While I applaud the efforts of those studying summer programs, I have to admit that I'm confused as to why all of this money is being spent. Don't we have enough information about the value of summer programs and the amount of learning that is lost over the summer to make some changes to education?
I've written about my advocacy of a twelve month school year. I don't know that we need to spend more money to have a summer program. It seems that the real answer is probably the same number of school days, but with periodic breaks during the year and a shorter summer break.
So far, no one that I've talked to in the charter world or district world has been able to tell me what would be wrong with a twelve month school year. Would teachers complain? They would still get the same time off. Would parents complain? Students would complain, but let's face it, students don't do much in the summer anyway, especially if their parents work.
If we know that kids take a big step backward during the summer, then why have it?
Believe me, I'm all in favor of summer academic programs, but why don't we just call it school, and not a special program?