Business and economics correspondent for Slate Magazine Matthew Yglesias posted a commentary about the absurdity of shutting down school for the summer.  Johns Hopkins University’s Karl Alexander, Doris Entwisle, and Linda Steffel Olson reported that their research of Baltimore’s achievement gap between high- and low-socioeconomic-status students is due to differences in summer learning loss.

Many argue that year-round school is too expensive.  If education is an essential service, as Yglesias points out, taking a season off makes about as much sense as  “letting all the criminals out of jail during the summer months!”  Yglesias’ metaphor is not that far off when he makes certain facts known:

  • The average student “loses” about one month’s worth of schooling during a typical summer vacation, with the impact disproportionately concentrated among low-income students.
  • While all students lose some ground in mathematics over the summer, low-income students lose more ground in reading while their higher-income peers may even gain.
  • The impact [of academic lag from summer loss] is cumulative.
  • Poor kids tend to start school behind their middle-class peers, and then they fall further behind each and every summer, giving teachers and principals essentially no chance of closing the gap during the school year.