Good Example Of Two-Month Summer Vacation For Students Is Too Long Essay

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Students, Education, Round, School, Vacation, Family, System, Schedule

Pages: 3

Words: 825

Published: 2020/11/05

If you are American of working age and have a full-time job, the chances are that you get precious little paid vacation time. Workers in America’s private sector typically receive an annual maximum of 10 days, plus six paid public holidays. Furthermore, whereas most developed countries guarantee their workers are entitled to 20 days or more annual vacation, the US is just about the only such nation that doesn’t have any statutory entitlement at all. (Refer to the OECD chart in the Appendix for details). As a consequence, almost a quarter of American workers do not get any paid vacation days. In contrast, students in the U.S. education system get a summer break lasting months. Research has indicated that students – particularly those belonging to families on low incomes – do not want breaks this long. Later, when those students have graduated and become part of the nation’s workforce, they join a system which has fewer paid vacation days than most other developed countries. The situation is absurd and should be corrected (Garofalo 2014).
According to Garofalo, the only reason the American students get these long summer breaks is tradition, even though numerous studies have found that students “suffer learning losses” in those breaks – losses that are not regained. Students from low-income families are worst affected, because their parents cannot afford to send them away to summer camp, or place them in so-called enrichment programs. He quotes the findings of a RAND Corporation study, which states that “most disturbing is that summer learning loss is cumulative; over time, the difference between the summer learning rates of low-income and higher-income students contributes substantially to the achievement gap.” Those low-income families also suffer financially during the summer breaks, because their children are not receiving the subsidized or free meals obtainable in the public schools. Garofalo does concede that extending the typical current school year from the present nine months would be costly. Running the schools for longer would cost more in energy – in many cases including the capital costs and running costs of needed air conditioning. Also, the schools would be funding transportation and meals for more weeks of the year (Garofalo 2014).
The so-called year-round school schedule seems to offer a workable solution to the too-long summer breaks. Despite the name, “year-round” does not mean more days in school than the traditional schedule. The difference is that breaks are generally shorter and more frequent, including a summer break of perhaps just one month. The school year still comprises the same total of 180 days overall. However, an important advantage of that system is that the traditional summer break retention loss is dramatically reduced. Another is that if year-round schools operate on a multi-track system, whereby different groups of students have different vacation times; there will always be some students on vacation. That can produce cost savings because a school built for (say) 750 students can accommodate up to 1,000 students in the same premises. Also, more pupils can be educated without increasing teacher numbers. It has been shown that the per pupil costs of year-round schooling are lower than in the traditional system (Nair n.d.).
But has the year-round schedule proved its worth in educational terms? According to Nair’s article, the states which have tried year-round schooling are mainly California, Florida, Kentucky and Texas. The findings in Texas – where many school districts adopted the year-round schedule several years ago – were that academic improvements were not significant, and that there was strong parental opposition to the system. As a result, most schools reverted back to the traditional schedule. In contrast, a nine-year review of the year-round schooling in the Oxnard school district in California showed that test scores had significantly improved, even though the basic school curriculum had not been changed. Minnesota has tried year-round schooling in 27 schools. The programs in schools teaching kindergarten through to grade nine have done so well that parents are asking for similar schedules in senior high schools. Overall, the results tend to be positive, although the specific outcomes appear to depend on “quality testing, experimentation and evaluation” (Nair n.d.).
Although there are already many schools operating the year-round schedule (over 3,000, or four percent of all schools when the referenced article was published, educating more than two million students), there are of course disadvantages in changing to the year-round system. For instance, families with more than one child in school could find difficulty in scheduling family vacations if the children are in different schools or in different tracks in a multi-track school (Nair n.d.).
A teacher’s perspective is offered by Evans (2014), a high school teacher in Baltimore, who notes that whilst the bureaucrats seem to constantly alter the minutiae of schools administration, the “long-held tradition of summer vacation” remains unchanged. She mentions the clear evidence of learning loss due to the length of the summer break, plus the data that supports the benefits of shorter breaks as those which are standard in other countries such as Germany, Australia and Singapore. She is a firm supporter of more frequent but shorter breaks (as in the year-round school system) (Evans 2014).


The weight of informed opinion appears to support the concept of shorter summer breaks, probably as embodied in the year-round school schedule, which has already been tried in a number of school districts – in the majority of cases with successful outcomes. Resistance to changing from the traditional schedule appears to come from various lobby groups, including many families, for whom such a change could introduce associated problems. Nonetheless, in the main, it is true to say that the present summer breaks for students are indeed too long, and should be shortened – principally for the benefit of the students themselves.


Evans, Cristina, Duncan. (Jul. 2014). “A Teacher’s Case Against Summer Vacation.” Education Week. Retrieved from:
Garofalo, Pat. (Jul. 2014). “America Gets Summer Vacation All Wrong.” U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved from:
Nair, Sindhu. (n.d.). “Should American Schools Go Year Round?” TeachHUB. Retrieved from:
Source: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development

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