By: Bill Bosher
The City of Petersburg is looking at "year-round-schools." While Virginia school divisions have used the concept, it has typically been because of over crowding.
Critics are accurate when they note that schools are grossly underused and expensive space for three months a year… especially if you include two weeks at Christmas and a week in the Spring. While many activities occur during the summer, 85% of the staff is not on the payroll and most of the students are not in school.
Places like Prince William County Schools in Virginia and Los Angeles used the idea when they could spread 180 student-days across approximately 262 potential "work days". When new facilities were constructed, the model was abandoned.
If the idea is to increase more time for students, the resistance is predictable: cost, disruption to family calendars, summer jobs, childcare, and sports schedules.
The major pro is that students will have more time to master skills and knowledge; however, research indicates young people do not routinely achieve more if they are in school more. In reality, there is no correlation between time in school and academic performance.
Perhaps we should conclude that the idea of "more days" is not as important as what you do with the days you have. Poor quality instruction repeated only reinforces failure.
While many of us grew up with the idiom, "practice makes perfect"…in truth, practice makes permanent. Our brain is not rewired; it is hardwired!