A students’ story

All eyes watch the clock. Some students sit at their desk, anxiously drumming their fingers while others sign yearbooks or say goodbye to the people they learned to love throughout the school year. The bell rings for the last time, and teenagers bolt for the door, hoping never to lay eyes on the building during their 180 days of freedom. School is out, but should it be?

There is a widely spread debate over whether to have school year round. The very thought of this makes most people cringe but there are those who find sense in the theory. The idea generally is that kids are still in school for 180 days but these days are spread out. Instead of having 180 days in school and 180 off, the popular notion is to have kids in the 45-15 plan. This has kids attend school for 45 days with holidays factored in and then gives them a three week vacation.

There are numerous advantages to this spread out school year such as the otherwise unoccupied school building will be put to use. Also, students have a tendency to forget previously learned information over summer break, so shorter periods away could help them retain this information. More than 2.3 million U.S. students obviously approved of this idea and attend one of the 3,181 public year round schools.

To every advantage, there is a disadvantage and experts have found several in this case. Scheduling for sports or other extracurricular activities may prove difficult over the frequent breaks, especially for the practices. Also, if only a few schools convert to the year round method, kids could have trouble making plans with friends or attending summer camps or programs. Furthermore, the consistency of year-round school could entirely overwhelm a child and cause him or her to fall behind both academically and socially. Despite the building of this new system, the majority of children still attend the 10-month calendar school year.

This debate for the change of our academic structure has been discussed for some time but the question still remains: do we stick to the known process, or is it in with the new and out with the old?

Thompson is an eighth grade student at Hughesville Middle School. Her column is published on the second Monday of each month in the Education section. She can be reached at educa tion@sungazette.com.