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September 1st, 2010
08:40 AM ET

So How Do We Fix Our Schools: Are Year-Round Schools the Answer?

We’ll be tackling that question and possible solutions all this week.
And we want you to be a part of the conversation.
Do you have questions or concerns about your student as the new school year gets underway?
Share your thoughts.

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Filed under: CNN Newsroom
soundoff (92 Responses)
  1. bobbiejean1

    yes children should go to school year round.

    September 1, 2010 at 9:03 am |
  2. RF Sterling - Oklahoma City

    I'd like a 4-day work week for adults with a 4-day school week for children, which leaves a 3-day weekend for family. School should be all year, but with 1-week vacation breaks each quarter. Finish high school at age 16. Going on to college should be as automatic as going from elementary school to middle school to high school. To help reduce cost, college needs to be more specialized rather than requiring students to take additional courses not really needed for the chosen profession.

    September 1, 2010 at 9:19 am |
  3. Zachary

    Yes...School should be year-round. If you look at many other nations that have that system in place, their students are much farther ahead than ours. Besides, this school system was based on the early farming days when children were needed on the farm. Not the case anymore...

    September 1, 2010 at 9:45 am |
  4. Isaac van Bruggen--Minneapolis

    I think year round school is an excellent idea. Having a three month summer break can cause students to forget what they learned the year before and then waste time at the beginning of the following year relearning everything they forgot. Year round school would also aid in summer child care for full time parents. A model I have seen and think is great is 6 wks of school and 3 wks off. This just loops throughout the year. That way families can still take vacations.

    September 1, 2010 at 9:45 am |
  5. David Goldie

    no, summer is a importantpart of growing up. and anyway, the teachers union refuses a long school day, they wont go for a full year.

    September 1, 2010 at 9:45 am |
  6. Yvette

    its crazy for us to have a year round school.Im 13 years old and i dont really wanna go to school now so if we have year round alot of kids will be dropping out and ditching class and our education will really be screwed.

    September 1, 2010 at 9:45 am |
  7. Christoffer Aldell

    I think it sounds like a bad idea. Teenagers today are struggling enough as it is, adding year-round school will make them produce worse results than today.

    September 1, 2010 at 9:45 am |
  8. John Miller

    A longer school year won't help unless we solve the teacher quality problem first. A longer year with a poor teacher won't help.

    September 1, 2010 at 9:46 am |
  9. Year Round School?

    Kids still need a vacation. Maybe shorten it to 2 months instead of 3, but they still need a break.

    Mike Hicks
    Houston, TX

    September 1, 2010 at 9:47 am |
  10. Valerie

    I think kids should not go to school year round because they already go to school 10 months and and only get 2 months out of the whole year for a little free time. It would also be more expensive to drop the kids to school year round. We would have to pay more money for food to feed them year round. Kids should not be drowned in school work they need a little break. They should be able to enjoy their childhood while they can.

    September 1, 2010 at 9:47 am |
  11. Marcos

    I strongly belieave our children need to be prepared for the real world. Adults work year round and schedule their vacation week(s). It will definitely reduce the amount of time in the early school year (Aug/Sep) spent reviewing from a lack of educational experience during the 3 summer months.

    The Schools also should be more specialized as you move from K-6 to Middle School with very specialized High Schools that are structured similarly to College and Universities in terms of schedules, and courses.

    September 1, 2010 at 9:47 am |
  12. Mario

    I went to a year around school, and I felt gypted out of summer vacation. What kid really wants to have November, February off when the summer months are perfect for being outdoors and being active.

    September 1, 2010 at 9:47 am |
  13. joanne

    I agree with year round schooling with frequent breaks during the year. The children are far behind when they start back up in the fall, and it takes a month or so for them to catch up. By April/May, they are burnt out. Year round schooling would allow them to one, keep things fresh in their minds, allow them to have frequent breaks so they would not be burnt out, allow them to have a family vacation various times through the year without getting reported to truancy.. Now, the only problem would be childcare, camps etc. There are usually only summer camps, there would need to be something to go with the flow of the school year to allow for this, and for the parents to continue to work to support the family!

    September 1, 2010 at 9:47 am |
  14. Crystal

    I agree that school should be year round. The summer break seems to turn into amnisia for the kids. They forget so much, its like playing catch up every year they get back.

    September 1, 2010 at 9:47 am |
  15. GreenLED

    My school, Ronald Reagan School in Yuma, was the first in Arizona to go year-round in 1992 when I was in 5th grade. Most of us really liked it. It's too hot to do much here in the summer anyway, and this way we got more time off when the weather was nice. Eventually our whole district went year-round, and my junior high was 'multi-track' which allowed 25% more students in the same space, since a quarter were always on intersession. The biggest complaint was that the high school district didn't change their schedule, so families with kids in both districts had problems trying to coordinate vacations.

    September 1, 2010 at 9:47 am |
  16. Rachael

    I am a recent graduate of high school and the idea of year round school, from a student's perspective, is impossible. We need the break to let our minds rest and recover. The information that is supposedly "lost" during the summer break is not lost but merely put on the back burner, and the first week of school, it all comes back. If we go year round, there will be no time for summer camp, family vacations, etc and those are generally character building and provide family bonding time. Keep things the way they are because it's worked for me for 12 years.

    September 1, 2010 at 9:47 am |
  17. Eric

    for preschoolers and elemnetary cares should, but i dont think high school with those who need to do part time jobs and helping if the high school students who are to work more time to earn money in the summary to pay for college.

    September 1, 2010 at 9:48 am |
  18. Raj Penn

    Hey TJ, I think going to school year round is a good idea, the world has changed since summer vacation was implemented. With communities struggling to find and pay for programs for kids. This would be a great way for them to keep occupied and stay out of trouble, and it would help American kids compete in this Global economy

    September 1, 2010 at 9:48 am |
  19. jr from Ky

    Yes I am all for it, as long as there is some lead-way for vacations. Business must space out vacation time so they can operate. Most people want to travel when the weather is good.

    September 1, 2010 at 9:49 am |
  20. Bill

    In today's work environment, both parents are working to make ends meet. A year round calendar, will help parents with baby-sitting. After all, that is what most parents are looking for in their schools, isn't it?

    September 1, 2010 at 9:49 am |
  21. Jackson Brock

    Absolutely school should be year 'round. The current system comes from the days of summer farm work. I don't know too many people who even know where their food comes from today. And by the way, let's insist that in the change to year 'round studies, the national budgets for education be swapped with the military budget. Enough rattling rockets–rattle some pencils!!

    September 1, 2010 at 9:49 am |
  22. Julio, NJ

    1) Some school's curriculum are to by-the-book and need to let teachers more freedom to implement their own teaching techniques to bring spice into the teaching hours and keep motivation up. Being restrained too much, in my opinion, makes teachers unmotivated to teach. 2) Idealize and bring forth a plan to be able to identify and compensate teachers that truly love to teach and put them at the front of the hiring line. *Listen to students when they say that teachers are not paying enough attention to the them in the classroom. Teachers need to show that they care about the students. 3) One economic solution I see is to TAX TAX TAX those that already have too much. 4 ) Introduce encouragement at the classroom level for students to become entrepreneur instead of employees once graduated, and motivate to start small businesses even while in school year. Education that is free, secular and obligatory.

    September 1, 2010 at 9:49 am |
  23. Ron

    I think year round schools are a good choice for some children not all. I have 2 girls ages 10 and 8 in 5th and 3rd grade. They were in year round school since beginning elementary 3 and 5 years ago and it was rough. School and work schedules were difficult to keep track of. They started the traditional track last week with the same elementary school in Utah.

    September 1, 2010 at 9:49 am |
  24. Anne Robertson

    We have year-round elementary and middle schools in Raleigh, NC. I believe the 4 offered schedules, called "tracks," offer students and teachers needed vacation breaks and improve attention and motivation. It's helped the budget crisis that we faced years ago with population increases in our area – we didn't have to spend tax money to build new schools. For the most part, we are permitted to choose our own track, which allows us to have the preferred schedule to still support vacations and downtime. Area camps and enrichment activities adjusted their offerings to allow working parents to utilize needed resources found during traditional summer weeks. Our family loves it!

    September 1, 2010 at 9:50 am |
  25. Katie

    Going to school year round keeps kids out of trouble. While some families can afford to send children to learning camps during the summer, most families cannot and are not even home during the summer to spend time with their children. These kids are left to their own devices and lose many things by having so much down time during the summer months. Even though I enjoyed summer vacation when I was younger, I can honestly say that staying in school throughout the summer with smaller breaks would have kept me more involved in my studies and more social with my peers.

    September 1, 2010 at 9:50 am |
  26. Kristie Hewitt

    I believe that the year round school helps kids. They have a shorter time to forget things, they do not have to spend time repeating what they learned they year before. It breaks up the monotony of going every day. I would love for a year round school where i live now. My kids did have a year round school in washington when we lived there.

    September 1, 2010 at 9:50 am |
  27. Geushia

    I am the mother of six adopted and one natural child. I currently have five children in school grades k5 thru 11th. I have wanted the schools to be year round forever. I also believe the school day should be longer, this would help with kids have nothiong to do in the afternoon and we could offer so many of the cut programs back into the school.

    Schools could have 90 minutes core classes in the morning this would not alter the current teachers schedules much and the afternoon could be shifted to bring back in the arts, sports and music.
    We could start in the junior high years offering training to prepare kids for the future. Testing could be done and kids should be able to be on a college track or a vocational training track. This could be done with the help of businesses and colleges. We need to upgrade our children or we as a society will not have a future.

    September 1, 2010 at 9:50 am |
  28. Ken

    I do not support year round schooling. Children are in school from August through May where I live. The summer break from the end May of through the end of August provides much needed family time, recreation, and opportunities to engage in other activities that help children become well rounded.

    September 1, 2010 at 9:52 am |
  29. cristina m

    the long summer makes kids lazy for studying. they lose the study habits (incl. daily reading, writing, and schedule) they practiced throughout the year, making it harder for them to get back in the rhythm (and parents, as well) when school comes back around.

    it also limits parents' vacationing to summer time or winter break only. a year-round schedule would give parents more opportunities throughout the year to vacation for longer than a week or being forced to vacation only during christmas/thanksgiving/new years and summer. those forced vacation times drive up the prices, making those forced times more expensive for parents.

    September 1, 2010 at 9:52 am |
  30. Carol Husted

    I think the year round schools is a bad idea. The children need the break from constant studying. Plus there is the fact that a lot of children with the single parent issue use that time to spend with the noncustodial parent which is very, very important. If they did it this way, that would be taken away. I am totally against year round schools.

    September 1, 2010 at 9:52 am |
  31. cj

    no one can honestly say that the current summer break does not have an adverse effect on our school system. we are falling behind in a world where most students in the world attend school for at least 200 days!

    September 1, 2010 at 9:53 am |
  32. Zachary

    I feel Tina Bruno is wrong. How about our kids spend more days in the classroom? Maybe 210 days, but cut the time from 9:30 am to 2:30 pm? That will allow the Teachers, bless their hearts, who are dramatically underpaid, to keep their sanity. My wife is a Teacher, and it seems this traditional system is just not working for this day and age.

    September 1, 2010 at 9:53 am |
  33. James Woodson

    The summers-off approach enabled students to help their families during the harvest season. Few do so today. Possible advantages include:

    -short school days year round allowing more time for after-school activities like sports and music instruction.

    – lower daycare costs for families paying for such over the summer.

    – more time for outside employment for parents caring for their children over the summer.

    – Higher teacher salary for year-round employment, perhaps attracting better teachers.

    September 1, 2010 at 9:53 am |
  34. Bob in Texas

    Year round schools are a good idea IF, we're willing to change how we do schooling AND if we're willing to pay teachers for the additional classroom hours.

    The eighteenth century model of education is no longer functional. We have to wake up to the 21st century in terms of how we do education. Computers have given us enormous opportunities to grow better smarter kids, but school districts and the DOE have barely a clue as to how to effectively use them. The point is, more of the same isn't going to result in smarter kids. We need to improve how we deliver education first, then worry about expanding the school year.

    Teacher salaries must reflect the increase in workload that comes with year round school or it simply won't work. Other additional costs such as transportation and utilities must also be considered, not to mention additional support staff (ie janitors, physical plant employees, etc.) also have to be considered.

    The point is, let's try improving what we've got before adding more.

    September 1, 2010 at 9:54 am |
  35. J. R.

    Summer vacations where some of the best times of my life, they where magical. We took long family trips and I also made life long friendships. I am 50 years old and I think about my childhood and those summers all the time. It was heaven on earth , specially when girls became attractive. Going swimming , riding bikes , etc. It would be an absolute tragedy to take that away from kids. They have got to be able to be kids. Look at it this way, how would you like to go to school for 12 straight years then ether get out and go to College or work and then work the rest of your life. What a depressing thought.

    September 1, 2010 at 9:54 am |
  36. Kristie Hewitt

    It was easier for me to find child care when my kids went year round

    September 1, 2010 at 9:55 am |
  37. W. Scott Lewis

    If 11-12 weeks of summer vacation is enough for students to forget much of what they're taught during the 40-41 weeks of the school year, the question we need to ask ourselves is "Are teachers doing an adequate job of ensuring that students actually LEARN the material?" If students are actually learning the material, as opposed to simply memorizing it long enough to pass a test, they shouldn't forget it in just two to three months.

    September 1, 2010 at 9:56 am |
  38. Natalie

    If anything students should have more time off to spend more quality time with the family. Students are really pressured during the school year and need some time off. I highly disagree with having students going to school all year round

    September 1, 2010 at 9:56 am |
  39. berta

    Our daughters have been attending year round school for the past two years. We love the one month summer break. We go to the the beach for two weeks, and then we start prepping for school. They have a two week break in September, and a longer Christmas break. In North Carolina we have the option thank God.

    September 1, 2010 at 9:57 am |
  40. Jim Davison

    We no longer need as many people to help with harvest and, in many cases, teens have been legislated out of the fields anyway. It only makes sense to modify school schedules. Allowing 3 week breaks four times a year also makes sense for family vacations based on interests without removing students from classes. Less time out of school also means less learning loss than during a summer break.

    September 1, 2010 at 9:58 am |
  41. Duane

    There is no reason for kids to attaed school year round. A lot of parents favor it because they are too lazy to care for their children and want to use the school as a babysitter.

    Schools want year round schedules because they know they do a horrendous job of getting students to retain material. They want to punish the kids for their own incompetence.

    The best bet? Home school your children. They will get a much better education and you don't have to deal with people who are only interested in money and couldn't care less about your kids.

    September 1, 2010 at 9:58 am |
  42. Martha Kammerdeiner

    TJ when do kids get to be kids if all they get is school. it will weed out the teachers that are in there to have the summers off, but thinking of the kids there minds need a rest and need to be given the time to be a kid before they go out in the world

    September 1, 2010 at 9:59 am |
  43. Robert Frederick

    Year-round schools CAN be beneficial...but by cutting class size and basically using the facilities and teachers year-round....two 180 day sessions per year. As it is, the buildings sit empty half the year...I went to a college that operated on that principle. It SHOULD go without saying that our kids need more education...either longer school days or longer school years. But the legislators who can make that happen do not WANT that, because a well-educated electorate would not accept the shoddy excuse for governance that we have at all levels now and would turn them out of office.

    September 1, 2010 at 9:59 am |
  44. Vinnie Oliver

    I just have to say, people in the United States wonder and complain about other countries being smarter than us, I feel that if we did have a school schedule like China's we would be the best in the world not doubt about it. I believe people need to start looking at the big picture, what is it going to take for the US to become again the strongest nation in the world.

    September 1, 2010 at 10:00 am |
  45. Elizabeth Harding

    It is time for the people of the United States to realize that for us to compete in the international job markets we need an educated work force. Americans are resting on their laurels which are eroding and breaking down underneath them. The education gap is strengthening the economic gap. The rich get educated and get richer, the rest of the population survives the best they can. Fight for more education and longer school years. Year round school years have merit by offering intense learning and less loss of retention. Making the classroom a year-round schedule provides a more work-like atmosphere....and it is time to face that education is a job, hopefully one our children will enjoy.

    September 1, 2010 at 10:01 am |
  46. rey

    i think that we have spoiled our children.we are way back when it comes to education.we are going to regret the way we teach our children in the future. i'm all for year round school.

    September 1, 2010 at 10:01 am |
  47. Bill

    One should consider the impact of year round schools with regards to the whole family. If the mother or father are teachers or college professors and are on different rotations than the child, there is a possibility of no quality family time/vacation time. Also, children in different schools with different schedules could miss summer opportunities such as summer camp, vacation bible school, etc.

    September 1, 2010 at 10:01 am |
  48. Diane

    Year round school would be the final death blow to family time and the final blow to the opportunity of time to be a child!
    This is all about free babysitting. More "scheduled" kid time. Is it any wonder we've already got a generation of over-diagnosed, over medicated, over stressed kids?

    Also, do we need this extra time to learn more pointless information like advanced trigonometry? Yet kids grow up having no idea how the stock market or free enterprise system works....much less anything like American history. So other than babysitting, what is the benefit?

    I work in an urban school district: Until parents and schools get as militant about demanding proper behavior (from both parents and kids) as they are about demanding more programs and benefits, this is all just fluff. If a kid (and parent) is not punished for bad behavior, all the time and programs in the world won't make a difference.

    September 1, 2010 at 10:01 am |
  49. CB Gilbert

    i just heard "time on task". In other words, children aren't learning unless their bottoms are in a seat and the teacher reads from a prescribed manual. No opportunity for a child to ask a question, ponder a thought, express an opinion. The old factory model of how many widgets can a worker produce in a day method.
    Yes, I know of what I speak. I currently work in the schools and started my work life in a factory to earn my way through college.
    Why do we want to continue training our children based on this model?
    As for the current calendar, based on the growing season of most areas of the US. Children were needed to work the crops, just ask my husband who drove tractors before age 6. How many children do that now? We tried the year round calendar when my child was in grades 2-5. Wonderful experience. More time as a family, time for travel, visits to grandparents. No down side.

    September 1, 2010 at 10:03 am |
  50. John Miller

    It would be interesting to interview foreign exchange students from countries that rank higher in education than we do. I was lucky to get to know an exchange student from South Korea last year. Of course S. Korea ranks much higher than the US in education. To summarize her thoughts:
    1. Lack of disipline in our schools.
    2. Why doesn't everyone doesn't go on to college?
    3. Can't believe how easy the subjects are.
    I followed her on facebook when she got back to S. Korea in June. Of course she went right back to school.

    September 1, 2010 at 10:03 am |
  51. Emily Porter

    As a former teacher I have seen the increasing need for more quality time in the classroom. A major stumbling block to this idea is paying for it. U S teachers are sorely underpaid and often do not receive even a cost of living increase each year. Who will pay for this?
    And to your suggestion that kids should be asked about year round about asking them if they'd like an early bedtime?

    September 1, 2010 at 10:03 am |
  52. Mike Awalt

    I was just watching your two commentators and have two comments of my own.
    First, did you notice that the gentleman did NOT have any research supporting advantages of year-round school? Instead, he ignored your direct question and talked about how many years experience he has and how he has noticed changes. His support is anecdotal [subjective], not research based and objective.
    Second, you noted that German schools go to school more days than US schools. However, you may not know that many German schools dismiss students much earlier than US schools do. For example, elementary students in Bitburg, Germany, would be dismissed right around noon and went home for lunch [the school did not serve it] and stayed home. Such incidents of fewer-minutes-per-day hold true in Italy and may also hold true in some of the other countries your reporter showed on-screen.

    September 1, 2010 at 10:04 am |
  53. Master Taylor

    The countries that were mentioned in comparison to the number of days kids stay in schools.

    1. These countries also utilize their national sports as a way of the creativity of their students mind in becoming more productive in their communities.

    2. Our schools are eliminating skills people that are educated in music and alternative activities for after school program that help keep kids from the streets and longer on campus in doing productive activities.

    Whats more important, the cost of putting more jails up to get rid of trouble youth that become bad adults or enhrich our youth from grade one with education to compete with countries that have year round schools.

    example, is Golf a problem in teaching youth about themselves on Saturdays and Sundays???

    example as a martial arts instructor we have tournaments for all ages on Saturdays that students learn their skills in the Martial arts that may compete on an international level.

    These activities are rewards for kids doing well with their school work.'

    Master Perry J.Taylor Sr.
    Richmond, California,.

    September 1, 2010 at 10:05 am |
  54. Renee White

    Year round schooling will not be a resolution to the troubled school system. I believe that if education was embraced as it was back in the day, our children would receive a better education. The children are the future and the school system is really damaging the future. Allow the teachers to have control of their classrooms, administration should support instructor's in dealing with students with problematic behavior and parents should be held responsible for their childs education. Hire teachers that are really committed to making a positive difference in their school and schools community. Students that do not embrace learning should be sent to the military. This will decrease the "drop out", reduce neighborhood crime and allow those that are serious about their education to be educated!

    September 1, 2010 at 10:06 am |
  55. Deb Lial

    Why do grade school teachers need a college degree? B or better in High School and two years "teaching skills" in community college. Could pay teachers less, put more in the classroom, have smaller classes (maybe 10 kids per teacher). Kids get more concentrated attention. Smaller schools may allow for parental choice, also. How about use aids or volunteers at lower levels, so the more immature kids with attention issues, get one-on-one (reitred people volunteer a few hours/week). How about year round until 5PM (like parent's schedule). with two big midday breaks –one for lunch, one for games/excercise/sports, et al. Lastly, bad kids go home. In summary–more concentrated time with kids AND more parental accountability/choice in schools

    September 1, 2010 at 10:06 am |
  56. W. Scott Lewis

    What RF Sterling seems to be suggesting is shifting the emphasis of higher education from universities to trade schools.

    Part of the problem with our collegiate system is that college is now viewed by many students, parents, and employers as a trade school, even though that's a far cry from what it was originally intended to be. Most undergraduate degree programs (with the exception of engineering degrees) are designed to provide a broad liberal education. They are designed to better prepare individuals for certain job fields but don't actually provide job training.

    September 1, 2010 at 10:08 am |
  57. Jay Ash

    I feel schools needs to teach kids how to be more financially independent and less dependent on the system/government, which is how they're being taught now. Incorporate some financial courses in classes. Schools should teach kids how to count, manage money, and how money can work for them.

    Also, history books should not be so biased. More books should show all the contributions African Americans made to help this country succeed, and also those of different races. The history books lean more towards whites.

    September 1, 2010 at 10:08 am |
  58. Alicia Balmoja

    Yes! Yes! Yes! School should be year around. Our family use to live in Hawaii where it is year around, it is much better for the children as far as retention. We had more frequent breaks, which helps with burn out. We live in New Mexico now and have the traditional school year, I am seeing first hand the effects on my children from being off all summer. One, they get bored and have a much harder time getting back into the swing of things once school finally starts. It is proven that kids need frequent repetition to be successful. We need to get it together and have year round school.

    September 1, 2010 at 10:09 am |
  59. kwest

    They should absolutely go to school all year long. I have three children with the oldest starting college this week and the youngest starting Kindergarten next week. I can tell you from experience that what took all year to learn they forget in the six weeks of summer vacation. Unfortunately since each grade builds on the last that means teachers must spend the next several weeks reviewing from the previous year before they can move on to new material.

    Kids just get bored. Keep them in school and keep them active. There is no lack of material that they need to learn.

    Another aspect to consider is that in most families that have two parents, both those parents work outside the home so when summer break comes around it makes for hardship on the family because daycare must be secured or older children are left unattended making for a divided focus on the parents and a reduced capacity for quality work performance.

    The big obstacle to year 'round school would most likely be the teachers union. Let's face it. We used to be a mostly agrarian society and our school cycle is built around that notion. Those times are long gone now and children are rarely in the fields working these days. Put them in school all year so we can build a solid nation of thinkers that become leaders and doers.

    September 1, 2010 at 10:09 am |
  60. Eva

    Countries in South America have succesful year round schools. It all derives from lazy teachers who have their comfortable year round schedule
    Why would you want to give away your summer to go work?
    Surely our standards in both public and private schools are failing our future as a country and our future generations.
    Your comparison to other countries speaks for itself!
    I also think they should have uniforms.
    Another thing to consider is how it would positively would affect our economy a nd production at work for parents; not having to worry about summer daycare, and having children in a long day 8-5 school all year round would also keep children out of trouble. Who doesnt this impact in a positive way? TEACHERS!

    September 1, 2010 at 10:10 am |
  61. Lesley Tripp

    Both my children and I have had the opportunity to participate in both scheduling situations. What I have found is the summer break leaves my children eager to return to school functions whereas a shorter break lead to protest. In a year round situation, days off shift yearly based on a "track" assignment which makes childcare, custody and vacation situations hard to plan for. Also putting a child to bed while they can still hear and see"off-track" children playing in the street outside is very difficult. Friendships are torn and deep emotional connections are never made. Not to mention that the amount of work that is required for school upkeep can not be completed during those few precious weeks that all students are "off track."

    September 1, 2010 at 10:12 am |
  62. V.J.

    I think year round school is good for the "cooler states." Here in Texas when temperatures rise to 100 and 112 – 120 with the heat index, the utility bills in schools would be outrageously expensive. I believe a longer school day but only 4 days per week would be better, would help with commute times and allow families to spend more time together. However, there would have to be some type of program for families that work 5 days per week and do not provide for their kids in the form of food, etc on that 5th day of the week. There are a lot of dead beat parents and for those children school is their refuge. Also, employers from businesses to hospitals, etc would have to allow for job flexibility for a 4 day work week or it would not work.

    I also think PE should be mandatory from Pre-K through Senior year of HS. I also believe a revitalization of home economic programs from elementary through HS should take place. Skills such as cooking, balancing a check book, caring for the home,, personal finance, child care, basic health care, and topics such as changing a flat tire, changing your oil, importance of annual physicals, dental exams, eye exams, anger management and in general developing coping skills, etc. are the types of courses that are needed to be taught in a home economics setting because they are no longer being taught at home and children who are now adults are not thriving well due to ignorance of these subjects. These are life skills. I am a dietitian and I can tell you that most kids and many adults I see have a difficult time distinguishing a fruit from a vegetable. The obesity issue and lack of understanding of personal financing is leaving our society very ignorant and less respected.

    I also believe Pre-K programs should be open to all regardless of income and language skills.

    Also, for any school program to work parents have to reinforce what their children are taught in school. I think public schools should have a mentor program where families are matched with families that are entering the school system so one family can mentor another family. Of course this would be on a volunteer basis initially and gradually transitioned to a mandatory program for all families. Teachers can only do so much but if a child goes home every night and every weekend to a bad family environment then the child will not thrive.

    September 1, 2010 at 10:16 am |
  63. LaPicketts

    No, there is enough structured time during the year for a formal education. Children need time for unstructured activities and free choice activities. They need time to spend with family and observe, learn and interact with their community and the world around them. They learn to transition from the school year in and out and emotionally and creatively grow. Their bodies are growing and they need time to adjust in many ways. Children need time for their childhood. However, summers off from school is a time for children and parents to continue reading and explore and do as well as rest.

    It is not necessarily true that we should have a straight line on the education scores and focused solely on that as a goal.Children, as has been said by parents for ages, go through stages. They learn and go forward and slip back and go forward again. This may be more human and necessary for developing our full potential. Summers give some students a chance to catch up to their grade.

    I think it has been said that this country's leadership in the world economy is bolstered by innovation and compassion.. To continue this trend, we need to be treat our future generations like our most important investment and with respect and each one like a whole person. They, in turn, will act on shared values, individual responsibility, and working with others for the benefit of the community.

    Give parents a dollar for dollar tax break on the education and approved activities for their children. We should all encourage children during the summer to go to museums, see, read and do. Parents need a real financial break so they can spend more time with their children or afford more quality activities and caregivers. Thank you for asking on this important subject and let us hope further discussions will take place.

    September 1, 2010 at 10:20 am |
  64. Jim in Illinois

    Remember, most U.S. public schools are doing a great job for their students despite our challenges.
    Compare time in school with Japan and other nations at the same time you compare test scores. Compare the percentage of the GNP spent on education too. Good education costs money. Those nations beating the U.S. in test scores spend a lot more on education and support their educators more than in the U.S. And, don't forget to compare how many levels of government oversee education in the United States and in other nations.

    September 1, 2010 at 10:22 am |
  65. AM

    Clearly more of the same isn't the answer. Adding days to the school year will take dollars away from programs that would really help kids – like after-school tutoring, mentoring, etc. The average length of the school year has been increasing in the US while student achievement has gone down.

    Children need opportunities for learning and growth outside the classroom. The mom from Texas had it right – there are no programs for children outside the summer months.

    Children don't need more school they need more education, and as Mark Twain said, "I never let my schooling interfere with my education."

    September 1, 2010 at 10:28 am |
  66. Cynthia Falu

    Year round school, with additional days beyond the current 180, would help improve the unfortunate decline of our educational system. Children lose basic skills over the long summer break. I spent time with my children, enjoying various enrichment activites over the long summer break. I also required them to have daily reading and writing time. Many parents are unable to do this wirh their children. Additionally, several breaks throughout the year would enable families to enjoy other seasonally-based activities, such as skiing in the winter.

    September 1, 2010 at 10:29 am |
  67. David Thelen

    I feel having year round schools is an excellent idea. The following are ideas to help pay for year round schools and the problems it can prevent.
    First, summer heat can sometimes cause negative human behavior or conflict between groups of people. Many rental properties do not have central AC. This causes many people to just “hang” outdoors in the evening at parks in the summer months. Perhaps if we increase summer opportunities for students to stay busy in cool environments: this may reduce the problems of the youth just hanging out. Year round schools would be a solution to this problem.
    Second, investments need to be made for many schools. Many schools still do not have central AC. Many new jobs could be created for installing these AC units that run on alternative energy. I have seen where there are a few dozen different roof top wind turbines for sale by companies. Just google it to find the many different designs. Many new rooftop wind turbines could be installed on many school buildings. These would cool the schools in the summer.
    Third, as a solution to the problem of no central AC in many homes, the following is proposed. Perhaps larger wind turbines, geothermal projects and larger solar energy panels could be installed on the grounds of some of these schools. They could not only power the school, it could power several homes in the area at a greatly reduced rate. Perhaps several cooling stations could also be installed in many neighborhoods. These stations may include fans with blowing water mists powered by this alternative energy power equipment. Jobs would be created in manufacturing, distributing and installing this alternative energy equipment and AC systems. Idle teens could be hired for these new jobs created.
    Year round schools is an excellent idea: especially if the schools provide cool environments for many during the heat of the summer.

    September 1, 2010 at 10:30 am |
  68. Rachel

    Traditional schooling does not prepare children for the real world. There are no 2 plus months breaks in life. Irresponsibility is learned during summer breaks and this slacking-off habit will continue into adulthood. Commitment and consistency is necessary to provide a sense of purpose as a contributing member of society.

    September 1, 2010 at 10:34 am |
  69. Jeff

    I am a retired public school teacher who experienced teaching in a year-round school. Students were in attendance on a 45-15 schedule, that is 45 days of instruction with a 15 school day break. This was necessary to house more students in each building because of classroom shortage.( One group of students were always out on vacation, while the other groups attended classes.). I did not "track" with a certain group of students, but taught all of the groups, so I only had one week of vacation per year. An unmentioned fact about the school buildings being used on a year-round basis is that the requied maintenence usually carried out during a traditional summer break cannot be done, resulting in a continual degredation of the physical school building. Also, students returning from their 15 day vacation often requied many class periods of rewiew of subject matter, having forgotten much of even recent instruction. The toll on a teacher's mental and physical health having to teach year round is also an issue, as we are all aware of the concept of "burnout" which increased on a year-round schedule. Many teachers could not attend required college courses needed to keep their teaching certifications up to date, as many of these courses are only offered during the summer break. You ask that students be asked about their choices in this matter, but that is a non issue. We as adults in this nation are passing along too much decision making responsibilites onto our children. School personnel are the only people who should be involved in this decision. And lastly...are school systems willing to pay their teachers and support personnel the extra money that will be needed for the extra time? Teachers are only paid for the days they work, not for 12 months, even though their salaries are spread out over a 12 month period. Most people in this nation think that teachers are paid for days they do not work. Want to improve the nations' schools? Start with restoring effective discipline, reducing student/teacher ratios and paying teachers on an equitable basis for the amount of education they have plus hold parents/guardians and school personnel accountable.

    September 1, 2010 at 10:35 am |
  70. carol duffin

    As the mother of three school age children, I am adamantly opposed to year round school. School should start close to Labor Day and end close to Memorial Day or the beginning of June. A full summer offers many wonderful learning experiences that cannot be taught in the classrooms. HIgh school students and school employees need a full summer to maximize earning potential. Seasonal businesses rely on the summer business for their livlihood. Stop all these ridiculous days off here and there and get back to a traditional school calendar!

    September 1, 2010 at 10:36 am |
  71. Kelly

    Schools should not be year round. Standards are needed. Schools and teachers are more worried about passing exams than the education of the students. My son is entering the 4th grade and still has not been given proper instruction on how to write cursive. His handwriting is horrible because this is not part of the standard, and he is penalized for poor writing. When he left 3rd grade he was just starting to multiply whereas another third grade class was starting to complete division. Standards are needed at a school level, district level, state level and national level.
    Why when looking to purchase a math book online for my son is there a different version depending on the state I live in? Why are students still using books that are 20 years old? Some teachers spend so much time trying to make the learning fun and rewarding that more time is being spent on the rewards then the learning. Every student should be given equal learning. It might sound so simple but standards are needed.

    September 1, 2010 at 10:41 am |
  72. shelley shackelford - kentucky

    Our school district has held year round schooling for a few years now. I don't have any official data other than my own families' experience. The children have a couple of weeks off for fall, winter, and spring break, with a few additional weeks off for summer break. This actually has some advantages. It seems that the children (especially the youbger ones) retain more that they have been taught. Year round schooling can allow a little more flexabilit for family travel.

    September 1, 2010 at 10:43 am |
  73. Mark Johnson

    I believe that there should be year round school. I think that kids have too much idle time on their hands during the summer that would be better used learning. Kids in Minnesota don't go back until after Labor Day after getting out in early June! I know three kids up there now who don't know what to do with all of this time, and their mother would sure like them to be back in school learning! Maybe that is why we have some weird Republican politicians up there! They were not in school long enough! The point is, lets pull ahead of the rest of the world. Year round school works well!

    September 1, 2010 at 10:45 am |
  74. shelley shackelford - kentucky

    Our school district has held year round schooling for a few years now. I don't have any official data other than my own families' experience. The children have a couple of weeks off for fall, winter, and spring break, with a few additional weeks off for summer break. This actually has some advantages. It seems that the children (especially the younger ones) retain more that they have been taught. Year round schooling can also allow a little more flexibility for family travel.

    September 1, 2010 at 10:45 am |
  75. Katie V

    As a person how graduated high school nearly 5 years ago I first would like to know why we would be able to afford to have the school run all year long when we can barely afford to run it now? Also instead of wasting the money to have the school year be a full year why not just put the money that would be used for that into the schedule of the school now. If we put more money into the schools and forgot this "no child left behind" crap. I was in school when Bush put that into effect and and it does more harm than good. Why not give the kids who stay in school the best education they can get, rather than try to get everyone to stay in school. It helps no one out really, I mean I would rather feel proud of the education I got and feel as though I earned my diploma, instead just coasted my way through high school and feel I got shafted in the education that I deserved and my fellow classmates deserved.

    September 1, 2010 at 11:10 am |
  76. Elise Skinner

    There shouldn't be year round schools. You guys should really think about what we think , putting us in school for a year round isnt going to help most of us-kids- what your trying to do is make us educational people insted of us reaching for our dreams and going on our on path for what we want to be ; all the breaks that we get during school already, isnt enough thats why we have summer vacation; so we can do other things besides think of school. Most people want us kids to grow up and stop acting like babies and learn to be an adult when we're only 7! throwing us in school for a longer time will only make us educational kids that will soon be wearing suits and off to work as anormal person doing a boring job like taking calls for and getting treated badly from the boss; and we forget about all the things we thougt about being when we were little. so try thinking before you ruin some of our lives when its al ready ruined.
    Now some of you adults and -rich or poor – might not aford having your child or children go to school. driving your kids to school and then back home or work might take up alot of gas even when the price for gas is going up as it is. Then some families might be going through buget or financial problems, and want their child to go to school but has to deal with money issuesunemployment,;and etc. things . Finally, there are the schools, schools haveto have books classroom supplies,bond vots for new schools due to to many kids in one school and other things;normally the county would raise up taxes and paying for the things just like that. That's taking money from our parent and other adults , probubly causing some financial issues.
    One more thing just because I'm 13 doesn;t mean I don't know what I'm talking about . And I would really appreciate it if you would read my comment even though it's long. THANK YOU!!!!!!!! 😀

    September 1, 2010 at 11:21 am |
  77. LJ Burton

    Teachers need the time off. Most I know take additional courses during the summer to enhance their teaching skills. I think that's the most important aspect of the break in school year.

    September 1, 2010 at 11:37 am |
  78. Gail

    I would fix our schools by implementing the School Development Process developed by child psychiatrist Dr. James P. Comer and his colleagues at the Yale Child Study Center. This is a process that has produced positive outcomes for the school, student and parents in grades K-12. Competing for educational funds are not enough without a process that will ensure a collaboration among all stakeholders. I recommend that the CNN research team explore and report on this phenomenal concept.

    September 1, 2010 at 11:37 am |
  79. Jeannette

    We need to compete with the world, and in order to do that we need to have shorter summers, longer school years and more customized instruction. Every student's brain is wired differently and develops at different rates in different people. Some of the things we need to look at doing is not have grade structures based on age but on readiness. We also should look at all the brain research and develop learning techniques accordingly. It makes no sense to flood students with facts and figures they will ultimately forget because the teacher failed to present them in a way that made them have a lasting impression. Information needs to be presented gradually and repeated several times in order to be remembered. We can use the added instructional hours through out the year to re-expose students to the material through exploration, repetition and gradually incorporating more complex material.

    September 1, 2010 at 11:42 am |
  80. Gene Lucas

    It doesn't matter. What matters is how much time students spend on-task, actually learning. School is important, and students need to know that – by heart.

    September 1, 2010 at 12:01 pm |
  81. CB Gilbert

    How many parents use the lazy, crazy days of summer to spend time with their children? Do these parents have from the end of May till the day after Labor Day off, too? What activities do they have to keep the children active and engaged? How many family vacations do they take during these long summer months?
    Are the children sent to summer camp all summer or for a few weeks? Are they signed up at the local library for the summer reading program?
    We don't live in a Norman Rockwell painting. Mom dosen't always get to stay home. Dad isn't in his office by 9 and home by 6. Towns and cities don't have swimming pools, sports activities, art activities for every child.
    In the real world, Mom works one shift, Dad another. Or both work 2 jobs. Children are left to their own devices.
    Think about what you and your family really did back in the 60's, 70's, 80's, 90's, 00's. Did you really spend that much time with your kids or did you work to put food on the table?

    September 1, 2010 at 12:20 pm |
  82. Rachel Ross

    Year round school sounds like a good idea to me! I'm going to be a sophomore in high school this year, and I know I would benefit a lot from not having a huge break in my education every year when I forget a lot of what I learned the year before. But, I think the only real answer to improve education in the US is to add school days. We simply can't compete in this global economy when people our age in other parts of the world spend about 240 days a year in school. We need to be prepared, so put us in school year round!

    September 1, 2010 at 1:23 pm |
  83. Christine Lockwood

    Year round schooling caused extreme hardship for me. It was very difficult to find a sitter. If my children had off in the summer it was a much easier schedule for me to work with also. As far as it fixing our schools I don't know but I do think kids and teachers need at least a two month break once a year.

    September 1, 2010 at 5:15 pm |

    US EDUCATION is the most fragmented in the entire world: US needs to follow the example and format of successful school systems. In these systems children remain in one school for most of the first 7 or 8 years . They are competitively examined at the end of the 7 or eight year period. Teacher success is evaluated according to the way they prepare students to leap from primary to secondary level by passing this one all important examination. The exam is independently set and independently marked and course work is not considered. The high school places are competed for. they are not offered automatically and those for fail to make the cut fail out and repeat the whole final year to try and improve their grade or find something else to do!
    Unless US students are deeply convinced that education is valuable they will never work hard or be motivated to.
    Unless parents are convinced that school places are going to be hard to get they will never be involved in their children's future.JUST STOP CURDLING THESE TWO POPULATIONS! STUDENTS AND PARENTS .MAKE good schools hard to get into and a culture of hard work will begin to grow!
    The answer lies in one NATIONWIDE INDEPENDENT EXAM for all grade schoolers , and not a piecemeal State by State affair. Instead of wasting money evaluating school performance based on defective systems spend money creating a better system!

    September 1, 2010 at 11:01 pm |
  85. Lucy E. Donald

    I see the issue with education as two things:
    1. The use of teaching techniques is limited to memorisation. This is not a good learning technique as we can often remember things but can not then apply them to real life scenarios. We need to focus on using differential teaching techniques.
    2. The lack of aspiration. Students do not understand the power of impact they have in the world. Often their ideals are limited to what they see as 'realistic' as opposed to reaching for something higher! We should all encourage them to be the best they can be.

    However, I believe some of the issues surrounding education would be resolved if people read. The power of literature and reading soothes the soul and encourages humanity.

    September 2, 2010 at 4:35 am |
  86. Joellen Putnam

    I believe that abolishing tenure is key to fixing our schools. In my town of Cheshire, CT, an affluent community with highly rated schools, the math department has been plagued for years with teachers who do not teach. As a result, even the best math students are forced to hire expensive math tutors. This is completely unacceptable. Parents have fought the administration on this for years with no success because they say there is nothing that can be done – these teachers have tenure. Those who can't afford tutors are left behind. Our nation severely lags in math and science. We cannot afford to keep teachers who do not adequately prepare our students for the future! ABOLISH TENURE!

    September 3, 2010 at 8:33 am |
  87. Lori Castle

    It all needs to start at home. My husband is a teacher and I can't believe the excuses parents give him for their child not doing their homework or studying for a test. How many kids have TVs, computers, cell phones, game playing systems, etc. in their rooms? Yet, these things couldn't possibly be taken away by some parents to motivate their child to do his homework. When my husband suggested this to one mother who was stating that she just "couldn't get him to do his homework", she said "Oh I couldn't do that." How can teachers possibly expect a child to care about school or homework when the parents don't set it as a priority in that child's life. I'm tired of teachers getting all the blame in the failures of our schools. Talk to teachers and I'm sure you'll hear the same types of stories. There are, of course, some parents who care about their child's education and it shows. But, unfortunately, there seems to be many more who can't be bothered. Let's put the blame where it belongs and begin in the home, then look to the school systems.

    September 3, 2010 at 8:38 am |
  88. Lori Castle

    It all needs to start at home. My husband is a teacher and I can't believe the excuses parents give him for their child not doing their homework or studying for a test. How many kids have TVs, computers, cell phones, game playing systems, etc. in their rooms? Yet, these things couldn't possibly be taken away by some parents to motivate their child to do his homework. When my husband suggested this to one mother who was stating that she just "couldn't get him to do his homework", she said "Oh I couldn't do that." How can teachers possibly expect a child to care about school or homework when the parents don't set it as a priority in that child's life. I'm tired of teachers getting all the blame in the failures of our schools. Talk to teachers and I'm sure you'll hear the same types of stories. There are, of course, some parents who care about their child's education and it shows. But, unfortunately, there seems to be many more who can't be bothered. Let's put the blame where it belongs and begin in the home, then look to the school systems. My husband and I had two sons go through the public school system and it was a job to keep them motivated and see that the work was completed, but, they both are now in college and doing very well. The schools did their job and we did ours as their parents. Thanks

    September 3, 2010 at 8:45 am |
  89. Therese Ockenden

    If we offer Early Childhood Family Education kids could be much better prepared to start school and succeed. Parents could be comfortable in the school and understand their part in their child's school experience. Schools could offer a 6 or 12 week "class" each year at the school where the kid would go to kindergarten – birth-1yr, 1-2yr, 2-3yr, 3-4yr, 4-5yr. The meetings would include Parent education and Early Childhood Education. People can learn, discuss, get support, meet people in their neighborhood. Kids would be seen by early childhood specialists who could identify those that need special help. All of this bears out in research. We know that money spent from birth to 5yrs. saves thousands of dollars PER CHILD by the time the kid graduates high school. We have to have the guts and the wisdom to do now that which will pay huge rewards in the future – and I don't mean just money!

    September 3, 2010 at 10:13 am |
  90. allison

    I think year round school will help keep kids busy and help with prepared and consistency. But I also think implementing breaks and other resources to help student and teachers will help too. Education is 'lost' and everyone needs to come together and problem solve a reasonable 'fix'.

    September 3, 2010 at 1:10 pm |
  91. Geri

    I feel that year-round school is a good idea. The students lose so much of the knowledge they have gained when they have three months off at one time. I also believe that the parents HAVE to be involved with their child's education. Also, the administration needs to listen to the teachers regarding the type of instruction that is implemented and back up the teachers side as well as the students side regarding discipline. In conclusion, I feel that today's administration needs to realize not EVERY STUDENT wants to go to a four year university program. I honestly feel that students who are not college bound would feel better about themselves if they were "steered by their parents and teachers" to a career they would like and prosper in doing, which could be other things besides what a university career can offer, in other words, a good Vocational Education Program.

    September 3, 2010 at 5:28 pm |
  92. omanyes

    Please do advice those in the South of a school called K.I.D.D. The program developed by two frustrated teachers is unbelievable and worthy of looking into. I saw it on PBS and believe they have hit on a formula of success that has all their students (and their parents) so enthused and involved that 100% of their students say they are going to college. I also just wished to congratulate you TJ on your professional and pleasant manner in delivering the News. Your manner is so steady that it's easier to get involved in the story.

    September 5, 2010 at 8:07 am |