How To Fix Schools: Shorten Summer Vacation

In response to my open call on what should change about school, commenter emeraldlakesfreepress has an interesting suggestion.

I think the school year schedule has to change.  Long summers mean that children have months to forget what they have learned.  6 weeks on, 2 weeks off, with a slightly longer break in the winter and one in the summer, would make learning more continuous and help children to keep in the routine of learning.  Rather than promoting children each summer, based on their ages, they could be promoted after each session, if they have mastered the material.  This would promote multi-age classrooms of learners who are working at their best pace, without the stigma of being “held back”. Schools would become more flexible and fluid and students could be placed more thoughtfully in programs they need.   Teachers would need to become year round professionals, with these short breaks becoming professional development time with a more meaningful work and plans being made for specific students.  The breaks would also allow time to remediate and enrich specific students though tightly focused, short term programs.

I love my long summer vacations, but I love these ideas more.  What if the school year consisted of five 6-week sessions, with short breaks in between?  How could such a system be organized to maximize student learning?  The configurations seem endlessly interesting.

Do you agree?  Do you see any problems with this setup?  Would it work for your school, your children, your community?  Give me your thoughts.

Image by Phil Edon

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