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Is Summer School the Key to Reform?

The National Summer Learning Association is making the case for a greater policy and funding focus on innovative summer school in the pages of Education Week this week.

Much as they did when they stopped by the Education Week offices recently, NSLA leaders point to the essential role that summer school can play in overall school reform. NSLA Chief Executive Officer Ron Fairchild and Jeff Smink, the group's vice president of policy, write:

"Imagine, for example, a summer school program that would provide accelerated and engaging instruction in the morning, fresh local food for breakfast and lunch, and afternoon enrichment activities in which students could choose to canoe down the Mississippi River, create their own video games, or display self-made projects in local museums."

With funding from the Atlantic Philanthropies, the NSLA has launched a campaign to increase investment in summer learning and support for including summer learning in larger reform strategies. Among other items, Fairchild and Smink call for improving data collection on summer programs and considering non-traditional funding sources (including Title 1) for such initiatives.

There's a lot more to the Fairchild-Smink Commentary than I'm covering here so I urge you to read it for yourself. And, I'd love to hear your thoughts on the role of summer schools—and other expanded learning programs—in the larger reform agenda.

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