The possibility of year round schools has been a hot debate topic for quite some time. The question is, is the idea of year round schools acceptable considering all the potential drawbacks? Year round schooling can be disruptive to both the family of the students and the teachers themselves, it can be too costly for a large group of people, and year round schools do not provide the same opportunity for learning as the traditional school year does. For several reasons, the traditional school year, which runs for ten months instead of eleven, is more beneficial in comparison to year round schooling.
Primarily, year round schools will disrupt both the families and teachers while the traditional school year does not. This is because; year round schools will eliminate most of the highly anticipated summer vacation making it much shorter than usual. Long summer breaks are a cherished culture for some families, as it is a perfect occasion for relations to spend time together since both the parents and students have a sufficient amount of time off. During the mid-year breaks i.e. March Break, many parents do not have the time because they are still at work. However, if summer vacation is shortened, parents can no longer use all their free time to spend with their kids because the children are in school learning. There will not be enough time to travel and complete all the planned activities. That is why; the new school calendars quickly became unpopular with parents in America. Dede Schaffner, a spokesperson for the Seminole County district, says, “The disruption of family life was what everyone was complaining about, people said it was conceivable that with kids at school during the summer, you could never have your whole family together.” (“Year-round Schooling Rejected”1996/24 February, 2005) In addition to less family time, year round schooling also provides other concerns for parents. Guardians will have to worry about finding childcare during the longer mid-year breaks that are created because of a shorter summer break. Another perceived disadvantage of year round education is that teachers may have a more difficult time scheduling their professional development. Many teachers take graduate classes during the summer vacation period to catch up with new curriculums and advances in technology. Teachers will find attending professional conferences, staff development activities, and college courses more difficult. A teacher who was part of a year round system recounts, “I found myself going through 3 school years without that opportunity for self-assessment and planning for the future of the educational program.” (“The Effect of Year Round Schools” 1999/22 February 2005). With a much shorter summer break, teachers will not have enough time to increase their education, which can benefit the learning of their students. For these reasons, year round schools are not as beneficial as the traditional school year.
Furthermore, switching over to year round schooling can prove to be more costly than the normal school year. First off, the budget for a year round program, when compared to a traditional program, is much larger. There are more materials, such as school supplies, to be bought, a larger cost for air conditioning, and the increased expenses when a facility is used year round. One of the main concerns is that the life of a school becomes considerably shorter. Usually, in the summer time schools are under repair and made ready for the next year. However, with a shorter summer break, there is not enough time to renovate schools. This will lead to the need of newer facilities more often. Moreover, the largest expense is in hiring new teachers. Not many educators sign up for the year round schooling program and those who do, expect larger salaries than regular teachers do. “The biggest budget increase in a year-long program is most often due to new staffing.” (“Year-round Success?” 1997/ 18 February 2005). Finally, family expenses will also fluctuate. An extended school year means a larger amount of lunch money, more shopping for new supplies and clothes, and other expenses, which include field trips and other school programs. If the school boards switch to the new system, many parents as well as the school board may not be able to afford the new expenses. Thus, staying with the traditional school year is a far better option because it is more advantageous than a year round school.
Finally yet importantly, year round schooling does not provide as much of an opportunity for learning as the regular school calendar. During the summer break, students can get opportunities to gain experience through summer jobs. This experience can be considered equivalent to learning in school because it provides the students to face the real world and understand what it is like. If year round schooling is implemented, then summer will be cut short and as a result, students will not have enough time to familiarize themselves with the workplace. Joan Watkins, an employer, affirms, “It is unlikely that a student will get a job for just 15 or 20 days. This period is just too short to interest an employer in hiring a student.” (“The Effect of Year Round Schooling” 1999/24 February, 2005) Moreover, going to camp during the summer is also a tradition for some kids. This tradition could fall apart with the initiation of the new school calendar. Campers will no longer be able to enjoy the outdoors and learn about themselves as they normally would, if they had a summer break of an adequate length. A summer camp professional states, “The biggest plus of camp is that camps help young people discover and explore their talents, interests, and values. Most schools do not satisfy all these needs. Kids who have had these kinds of (camp) experiences end up being healthier and have fewer problems.” (“Summer Camps Professionals Speak Out” 2003/ 22 February 2005). In addition, if there is a longer summer break where the student spends more time with his/her family they will learn additional things like family values, which cannot be taught, to them in school. Furthermore, if they travel during the break, they will be able to familiarize themselves with various cultures, which can eventually lead them to become individuals that are more accepting of others. Consequently, the traditional school year is by far more favorable than the year round school year.
In closing, the traditional school calendar is more favorable then the year round school calendar because of its many benefits. It is not disruptive to the family and teaching staff like the year round schooling is, it is much more cost efficient and it provides a better opportunity for learning than the “new” school calendar. York Region should take this opportunity and not follow America’s example in switching school calendars and show how our identity is our own and is not something that is formed by us following what others do. We, as a nation, are capable of making our own choices that will benefit us. In this case, making the choice of keeping the traditional school calendar is definitely the best choice for our country and its future generation!
1. “The Effect of Year Round Schools.” 1999. MasterFILE Premier. (22 February, 2005)
2. “Summer Camp Professionals Speak Out.” 2003. FAMALIES Magazines. (22 February, 2005)
3. “Year-round Schooling Rejected.” 1996. MasterFILE Premier. (24 February, 2005)
4. “Year-round Success?” 1999. MasterFILE Premier. (18 February, 2005)