Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Don't Atrophy This Summer, Achieve

By Sean Scarpiello

In “The Case Against Summer Vacation,” David Von Drehle reports on a group of entrepreneurs, volunteers, and teachers from Indianapolis Indiana that are targeting the students in their area that need the most help academically. Studies show that this group of students has a lower socioeconomic status and their summer breaks result in more atrophy rather than actual achievement. Since these students do not have the kind of money to drop on a fancy intellectual achievement program, these pioneers in the education field need to find a way to provide a quality education during the summer that is not only effective, but cheap as well.

The pros of these summer enrichment programs are that the pioneers are reaching out to the community to find ways to keep the low income students away from the mind rotting capabilities of Jerry Springer and Xbox. In my community there are so many empty public schools, churches, and community centers which seem to wither all summer. Even a small meeting place may benefit by having activities available at low prices for students. Each child’s small contribution will add up and could even just pay the air conditioning bill for the balmy summer months. Not bad for an otherwise empty air conditioned community room and/or wasted resource. Local businesses also benefit from this opportunity because program leaders are reaching out to places such as public pools to barter over a cheap price of admission for bus loads of students looking for fun in the pool and candy at the snack bar. Program leaders are also utilizing the idea of “stealth learning” which is also fantastic because not many elementary or middle school students want to learn during their summer vacation. “Stealth learning” is ultimately teaching students math and reading through everyday activities such as measuring ingredients for cooking or determining specific dimensions in simple wood working activities. Thus it is learning without realizing it. Students also are exposed to another seemingly unexploited resource - themselves. The mere fact that students socialize and spread ideas amongst themselves is brilliant. Plus, it keeps students out of trouble in a way that makes teachers smile as an improved group of students arrive in September. In all, the general concept seems extremely efficient and an overall success. But is there any cons? The only one I can think of is that every community in the US isn’t taking advantage of such a great idea to improve the education of America’s future.

Original Article: http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,2005654,00.html

No comments: