Breaking up the summer break: Is year-round education good or bad?
It's back-to-school season for much of the country, but for some students, school is never out.
For some, classes are in session all year long: About 3,700 K-12 public schools across the country operate on a year-round calendar — approximately 4 percent of all U.S. schools in 2011-12, according to the latest data available from the National Center for Education Statistics.
A year-round calendar, also referred to as a balanced calendar, reorganizes the 180 school days by shortening the traditional summer break, dispersing those days into several smaller breaks throughout the year. These breaks (usually two to three weeks long) are called intersessions, and schools can use that time for remediation and enrichment programs for students. The method is popular in other countries, but U.S. research has been deemed too inconclusive to draw any long-term conclusions.
David Hornak, executive director of the National Association for Year-Round Education, an organization that advocates for shorter summers to help improve student achievement, explained to CNBC's "On the Money" that a year-round calendar helps stem summer learning loss often seen in children when they break for the extended holiday.
"On average, a teacher on the traditional calendar is required to re-teach between four and eight weeks annually after the summer intermission," said Hornak, who's also the superintendent of Holt Public Schools in Holt, Michigan — where two schools in his district operate on a year-round calendar. He referred to the findings in the 2006 published Charles Ballinger and Carolyn Kneese book "School Calendar Reform."