews). Classrooms can reach up to ninety degrees if there is no air conditioning in it. This can make students very uncomfortable with sweat dripping from their bodies just from sitting down in a chair for seven hours. Even if there is air conditioning it does not do a whole lot to combat this problem because heat still drifts in from open windows and doors throughout the school. For these reasons and more summer break is something that should never be taken away from a child no matter what. A lot of cons come along with the transition to a year-round school system. First, the main con is the additional costs that come with the transition to a year-round school system (Carter). For instance, teachers are going to have higher salaries, because they will be working a lot more throughout the year. Also, there will most likely be more janitorial costs for the upkeep of the school since it is in class a lot more often. “In fact, a lot of school districts in America are changing back to the traditional school calendar from the year-round school system, because they found it was too difficult to keep up with the extra costs and found that there was no significant change to the problem of overcrowding, which was one of the main reasons for the year-round school system in the first place” (Carter). This was a smart decision, because pretty much no one is benefiting from the year-round school system anyways.

Overcrowding is a problem that should be fixed by adding more schools to that district or by sending some of the students to schools in a nearby district that does not have as many students. Another solution to the problem of overcrowding is that schools can create different skill levels in the lower grade, such as math and science, so that there will not be as many kids in a class. Next, “If a teacher is new at a school or is teaching a new subject, there is very little time to prepare in a year-round school system (Hitt). A teacher needs an adequate amount of time to sort and prepare their lesson plans if they are new or teaching a new subject. The traditional school calendar gives teachers the time they need to prepare and get settled in. It also gives teachers time to spend at least a part of their break to relax and spend time with their families before they have to start preparing for the new school year. There are lot more cons about the year-round school system and the affect it has on teachers, but these best show how the traditional school calendar is better. The year-round school system also creates problems for the students and parents. For example, this system greatly affects the band and sports programs at these school, because in the summer what other schools would there be for the band and sports teams to compete against if they are all on the traditional school calendar (Carter). Playing a sport for fun is not going to be an option for most students, especially those who are very competitive. Also, students in the band are not going to be very happy marching around in very heavy uniforms in the hot weather. Other clubs are also affected by the year-round system, because some of them rely on competing against other schools; otherwise there is no point to having the club. “Arranging day care and the dress codes for the students are also a problem during the summer” (Carter). Usually parents count on their older children being home during the summer to watch the younger ones while they are at work during the day. Also, some dress codes require khaki pants, a tie, and a long sleeve shirt which would make all of the students very uncomfortable during class.

Another problem that can occur is that youth groups tend to have their meetings in the morning or early afternoon during the summer, but kids in year-round school will not be able to attend since they are in school during that time (Carter). This will not sit well with the kids, especially those who get very involved in activities during the summer. Even if a youth group has meetings a night a kid will still have homework and may not be able to go depending on how much they have. If the kids and parents do not benefit from this system, then there really is no point to having a year-round school system. If you ask any kid they will most likely say that they prefer he traditional school calendar over the year-round school calendar. The facts clearly show how much the traditional school calendar is by how the year-round school system affects a child’s mental abilities, how summer vacation is a cherished family tradition that year-round schools do not have, and how the many cons that come along with the year-round school system negatively affect the teachers, students, and parents. A child’s education is something that should be fooled around with. Kids need to grow up in a learning environment that allows them to achieve at the highest levels that they are capable of, but also one that does what is in the best interest of the students, parents, and teachers.

There may be an argument about year-round schools for some of the good things they bring, but it would be nothing compared to the way it affects families to belong to a year-round school. The traditional school year has been around for a long time and families have never had a problem with it. It continues to work to this day by giving students a high quality education, whether they are in elementary school, middle school, or high school. This school system will stick around for a long time and continue to help kids grow into very smart and mature individuals.