Is summer break necessary?

March 22, 2020

Every year, students from across the country take approximately 10 weeks off of school at one time: two weeks of June and all of July and August. Over the course of those 10 weeks, we not only aren’t learning, we’re actually forgetting some of the content from the previous year. And while it can be relaxing to forget everything you’ve learned for a while, this break causes wasted time to stack up. At the beginning of each school year, in addition to the time lost during summer break, teachers have to take time to bring students back up to speed on the curriculum they’ve forgotten before moving on to new material.
So the problem with summer break is that students forget content and don’t necessarily learn anything new. What are the benefits of the break? Well, for a lot of high schoolers, the summer provides a perfect window to get a job or an internship. They can earn money, gain experience in fields they’re interested in, take part in sports tournaments, or even travel across the world. Without summer break, jobs must be balanced with a schedule full of school and homework, internships become implausible, sports are relegated to nights already crammed with other commitments, and travel means missing school.
Our summer break is too long. The more we can shorten it, the more information we’ll be able to retain from school. A shorter break will result in less reteaching and the ability to learn more new content. At the same time, there’s value to be placed in gaining meaningful experiences as a teenager. We deserve a longer break than the two week winter break to explore activities outside of school. My compromise is a six week summer break. The time period still allows for month-long programs and allows students to reset for a new school year with new classes, but the four week reduction will mitigate the amount of information students lose over the break.

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