No Summer School? Left Behind and Falling Further Back

(Courtesy of

(Author's Note: An excerpt of my weekly column in

It’s no secret that school districts are struggling in this economic climate. In an effort to tighten their belts districts are cutting back on teacher training and technology purchases, laying off staff, and some are even eliminating summer school. All of these decisions are made with the faulty understanding that while in the interim they are necessary, in the long term they’ll have little to no impact. Unfortunately, this is surely not the case.

While support staff may be rehired and technology purchases deferred to a later date, the time in which children (who are either already behind or soon will be) can gain parity with their peers is short and getting shorter.

In regards to summer school closures Secretary of Education Arne Duncan recently said: “At a time when we need to work harder to close achievement gaps and prepare every child for college and career, cutting summer school is the wrong way to go. These kids need more time, not less.”

Yet schools in New York, California, Missouri, and Indiana have already ended summer school programs or soon will. The Associated Press reports:

“An American Association of School Administrators survey found that 34 percent of respondents are considering eliminating summer school for the 2010-11 school year. That's a rate that has roughly doubled each year, from 8 percent in 2008-09 to 14 percent in 2009-10.”

So what’s the big deal?

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