Sample essay topic, essay writing: The Benefits Of Year Round Education And Extended School Days - 1356 words
Year round education (YRE) is implemented in 436 U. S. school districts with very few complaints. In fact, school districts that have been participating in YRE and extended school days (ESD) are raving about the benefits in pupil's achievement level, their new found enthusiasm in learning, as well as the many programs that exist in the extended day promoting the decline in latch key children. Some schools decided to initiate YRE and ESD because of swelling enrollments and lack of student achievement. There were many issues raised when deciding if YRE and ESD were a step in the right direction.
For one, we are all creatures of habit, and to implement a new school schedule would mean extensive changes. Second, how would this effect the taxpayer's dollar? Is the proposal cost efficient? For year round education and extended school day to work the community (to which the proposal apply) must be for the change. Therefore, providing extensive positive literature, newsletters, and constantly keeping the community updated on all aspects of the program's benefits will help ensure success of YRE and ESD. The traditional nine month academic year originated in an agrarian period when the long summer months were used for children to assist their family in farm tasks. However, the nine-month calendar is far from being sensitive to the current industrialized world we live in today. Fathers as well as Mothers are most likely in an office from nine in the morning to five in the evening leaving an extensive, unsupervised time during the day. Children go home to empty houses, are told not to answer the door, and when the phone rings they are prompted to say that Mom or Dad is in the shower
Children under utilize long summer months. During this time children have little to do but spend countless hours watching television, roaming the streets, and hanging out on sidewalks seeking out entertainment. This can not be a productive situation and could lead to dangerous activities due to boredom. Furthermore, during these under utilized months most children tend to loose information taught from the previous school year. This can be an increasing problem for at-risk students who are usually lacking in the socioeconomic status (SES), originate from foreign speaking countries, and the learning disabled. Year Round Education and ESD will give teachers more contact time with these students and help at-risk children retain information, as well as help foreign speaking students retain the English language.
By keeping the child in school on a year round schedule or ESD students will be less likely to loose information due to a long summer recess and have more time in a learning environment, therefore, enriching the child's learning abilities. There are different types of YRE and ESD schedules. The most popular schedule is single-track and is usually implemented for the purpose of academic improvements. On a single-track schedule children attend school year round with frequent intersessions or breaks. Typical schedules might be 90-30, 60-20, or 45-15 where the first number indicates days of instruction and the second, days of vacations (Opheim, Mohahjer, Read, 1996). There is also a multi-track schedule, which is known to be more cost efficient.
This schedule is often implemented when the school is overcrowded, in poor neighborhoods, as well as in inner-city schools. On a multi-track schedule students schedules are consistent with the single-track 90-30, 60-20, or 45-15, however, students are assigned to one of the several tracks which are staggered therefore, no one group of students has the same intersession at the same time. By staggering attendance schedules, class size is deducted. Studies have concluded that decreased class size promotes more efficient learning. During an intersession children can spend time with their families or take advantage of enrichment programs, which are offered, at the school. In these programs teachers have remedial classes available to all children, have planned educational field trips, some school districts even offer martial arts, dancing, and even cooking lessons.
This schedule not only benefits children but also teachers. In the intersession teachers can decide if they want to teach (in which they would earn extra income), take a vacation to relieve stress, or use the time to develop course materials. It has been said that YRE and SES contribute to less teacher burn out and better teacher satisfaction as a result of student enthusiasm toward learning, opportunity to earn extra income, and the various different ways to take advantage of the intersessions. Some districts decided upon YRE for academic reform hoping that the implementation of YRE would contribute to higher test scores. As a whole, YRE's reading, math, and science test scores are higher than the traditional calendar school (TCS) students yet not by much.
This also applies to at-risk students in YRE who score higher on reading, math, and science, however the scores are not statistically significant. Furthermore, YRE is a fairly new concept and research on test scores should encompass a time span of at least four years. Recent statistics have only encompassed a year to two-year research. Some schools were concerned with the cost of YRE and ESD. However, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, City Schools can be considered as a role model for schools contemplating cost efficiency of YRE and ESD. Murfreesboro, Tennessee, City Schools have employed the simple business approach of supply and demand.
They have developed extended time programs that are appealing enough for parents to want to purchase them for their children. Revenues from parents far exceed $1 million per year and parents only have to pay a dollar per hour per child for after school programs. No one child is excluded because a parent can not or will not pay (Jones, 1995). To keep the programs affordable, they identified many live assets that could be tapped to support the extended learning time. Murfreesboro's capital assets included nine school campuses valued in excess of $65 million (Jones, 1995). These schools traditionally sat idle all but 180 days a year as all children were sent home by 3 p. m.
(Jones, 1995). The school's district believes that no profit-making business could survive allowing an investment of that magnitude to sit idle for so many hours of the year, and a school shouldn't either. Murfreesboro receives around $300,000 for Chapter 1 Programs and $150,000 from Tennessee's Career Ladder Extended Contract program. These funds are primarily used to pay personnel who work during the extended hours/days (Jones, 1995). More public revenue also is available because of the interest in providing quality childcare (Jones, 1995).
Their city schools receive $100,000 annually from the Department of Human Services because the extended school program is meeting school-age childcare needs. They also capitalized on already existing human resources by using them more flexibly. Flexible time schedules have been set up for teachers and educational assistants (Jones, 1995). Support personnel work from 11 to 5 for 220 days instead of 180. Traditionally, regular classroom teacher's worked from 7:45 to 3:15 (Jones, 1995). But, with the new program teachers leave work at 1:45 for a quarter of the year, leaving 67.5 hours to be assigned during extended hours or days. Also the largest K-8 school gave up 15 percent of its allocated positions (worth $297,500) so those funds could be used for other programs. So clearly there are cost efficient ways of implementing YRE and ESD; Murfreesboro is a prime example.
Another YRE success story is evident in El Paso County, on the border of Texas and Mexico. This district is rapidly growing, having doubled the number of student enrollment from 10,000 to 20,000 in the past eight years. They are a property poor district with unemployment over 12 percent. The districts population consists of 90 percent Mexican American and 70 percent economically disadvantaged. Yet their students score at or above the state average on all mandated tests. Their dropout rate is less than one percent, and 65 percent of their graduates attend college. Socorro originally adopted YRE to make more classrooms available, to slow their new building programs, and to maintain a reasonable tax rate. While they continue to build new schools, they have benefited by the multi-track schedule.
They have already saved the cost of building four new schools at about $30 million taxpayer dollars over the past five years. Socorro is on a 60-20 calendar. In the intercessions students have t...