Overall, year-round schooling seems to show a slight advantage academically to students enrolled, but the numbers of students are not high enough to really get a good read on it at this point. What does seem clear, however, is that at-risk students do fare better without a long summer break, and other students are not harmed by the year-round schedule.
This week I've been blogging about the bleak numbers that surround the national high school dropout rate and examining more closely the underlying causes. Many of society's other problems - like unemployment, poverty and overcrowded prisons - can all be linked back to the individual decision to quit high school.
I wonder what these numbers would look like if we took the nearly $300K that taxpayers put in over the course of a dropout's lifetime and deposited it into their K-12 learning upfront.
Based on these numbers, it may seem that the high school dropout problem has seen significant improvement in a few, short decades. While that may be true, the numbers are still too high to stomach, especially with all of the alternative options high school students now have to finish their diplomas outside traditional classroom settings. At this juncture in U.S. K-12 progress, the dropout rate should be barely worth mentioning.
Instead of making it harder to become a teacher, why not spend money on making classroom size smaller and more manageable when those teachers start their careers? Or on technology programs and training that give teachers an advantage when it comes to educational gaming?
Language preference is just a new twist on an old tale of discrimination in our schools and for all students to have equal opportunities, this point needs to be recognized and eliminated.
The negative financial ramifications of dropping out of high school cannot be denied but the way they are over-emphasized seems like a worn-out tactic to me. To really reach today's students and encourage them to finish at least a high school education, they should be valued as learners and not simply earners.
For all students to benefit from edtech initiatives, schools need to find the funding for better technology suites and cut through red tape more quickly. Otherwise the educational opportunities presented through gaming will never be fully realized and the students will suffer.
It's time to put writing on the pedestal it deserves. It is the foundation of K-12 academic success and workplace achievement. If we put writing on the back burner, it has the potential to damage every other subject area and hold our students back from their true achievement in school and life beyond the K-12 and college years. Now is the time to make writing a priority, particularly if we expect this next generation of students to lead globally.
Overall, special education is becoming a more normalized experience for the students. Our tech-hungry culture is the perfect backdrop for the tools that these special education learners need to succeed in K-12 classrooms.