It seems like the whole American dream is very much dependent on the education system of America which is being held back due to the summer break.
Founder and CEO of the National Summer Learning Associates, Matthew Boulay, said, “summer is the most unequal time in America, we pour enormous amounts of resources in children learning, but much of that investment stops in the summer months."
Rich and Poor Gap Affecting Learning
A study showed that summer break hampers the learning ability of students and they lose almost a month’s equivalent knowledge. It also deepens the gap between the haves and has nots of students in the nation's educational institutes.
However, it is also seen that students that are well-off are able to retain more knowledge in the summer break compared to students that are not well-off. The lost time and knowledge are especially high for poorer peers. This leads to a wider gap between the two.
High Costs of Summer Schools
The reason that summer breaks don't affect the well-off children is that they can afford to enroll in summer school and activities which keeps them engaged.
These summer programs and camps are very cost-effective for many families. However, it created a gap in spending by up to $100,000 by the end of high school.
The losses also affect the free and reduced lunches that are being offered at schools. Summer breaks also lead to unsupervised an isolated children.
Creative solutions have to be made to solve these issues as the state faces a tight budget and there is very little federal funding to sponsor summer learning initiatives.
What must be done?
One solution that Oregon came up with is to use the resources of the schools in the summer. Though, no the classrooms. Director of OregonASK, Beth Unverzagt said, “There are the child nutrition and summer food aspect which is incredibly necessary for low-income kids, but you have to have an activity to do that, so what we did was ask the principals to keep the libraries open. We also were then able to get libraries in most cases to also become a food site, so it became a very successful partnership between child nutrition and state library systems."
Unverzagt says that summer programs can be set up in schools as the costs such as the library costs are already modest. Grants given by the National Summer Learning Association and similar nonprofit organizations help in covering the costs.