Less Rest, More Test!

Michigan schools should adopt a year-round schedule.

Laila Burke-Graves, Op-Ed Contributor

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Summer was very enjoyable, but it’s always that time of year again. I’m sitting in a classroom for the first few months trying to catch up and receiving after-school help. On the first day of school, I walk into my first hour class and throw myself into my seat. Without warning, right after the bell rings, the treacherous words leave the teacher’s mouth, “Pop Quiz! Let’s see what you remember.” The piece of paper went from desk to desk. Once the sheet of paper reaches my desk, I glance down at it. That’s when it hits me, I don’t remember anything from the previous school year. Now I have to go through the trouble of trying to remember and relearn everything from last year just because of this long summer break. Many students experience the same issue. Michigan schools should adopt a year-round schedule.

According to studies made by The National Summer Learning Association, it can take about 8 to 13 weeks at the beginning of each school year for teachers to get their students back up to speed and ready for the material of the new grade. In fact, the reteaching process can vary from each individual depending on how they process information. Fewer students will fall victim to summer-slide or losing vital information over summer break. For 12-month schedule schooling, the number of breaks and days at school is equal, but the breaks are spread out across the year evenly. That being the case, instead of a three-month summer break, it’s about five to six weeks. The most popular form of year-round education is the 45-15 plan, where students attend school for 45 days and then get 15 days off. Thus with year-round schooling, students don’t have a lot to gain or lose.

Of course, there are some who disagree with this idea because they think that students will dislike school even more. What these experts don’t consider is that the probability of students enjoying school for an all year schooling schedule is a lot higher than they might think. Teachers and students experience a closer relationship in year-round scheduling than traditional since students won’t feel detached to the school environment due to short, spread outbreaks. In addition, results from studies show that students in year-round schools are more self-confident, have fewer inhibitions, have a higher self-concept, and feel positive about their schooling experience. Hence, a year-round school can have a positive impact on the way students view themselves.

Some opponents also argue that the electricity bill will rise since school is open all year. However, according to the National Education Association, the number of days of school for a year-round schedule is the same as the number of days for a traditional school schedule. That means that the usage of heat and air conditioning is the same for either schedule, so the electricity bill won’t change. At times, students might notice some classrooms that are too hot or cold, so schools could also cut down on the usage of heat and air conditioning to conserve money.

Now is the time for Michigan schools to adopt 12-month school scheduling. The trend of year-round schools is growing, according to the National Association for Year-Round Education. It may be a tough transition for students who are used to a traditional schedule, but the Boards of Education for each area in Michigan can slowly adapt the traditional school schedule to an all year calendar until all schools in Michigan are on the same school agenda. If nations like Japan, a work-driven country, can do it, undoubtedly, we can too.

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