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Pro (for)
The Contender
Con (against)

Should schools switch to the year-round schedule?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/31/2017 Category: Education
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 984 times Debate No: 102849
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Year round schools are beneficial for students.


Year round school for all of the parading it gets from those who choose to champion it has several major flaws that make it an ineffective academic tool.

I would like to offer the following definition to clarify the grounds of the debate defines year round school as an updated system in which schools continue to operate 180 days per year, but they stretch out the 180 days over the entire year and take shorter breaks between each term. The most popular form of year-round education is the 45-15 plan, where students attend school for 45 days and then get three weeks (15 days) off. let us therefore understand year round school as an education program in which students have their breaks spread across the entire year rather than a single period

Thus I offer the following contentions to negate the resolution.

Contention one. Year-Round-School does not affect learning. Students in "year-round" schools don't learn more than their peers in traditional nine-month schools, new research has found.

A sociologist at Ohio State University found that, over a full year, math and reading test scores improved about the same amount for children in year-round schools as they did for students whose schools followed a traditional nine-month calendar.

"We found that students in year-round schools learn more during the summer, when others are on vacation, but they seem to learn less than other children during the rest of the year," said Paul von Hippel, author of the study and research statistician in sociology at Ohio State.

Although school districts often adopt year-round schedules to help alleviate overcrowding, some educators have claimed that eliminating the long summer vacation will provide academic benefits for students. "The results don't support that claim," von Hippel said.

The problem with year-round schools may be that they don't actually add more school days to the 180 typically required, von Hippel said. Instead of a three-month summer vacation, year-round schools typically have several breaks of three to four weeks spread throughout the year. The total number of school days and vacation days remains unchanged, but they are distributed more evenly over the calendar.

Although school districts often adopt year-round schedules to help alleviate overcrowding, some educators have claimed that eliminating the long summer vacation will provide academic benefits for students.

"The results don't support that claim," von Hippel said.

Von Hippel presented his results Aug. 11 in New York City at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association.

One supposed benefit of year-round calendars is that they do away with the slowdown or loss of learning that students commonly experience over the summer. But "year-round schools don't really solve the problem of the summer learning setback " they simply spread it out across the year," von Hippel said.

The study used data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, a national survey conducted by the U.S. Department of Education. Von Hippel examined reading and math test scores of children in kindergarten and first grade in 748 public schools and 244 private schools from around the country.

Scores from students in 27 public schools classified as year-round (none of the private schools had a year-round calendar) were compared to scores of students in schools with traditional calendars.

Nearly all of the year-round schools were in urban and suburban areas, and most were in the West. Children attending year-round schools were mostly Hispanic and tended to be somewhat poorer than average, but their poverty was moderate rather than severe. Year-round schools also tended to have problems with overcrowding. In fact, year-round schedules are often adopted to cope with crowding. By staggering students' schedules, year-round schools can arrange for some students to be in session when others are on vacation; in this way, schools can accommodate more students than they could on a traditional nine-month calendar.

Von Hippel said he was able to take into account issues such as poverty and overcrowding when comparing scores to ensure that comparisons between test scores in year-round and traditional schools were fair.

Reading and math tests were given to students at the beginning and end of kindergarten and first grade; comparing these test scores allowed von Hippel to estimate the amount learned during kindergarten, during the summer between kindergarten and first grade, and first grade.

Over a twelve-month period, average test score gains were less than 1 percent larger in year-round than in nine month schools " which von Hippel said is "an absolutely trivial difference."

Some proponents of year-round schools argue that they may do the most good for students that come from especially poor families. This study found mixed results for that argument, he said.

Compared to other students, disadvantaged children did seem to gain slightly more in reading test scores in year-round schools than they did in nine-month schools. However, these students from poor families saw no increase in math scores in year-round compared to traditional schools.

"There may be a slight advantage for students from the poorest families in attending year-round schools, at least when it comes to improving their reading," he said. I would therefore argue that as schools that are already in a year long school program have no academic reason to switch back, they should remain the way they are and allow low-income students to attend school there. Or, if/when Education Secretary Betsy DeVos institutes a school choice program, private/charter schools would be a viable solution as well if not the best solution.

Contention two. Year-Round-School negatively affects maternal employment. Urban leaders are constantly forced to balance improving public goods for residents with making the most sustainable fiscal decisions for the area"s future. A prosperous local economy depends on an educated citizenry, but tighter budgets currently make many innovative educational initiatives unviable. Research has shown that low-income students are often those most severely affected by summer learning loss, yet elongating or redistributing the academic calendar poses complex economic consequences for both school districts and parents.

A recent study in the Journal of Urban Economics highlights some of these challenges by evaluating how the structure of the academic calendar for young children impacts maternal workforce participation. Jennifer Graves" 2013 paper, "School calendars, child care availability and maternal employment," finds that moving to a yearlong academic calendar, in which long summer vacations are traded for shorter breaks spread across the calendar year, has been shown to reduce the number of working mothers in an area"s economy. These findings can help guide policymakers when determining what is best for their individual school districts, the local economy, and financing additional childcare support options.

To arrive at her conclusions, Graves examines data from the California Department of Education and the 2000 US Census to determine maternal employment differences as a result of academic calendar formats. California provides a robust sample, as schools on the yearlong academic calendar comprise approximately 20 percent of the state"s public school enrollment and represent about 50 percent of yearlong schools nationwide. Within her sample, Graves looks at three groups: women with no children, mothers with pre-school (younger than six years old) and school-aged (ages six through 17 years old) children, and mothers with only school-aged children. The author then narrows her focus to mothers with elementary-aged children, as these parents are more likely to need to obtain childcare than mothers with only middle and high school-aged children.

The author finds mothers who have children in districts that offer schools on the year-round academic calendar are less likely to take part in the labor market than mothers with no school-aged children. The study shows that transitioning from no year-round elementary schools in a district to California"s current average of 12 percent year-round schools per district results in a decrease of 0.42-0.75 percent workforce participation for all women aged 16 and older with children attending elementary schools in the district. Of the three groups studied, mothers with both pre-school- and school-aged children are most negatively impacted. The author asserts this is because the necessity to find childcare for children with different scheduling needs can be additionally challenging.

Graves" results reinforce previous studies that have shown that school is a primary form of childcare for parents of school-aged children. In addition to regular school hours of operation, many districts have before and after school programs that help decrease the timeframe that many working parents may have to fill with supplemental childcare. Under the yearlong academic calendar, the difficulties in obtaining childcare are further exacerbated, as there are fewer care options during the intermittent school breaks. This extends not only to a lack of school-based programs, but often to community-based options as well. As reported in a 2002 Urban Institute paper by Jeffrey Capizzano et al., approximately 30 percent of school-aged children in 1999 frequented organized summer programs as a form of child care while their parents were at work. The paper also notes that the possibility of utilizing high school or college students for private care can be more difficult as the schedules of the older students may no longer mirror those of the elementary students in year-round schools. As we can see, year long school limits the employment opportunities for the mothers of students limiting the economic capabilities of not only the families involved, but the communities they call home.
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1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by passwordstipulationssuck 3 years ago
Forfeiting your own debate? lovely.
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