Top-performing South Korea requires 220 days of school, “22 percent more than our measly minimum of 180 days,” writes the New York Post. Are the lazy days of summer too lazy in the U.S.?
“More advantaged families . . . travel to Civil War battlefields, visit foreign cities and their art museums, and learn about the geography of the Grand Canyon,” says Jay Greene, a University of Arkansas education professor. “I’m convinced that my own kids and those of many other upper-middle-class families learn far more from those summer experiences than they do during the rest of the school year.”
But low-income kids lose a lot of learning over the summer, says Robert Pondiscio, a senior fellow at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute.
That’s why high-performing charter schools like KIPP, Democracy Prep and Success Academy have significantly longer school days and longer school years.
“When it comes to learning math and science,” Pondiscio says, “more is more.”
If school isn’t working well, more may mean more boredom. I’d prefer to see fun, educational summer programs for kids who aren’t going to be visiting the Grand Canyon.