At this point in the school year the overly large district I work for is already well under way with its plans for summer school. I’m involved in the process only peripherally but it’s interesting to see just how much time, effort and money goes into creating what is essentially a whole new school system for just six weeks. The people in the planning office love to tell anyone who’ll listen that our summer programs become the fifth largest school district in Virginia. Like that’s a good thing.
I’ve never thought much of either the concept or execution of summer school. The large majority of students are there because they didn’t learn one subject or another during the previous 180 days and are now expected to master the same material during the next thirty or so six-hour days. Rather than spending all that money and energy catching students up, why not establish a year-round school calendar that builds in time for ongoing remediation as needed? Just like preventative medicine makes more sense than treating illnesses. Also like prevention, I’d bet it would be less expensive in the long run.