Just a few more weeks until a majority of schools across the country enter the wonderful world that is summer vacation. Vacations, summer sports, reading, camps; it’s hard not to love summer! I was intrigued when I stumbled upon a blog post coming out of Minnesota titled “What They’ll do over Summer Vacation,” which showcases the reality of summer vacation in America.
Some children will be lucky enough to head to summer camps, filling their days with sports, swimming, and nature. Some will read books, start a summer job, and go on family vacations. Other children will babysit their younger siblings, watch hours of TV, or stay up all night playing video games.
Students from middle class and wealthy families are more likely to maintain or advance their academic level this summer. On the other hand, students from low-income families are more likely to regress. That means when summer comes to an end and school starts in the fall, we’ll see an achievement gap that’s widened from where it is right now.
Too many students in our high-poverty communities are falling behind academically while also missing out on opportunities to excel in a well-rounded set of subjects and activities. With expanded learning time, schools in high-poverty communities are able to provide the range of educational and extracurricular opportunities that are often available in-school or out-of- school for students in higher-income communities. Students, regardless of their income level, can combat the summer learning slide and began next school year on top. Isn’t it time we meet the needs of these students?