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Thursday, April 23, 2009

1 in 4 grade schools going year-round

...the Chicago Board of Education voted Wednesday to put more than a quarter of public elementary schools on a year-round schedule.

That adds up to 132 of 483 elementary schools that have traded the traditional summer vacation to start classes a month earlier, with several two- to three-week breaks staggered throughout the year. The board approved requests from 67 schools to switch to the Track E calendar, adding to 65 schools already on that schedule.

"As Mayor Daley has said time and time again, we must use every tool at our disposal to better educate our students," Chicago Public Schools CEO Ron Huberman said at a news conference at Smyth Elementary in the South Loop, one of the schools that will make the switch.

"This strategy . . . would keep more than a quarter of all of our elementary schools open for most of the year. In other words, our students are on a continuous learning cycle," he said.
What's does this mean exactly?
Students at year-round schools spend 170 days in the classroom and end school in mid-June -- the same as their peers on a traditional schedule. But they get a shorter summer vacation, returning the first week of August rather than after Labor Day, and they have frequent short breaks during the year.
I'm undecided, but that might only be because I don't have children in the school system yet. I certainly wouldn't like this if I was a student, but unfortunately I wouldn't have had the right or the ability to speak out against it.

I'd say if this were only about keeping our children out of harm's way then we could just as easily find some extra-curriculars to do. Not all of our children want to be in a classroom all year, but we do have to develop some programs that will keep them engaged in the learning process in addition to keep them from loitering themselves into trouble.

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