New York’s year-round school system wouldn’t work – The Ticker
De Blasio continually mentions academics when discussing his plans, only briefly glossing over recreational and cultural programs for the summer. It wouldn’t be surprising if school holidays were simply filled with academic work rather than the enrichment activities that other schools have mandated.
Children need free time to be themselves. Not all useful skills can be taught in school – some things have to be experienced firsthand to be learned.
Having short, sporadic breaks will only be an inconvenience at best. Families will find it difficult to plan their vacations with so little time. A high number of student absences, taking away from education, can easily be anticipated.
Students’ freedom for leisure will come at the expense of their education, a trade-off that many parents will have to grudgingly decide with the year-round model.
Moreover, the model will not only be hard on students and parents, but also on teachers and school staff. Teachers are already underpaid for their work and forced to work outside of school hours as well. These breaks would simply be for grading and creating lesson plans.
Last summer, the city opened its summer school program to all students. Likewise, this program involved both academics and these enrichment activities.
The program faced many challenges, including “staff shortages, confusion over how to enroll, and transportation issues,” according to Patch.
Although many parents are happy with this program, a similar program cannot be implemented for all students in New York City until intensive planning is done.
Additionally, many schools, especially those in low-income areas, lack the infrastructure to withstand harsh summers. Summer programs for all cannot be launched until internal problems, such as insufficient funding for schools, are resolved.
Like the year-round school system, extended school hours would cause similar problems.
Long school hours, even if they are optional, will feel like a punishment for the children who are forced to endure them. Students should not work extra hours of schooling to fit an adult’s schedule.
Instead, de Blasio should focus on allocating more funds to underfunded school districts so they have better after-school programs and extracurricular activities.