Do Your Kids Need a Longer School Year?

Empty Classroom
Is summer vacation a waste of valuable educational time?

Do American students need a longer school year?

Speaking to Matt Lauer on NBC’s “Today” show on Monday morning, President Obama said that among the reforms he’d like to make to the U.S. public school system is to extend the school year by a month.

“We now have our kids go to school about a month less than most other advanced countries, and that month makes a difference,” the president said. “It means that kids are losing a lot of what they learn during the school year during the summer. It’s especially severe for poorer kids who … may not see as many books in the house during the summers [and] aren’t getting as many educational opportunities.”

The president said that such a move would require an investment. “You’ve got to pay teachers, custodial staff,” he noted, “but that would be money well spent.”

What do you think? Would you like to see your kids’ school year extended by a month (think of the summer camp savings!)? Or do you think kids spend enough time in school as it is and need that unstructured downtime to roam free in the summer?

Photo: Ben+Sam