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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

Down time

Well, duh. Give kids less time to forget stuff, and they will forget less stuff:

While it's the start of the school year for most U.S. students, children at Barcroft Elementary have been at their desks for nearly a month — and they're fine with that.

The suburban Washington school is among 3,000 across the nation that have tossed aside the traditional calendar for one with a shorter summer break and more time off during the rest of the year. The goal: preventing kids from forgetting what they have learned.

Barcroft's principal, Miriam Hughey-Guy, pushed for the new calendar in hopes of boosting student achievement. She had read studies showing the toll a long summer break takes on what students remember, and she figured that shorter breaks also would help the school's many immigrants keep up their English skills

[. . .]

There hasn't been rigorous research into whether students at schools where summer breaks are short do better than kids attending other schools. But existing comparisons suggest the modified calendars have a small positive effect on student achievement. The impact appears to be somewhat bigger for low-income children.

Ron Fairchild, executive director of the Center for Summer Learning at Johns Hopkins University, says reconfiguring the school calendar simply makes sense.

Posted in: Current Affairs